Look, Carlos Zambrano makes a hell of a lot of money. If he is going to provide any return on that investment, it has to be as a starting pitcher, not a reliever.

You don’t pay relievers $18 million per season. Plus, he isn’t doing a good job in that role anyway.

If the Cubs had listened to my advice two years ago and again last year, they would have traded Big Z when they had the chance.

When I wrote the articles, many Cubs fans said no way you trade Zambrano. And even the ones who thought it made sense wanted a king’s ransom in return.

My premise was to move his contract and not care about what they got in return. At the time, I was vilified for suggesting that.

Well, how badly do you think the Cubs would love to make such a deal now?

Hey, this isn’t an attempt to write “I told you so.” Rather, it’s a plea to Lou Piniella and Cubs GM Jim Hendry to end this silly and pointless exercise in futility and move Zambrano back to his rightful place as one of the five starters in the rotation.

Why? Let me count the ways.

First, Tom Gorzelanny is not a very good starting pitcher. Neither is Carlos Silva, but since he is pitching well, Piniella can leave him in the rotation for now. But replace Gorz with Big Z, please.

And when Silva inevitably returns to form, and he will, you will need someone to fill the void. Hopefully, by then, Zambrano will have re-adjusted to the role.

I understand that Zambrano may pitch just as badly in the rotation as he has as a reliever. But at least the Cubs would be utilizing their investment in the manner in which you paid the big guy to perform.

And, if he pitches well and the Cubs continue to fall out of the race, at least they may have built up his trade value and can move him before the deadline.

Meanwhile, no matter how he pitches as a reliever, they will never convince another club to take on his immense salary.

Hendry really has to answer for creating a situation where Piniella has to resort to such a drastic move as this. It is Piniella’s way of calling out Hendry’s inadequacies in providing him with a right-handed relief pitcher who can set-up Carlos Marmol.

What a mess. If I was the Cubs new owner, I would have come in with my own general manager.

If Tom Ricketts is the Cubs fan he claims to be, how can he not know how badly Hendry has performed?

It really boggles my mind.

I have tried to remain positive in the face of the Cubs early season struggles, but I can’t help but question whether this team will be buyers or sellers at the deadline.

And if they are sellers, it would be helpful if they could sell Zambrano as a starter as opposed to an $18 million dollar set-up man.


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