MLB Rumors: Is Carlos Zambrano Being Targeted by the New York Yankees?

Doug Rush@Doug_RushSenior Analyst IDecember 15, 2010

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

The Yankees need pitching help. We all know this.

The Yankees just got burned in the Cliff Lee negotiations, as he turned down the Yankees' offer and went back to the Phillies.

With the Yankees rotation right now being CC Sabathia, Phil Hughes and a struggling A.J. Burnett, they have two huge holes in it.

Andy Pettitte is tossed between retiring and coming back for 2011. A lot of people in baseball have a feeling Pettitte may in fact call it a career this winter.

If Pettitte does retire, it makes Yankees general manager Brian Cashman scratch his head and search for even more answers and help.

According to Bill Madden of the New York Daily News, Cashman may in fact have his eye on a target to trade for.

The Yankees may now be targeting the Cubs' ace right-handed pitcher Carlos Zambrano in a trade.

Zambrano, who will be turning 30 over the summer, is due to make about $17.8 million and is still locked up until 2013, so he won't be a free agent for a couple more years.

In 2010, Zambrano was bounced back and forth between the rotation and bullpen because of struggles, but he did re-emerge as a solid starter and finished the year at 11-6 with a 3.33 ERA in 20 starts.

From August 14 until the last day of the season on October 1, Zambrano went 8-0 in his last 10 starts made, which again made his value go up.

Now, Zambrano has been known to be a very fiery guy and is known to have a temper. That is also with Chicago.

In New York, that wouldn't fly. At least the temper thing wouldn't. The fire and passion of Zambrano would be embraced.

Even though at one point Zambrano was demoted to the bullpen and had an ERA as high as 7.07 during last season, maybe getting sent to the bullpen was a wake-up call for Zambrano.

With Cashman looking to explore the trade market, he has a pretty good farm system to trade from if he is looking to add Zambrano.

If Zambrano is in fact a changed man from his old self and can control it, plus pitch like he did in Chicago, I for one am all for making a trade with the Cubs to get him.

One of the advantages is the new Yankees pitching coach Larry Rothschild.

Zambrano and Rothschild have a very good relationship, and many credit Rothschild for why Zambrano was able to salvage himself and his career.

Taking a chance on a guy who makes about $17 million and then $18 million the following season is risky, so if the Cubs took on some of the money in the deal, that would only help enhance the possibility of a trade for the Yankees.

A lot of people will think it's a risky deal to make, and I myself feel that it would be a major risk.

But then again, so is every trade you make. Honestly, the only sure thing for the Yankees would have been signing Lee for 2011, but that's not an option anymore.

Cashman can't just spend now to get a starting pitcher because really there aren't any out there. If the Yankees want a starter, he's going to have to make a deal.

Now, are the Cubs interested in trading Zambrano? I think so.

Rumors last year had the Cubs and Mets discussing a Zambrano for Oliver Perez deal, but it fell through when the Mets wanted Chicago to take on Luis Castillo as well.

The Cubs are probably still looking to shed payroll, and I bet if Cashman calls up Cubs general manager Jim Hendry, they might be able to work out a deal.

The Yankees still have a solid team, but if they went in today with Ivan Nova and Sergio Mitre as their fourth and fifth starters, they would have no chance against the Red Sox in the American League East.

I seriously think this is one idea that Cashman should consider.

My gut feeling right now is that I bet he checks in real soon on Zambrano too.

One thing is for sure: The Yankees need to bolster their pitching staff—and soon.


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