On Friday, June 25 the Chicago Cubs suspended Carlos Zambrano after he went on a tirade following a four run outburst by the Chicago White Sox. I believed then, as I do now, that the Cubs made a much bigger deal over this than they should have.

Zambrano has a history of emotional outburst and needs to learn to control himself. However, the Cubs need him, and they should have seen this coming.

Zambrano was once one of the best pitchers in the national league. It can be argued that from 2004 to 2008, he was one of the best. He won more games in that five year span than any of the Cy Young winners and had one of the best winning percentages.

The comparison below shows that, during this five year span, Zambrano was an elite pitcher.

Player       Wins Losses Win% ERA

Zambrano    78    40    .661   3.45

Webb         77     53    .592   3.30

Peavy         68    44     .607  2.97

Carpenter    51    20     .718  3.11

Clemens      44    24     .647  2.68

Lincecum     40    17     .702  3.18


Many inside baseball believe Zambrano can be a 20 game winner. This past winter Cubs Manager Lou Piniella said, “I don’t want to put any pressure on him, but this is a young man who should approach 20 wins every year with his stuff.”

In January, at the Cubs Convention Piniella said, “Carlos was a little heavy last year, there is no question. He’s another player we had a nice conversation with toward the end of the year. We said, ‘Look, we need for you to step up and give us 200-plus innings. We need for you to win 18-20 ballgames, the way you’re fully capable of. But to do that, you have to get yourself in better shape, where we don’t have to worry about pitch counts with you.'”

I believe Zambrano can still be a valuable member of the the Cubs’ rotation. He did his part and came into this season in probably the best shape of his career. Now, Piniella needs to let him go do his thing without adding the additional pressure of mind games.


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