May 15, 2007

The Other Zambrano

Ed Ryan at Mets Fever (Network Affiliate), writes about Carlos Zambrano:

Mets fans in 2004 heard the news that the team traded top prospect Scott Kashmir for Victor Zambrano and hoped that we miss heard the first name. Many of us hoped that the trade was for Carlos Zambrano and not Victor. Carlos Zambrano has been the Chicago Cubs staff ace since emerging in 2003, he has accumulated a record of 67-45 with an ERA of 3.40, pitched in over 200 innings every year, 471 BB and 900 SO.Zambrano is free agent eligible at the end of the season and contract negotiations have completely broken down with the Cubs. The Cubs were very close to re-signing Zambrano but he backed away from the contract. The Cubs spent an exorbitant amount of money during the off- season and are only a 500 team (so far this season). For the first time in his career Zambrano is struggling (3-3 5.83 ERA) and the Cubs offer is probably off the table from their end, as they see his value going down. If the Cubs are unable to get back in the playoff hunt then we may be looking at the trade deadline acquisition tonight.

Matt Cerrone at Metsblog interviews a blogger from the opposing team prior to every series, here's what Bleed Cubbies Blue had to say about Zambrano's struggles.

Why has Carlos Zambrano been so ineffective thus far?

It appears to be a mechanical problem -- not only the coaches, but many of us have noticed that Z's arm angle appears to be different, "opening" him to the point where he's tipping his pitches, particularly in the first inning. If you eliminate the first inning in all of his starts this year, his ERA would be 3.89, nearly two runs below his season total.We were joking the other day, when he had yet another first-inning meltdown, that the coaches should just tell him when he goes to the mound that it's the second inning. Couldn't hurt, right?More ominously, Z has had some minor back trouble the last year or so. If this is related to the mechanical problems, then Z's troubles may be more serious. We hope this isn't the case.

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