After recently being put on waivers, the Chicago Cubs have to still keep hope that they can possibly move their embattled pitcher, Carlos Zambrano.
When the July trade deadline came and went and the Cubs couldn't find a suitor for Zambrano, many thought that their opportunity to rid themselves of the problematic pitcher was over. The Cubs do, however, still have a few ways that they can get rid of Zambrano.
They have placed him on waivers, which means that Zambrano is still available for other teams. While serving a 30-day suspension for the Cubs may hinder his value, Zambrano can still be an asset for opposing teams.
Contenders like the Philadelphia Phillies and Milwaukee Brewers really do not need to take the risk on a guy like Zambrano, but there are a handful of teams that could benefit greatly from obtaining Zambrano if he performs the way that he has showed he can.
Here are five teams that would be great fits for Zambrano...
The Red Sox feature three A.L. M.V.P candidates in Adrian Gonzalez, Dustin Pedroia and Jacoby Ellsbury. My question is simple: Why not take a risk on Zambrano?
As the season dwindles to a close, the Red Sox are once again battling with their division rivals, the New York Yankees, and may need a late-season addition to push them over the top. Zambrano may be the piece that can put them over the top.
Instead of putting John Lackey on the mound who has an E.R.A. over 6.00, why not take Zambrano? When Zambrano is on he is virtually un-hittable, and even when he doesn't have his best stuff, he's at least better than a 6.00 E.R.A.
These two stars get along, why not add one more?
Similar to the Boston Red Sox, the New York Yankees are another team that could use another arm in the starting rotation. While the Red Sox are just one move away from putting them over the top, the Yankees are simply in the same boat.
The Yankees have a huge payroll, and could definitely afford Zambrano's contract.
A good thing about Zambrano going to New York, is that he is already comfortable playing in a major market. The transition from Chicago to New York would be light years easier than a player moving from a smaller market, such as Kansas City, to New York.
The Yankees are loaded with stars and egos, ranging from Alex Rodriguez, to Derek Jeter, C.C. Sabathia and Mark Teixeira. An addition of Carlos Zambrano should not be too hard for a veteran team like the Yankees to control.
Despite having solid pitching in the front of their rotation, the Yankees could also benefit greatly from taking a risk on an arm in the back of their rotation.
The Cleveland Indians went out and got Ubaldo Jimenez at the July deadline, but they could still use another right-handed starter. With a 7.28 E.R.A. in four starts with the Indians, Jimenez may not be the right fit for an American League team.
It is at the point of the season where the Indians see the Tigers starting to run away with the A.L. Central. If the Indians want to stay in the race this season, they should take a risk and talk with the Cubs about Zambrano.
At this point, the Cubs would be willing to pay most (if not all) of Zambrano's contract just to lose him, so why not go after him?
The Cleveland Indians are not often able to go after big name free agents due to financial restrictions, so this could be a rare case where they could get a big name free agent for a fraction of the price.
Zambrano is a hit or miss type guy, but the Indians will never know unless they try.
Another team that could be a great fit for Carlos Zambrano, isn't one that is very far from his current home. On the south side of town, the Chicago White Sox could be a great fit for Big Z.
First of all, Zambrano and White Sox Manager Ozzie Guillen get along great and could have a great working relationship. To express how much they like each other, when the Cubs and White Sox have played during the cross-town classic, there have been multiple times when Zambrano and Guillen have gone out to dinner after games.
As the Phillies have shown, pitching can win a World Series and the White Sox may want to consider this if they want to even make the Playoffs.
The White Sox have had a very disappointing offensive season and there are not many big name bats for them to get this season. Their best bet may be to load up their starting pitching and try and make a dominant staff.
Adding a happy and productive Carlos Zambrano to a staff that features Mark Buehrle, John Danks, Gavin Floyd, and Philip Humber, could give the White Sox a better shot at getting back in the divisional race.
Well since this article is mostly speculation and there is a very small opportunity that any teams take a chance on Zambrano, his best bet and the Cubs best bet may be to try and work out their problems and finish out his contract.
Zambrano has had his share of low moments with the Cubs, but he has also had some great moments. When Zambrano returned from the bullpen late last season, he went on a stretch when he was 8-0 and one of the better pitchers in the league.
While it may be Zambrano's time to go, working things out are the Cubs best chance at getting any value out of the $18 million that he is on track to make next season.
If the Cubs try and work things out with Zambrano and things do not work out, then they can simply, uh, do what they have been doing: just close their eyes and wait for the contract to be over.