On Friday, we saw the Yankees and Cubs begin their three-game series from Wrigley Field.

Doug Davis out-pitched Freddy Garcia, and the Cubs won the first game 3-1.

Before the game, there were a lot of rumors floating around about the Yankees having major interest in a certain Cubs pitcher.

The pitcher is one the Yankees have been linked to several times before, most notably this past winter after they lost out on the Cliff Lee sweepstakes.

According to Bruce Levine of ESPN, that pitcher the Yankees are linked to again is Cubs ace Carlos Zambrano.

The Yankees didn’t feel the need to make that type of trade for Zambrano, as they settled on signing Garcia and Bartolo Colon, plus letting Ivan Nova develop.

Garcia has been up and down for the Yankees, but he’s given them innings and depth.

Nova has been the same as Garcia. He too has given the Yankees innings and is learning how to pitch at the big league level.

Colon was doing so well, revitalizing his career in pinstripes, until he strained his hamstring covering first base in a game against the Indians.

Colon became the second Yankees starter to go on the disabled list in 2011. Phil Hughes has been on the DL since the end of April with shoulder inflammation.

The Yankees signed and called up longtime minor leaguer Brian Gordon, who went 5.1 innings and allowed two runs in his first-ever start against the Texas Rangers on Thursday.

Gordon pitched very well in his first outing, but who knows if he can be that consistent for the Yankees on a regular basis.

The Yankees also have Hector Noesi, who has been a starter in the minor leagues for the Yankees. A lot of people thought Noesi would get the start against Texas on Thursday, but the Yankees seem set on keeping Noesi in the bullpen.

So here we are again, re-visiting the Zambrano to the Yankees trade talks six months later.

Zambrano is 5-4 with a 4.59 ERA, 67 strikeouts and 35 walks in 96 innings and a 1.34 WHIP.

The cons of Zambrano: He is owed over $28 million through the end of next season, so taking him isn’t exactly a cheap move.

He also called out Cubs closer Carlos Marmol for his pitch selection in a game against the Cardinals and then called the Cubs “embarrassing” and a “Triple-A team.”

Zambrano did apologize to Marmol for his remarks but did not back off his comments about the Cubs.

Zambrano still has that feisty temper, but it looks like neither has his competitiveness or his willing to win.

The Cubs are 29-40 and almost 10 games out of first place in the National League Central. Unless a miracle happens, the Cubs aren’t going to be a playoff team in 2011 and it might come time for the Cubs to become sellers.

The Yankees likely know this and are looking for pitching re-enforcements. With Colon and Hughes both on the DL, it could be a big reason why the Yankees sent top advisers and scouts on the Cubs recent road trip to take notes on Zambrano’s latest starts.

Zambrano’s last two starts were nothing worth remembering.

On June 10 against the Phillies, Zambrano allowed seven runs and seven hits, walking seven and striking out five in 6.1 innings of a loss.

On June 15 against the Brewers, Zambrano allowed nine hits and five runs, walking two and striking out six in six innings of another loss

His last three starts, however, were very good.

On May 26 against the Mets, Zambrano allowed six hits and two runs, walked two and struck out five in 6.2 innings in a win for the Cubs and Zambrano.

On May 31 against the Astros, Zambrano allowed seven hits and one run, walked none and struck out seven in eight innings—a no decision for Zambrano.

On June 5 against the Cardinals, Zambrano allowed five hits and one run, walked two and struck out three in seven innings—another no decision for Zambrano.

Zambrano does have a full no-trade clause with the Cubs, but a close friend of Zambrano told Levine that, “at this point, Zambrano would let the Cubs trade him to Siberia.”

That quote right there sounds like Zambrano wants out of Chicago.

If Zambrano is the competitor who wants to win, if an offer to go to the Yankees were on the table, Zambrano could in fact waive that to come to the Bronx for a chance to pitch in October.

Zambrano would have a familiar face and be reacquainted with his former pitching coach in Larry Rothschild.

Rothschild was Zambrano’s former pitching coach in Chicago before he departed to the Bronx this winter.

I did this story once before on this site back on December 15 wondering if the Yankees would make a move for the right-hander.

I got a lot of different reactions to the idea of a trade for Zambrano. In the poll that I posted in the story, which was done by 530 people, 72 percent of the people were for the idea of making a trade for Zambrano.

If the Cubs were to make a deal to trade off Zambrano, they wouldn’t be getting anything major in return.

Which means Dellin Betances, Manny Banuelos, Andrew Brackman, Gary Sanchez and Jesus Montero would certainly not be involved in any trade talks for “Big Z.”

If anything, this type of trade would just be a salary dump for the Cubs looking to shed some payroll.

Rumors have been flying rampant about Chicago saving and collecting money, trying to structure together a mega-offer to free agent to be Albert Pujols for this coming winter.

Zambrano has never pitched in the American League, spending his entire career with the Cubs since being called up in 2001.

Zambrano does have some experience pitching in the postseason.

He was part of the rotation for the Cubs in 2003 that reached the NLCS against the Florida Marlins.

Zambrano also pitched in playoff series for the Cubs in 2007 against the Diamondbacks and in 2008 against the Dodgers.

If Yankees GM Brian Cashman is in fact serious about making a deal for Zambrano, you would have to wonder how he would hold up in an atmosphere like New York.

Chicago is a big market, but nothing compares to being in New York with the media attention that being a Yankees has.

Would Zambrano’s temper be able to handle the likes of the Bronx? With Rothschild’s influence and having the ear of Zambrano, plus the veteran presences of CC Sabathia and Mariano Rivera in the clubhouse, I doubt Zambrano would be causing much of an issue, especially if the Yankees are vying for a playoff spot and even a championship.

The trade market this summer is very thin. Last summer, Cliff Lee, Dan Haren and Roy Oswalt were all on the market and dealt. The Yankees nearly pulled the trigger for Lee, but the deal with the Mariners fell apart and they passed on going for Haren and Oswalt.

Those types of pitchers aren’t being put on the market this summer, so if Zambrano is in fact put on the market, the Yankees may feel the need to make a move.

If the Yankees aren’t trying to rush the progression and call up Banuelos, Brackman or Betances, and if any complications happen with Colon and Hughes in their rehab assignments and/or returns, the Yankees need some sort of backup plan if they are going to make another playoff run.

They are currently two games behind the Red Sox in the American League East, but if the postseason were to begin today, the Yankees would be the wild-card team. They also have the second best record in the American League, so their playoff hopes look pretty good right now (despite the fact the Yankees are 1-8 against the Red Sox in 2011).

As the series with the Cubs continues over the weekend, we will all hear more about the possibility of Zambrano heading to the Bronx in a possible trade.

Will the Yankees pursue a deal for Zambrano? Only time will tell.

Stay tuned, Yankees Universe.

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