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Wishful Thinking: Bringing Carlos Zambrano to San Francisco

CHICAGO - JUNE 25: Starting pitcher Carlos Zambrano #38 of the Chicago Cubs throws the ball in the 1st inning against the Chicago White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field on June 25, 2010 in Chicago, Illinois. Zambrano was suspended indefinitely by the Cubs for an outburst in the dugout after the 1st inning. The White Sox defeated the Cubs 6-0. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
Tom DubberkeCorrespondent IMay 31, 2016

Giants beat writer Henry Schulman wrote a piece suggesting that an Aaron Rowand for Carlos Zambrano trade with the Cubs would make sense for both clubs if the future contract obligations could be worked out.  It sounds like a textbook case of wishful thinking to me, because the Cubs would be damned fools to trade Zambrano for Rowand.

Sure, the entire north side of Chicago is tired of the fitful eruptions of Mt. Zambrano, but the big Venezualan can still pitch.  In 55.2 innings pitched, Zambrano has 53 strikeouts.  Sure, he’s given up a lot of walks (and more hits than usual), but Zambrano has always given up a lot of walks.

My gut says Zambrano is only minor adjustments and/or a trade to a pitchers’ park (Wrigley has always been a hitters’ park, at least once the warm days of summer arrive) away from success.  AT&T is only a hitters’ park on those five days every Summer when San Francisco experiences true summer weather.  Then the fog roles in, the temperature drops, the wind picks up, and it’s happy time for pitchers again.

Rowand is 32 this year (turns 33 on August 29), and Zambrano turned 29 on June 1st.  Who do you think is more likely to get his groove back at this point in their career?  The answer should be obvious.

Rowand would benefit from playing in Wrigley, but he’d still have to start swinging at strikes, something he’s had extraordinary difficulty doing this year, and something he’s never been particularly good at at any time in his career.

What I find most appealing about the possibility of the Giants acquiring Zambrano is that it would free up Jonathan Sanchez (and prospects) to trade away for the slugger I’ve been dreaming about.

The Giants need to do something to find a way to score the base runners they aren’t scoring now.  Someone who could hit the two- or three-run bomb at least as often as he hits into the double play would surely hit the spot.


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