Baseball Toaster Cub Town
Zambrano Wants Zito Money Now!
2007-02-13 09:00
by Phil Bencomo

The news is everywhere: Carlos Zambrano wants a Barry Zito-like contract before the season starts, or he'll leave as a free agent after 2007.

"I'm ready to sign, and I would do my job anyway with the Cubs this year," Zambrano said. "Whatever happens, I don't want to know [anything] about a contract during the season. I want to sign with the Cubs before the season starts. If they don't sign me, sorry, but I must go. That's what Carlos Zambrano thinks."

"When you're a great pitcher and have talent, you deserve the money no matter who gives it to you," he said. "Zito is a great pitcher. Good for him he has that contract, and I think that will help me.

"Jim spent a lot of money. I hope he has more for `Big Z.'"

There is absolutely no reason not to give Zambrano whatever he wants. He is the ace of the staff, far better than any other pitcher on the team, and he knows it. Disheartening as it may be to hear such a great player threaten to leave, Carlos isn't dumb.

The clock is now ticking for Hendry to get a deal finished, and failure should not be spoken of by anyone involved. I don't want to even think about the consequences.

2007-02-13 10:46:14
1.   chicagoburke
I think 6 years at 15.5 per might get it done...$93mm would be a bargin...What do you think it will take?
2007-02-13 11:40:36
2.   The Boar
Give him $100m for 6 years. After 2 or 3 years, the Cubs could afford to trade him (eating part of the contract) for younger pitching. Or, if his pitching gets better and salaries keep rising, he could be a bargain.

If for some God-forsaken reason he's not signed, he should be traded in mid-season. And Jim Hendry should be promptly fired.

2007-02-13 11:56:45
3.   Phil Bencomo
I think it'll take at least $16-17 million per year for 5-6 years.

There are two ways to approach a deal like this:

One, go for fewer years, minimizing possible damage caused by injuries and whatnot, but still know that the market could be even crazier in a few years.

Or two, go for more years, hoping Z stays healthy and effective, in order to keep him signed with what may soon look like a very reasonable salary.

I think the final contract will be a reflection of where Hendry thinks the market will go in the next few years. More years = market will continue to climb, and Hendry wants to avoid paying even more money in a few years.

2007-02-13 13:18:38
4.   Sandus
Give him an escalating deal. Start with 10 per for the first couple seasons, then 18-20 for the remainder.

Better yet, throw in one of those infamous opt-out clauses in the middle of the deal. You have the opportunity to save money over the course of a short term deal in the event he leaves (here's hoping he doesn't), and you give him incentive to want to stick with the contract.

The dollar amounts will still add up to what he wants, and this way they won't overspend for the next few seasons (in which they owe some big bucks to players who look to move on at contract's end or via trade).

Zambrano is twice the pitcher Zito is, and as absurd as Zito's contract was (what were the Giants thinking??), it established the market for an ace. If that's what a number one starter is worth, then that's what you have to pay him.

2007-02-13 15:59:03
5.   Tom
I hate those opt out clauses. They never help the team, because if the player is worth anything, he's going to bolt.
2007-02-14 07:00:13
6.   Derek Smart
I couldn't be more against the opt-out clauses that have been so famously exercised this winter. I was a little on the fence about the Ramirez one at the time, but in retrospect, the argument that Rich Lederer made here (pardon me for being too lazy to comb through the archives to find the link) still rings true.

The main issue is that all the risk in that situation is assumed by the team. There is no scenario, barring tremendous altruism on the player's part (and really, if a guy's getting a clause like this, we can assume such a trait ain't part of the game), where the team doesn't get hosed when decision time on the option comes. Either they lose a productive player, have to pay more money to keep him on board, or they're overpaying for an underperformer. In any case the player wins, and the team loses.

2007-02-14 09:31:19
7.   jakewoods
He is going to look good in Yankee pinstripes
2007-02-15 09:55:28
8.   Todd S
It's too strong to say there is "absolutely no reason" to not sign Zambrano. There are plenty of pitchers that look indestructible when they're young but eventually break down-sometimes after signing a lucrative contract.

Look, I like watching Z, I hope the Cubs re-sign him, and I hope it works out for both sides. But if it gets to a point where the team decides that the monetary risk is too high and they don't re-sign him, I can live with that.

However, what I don't want to hear is "we couldn't sign Z because we spent too much money on Eyre, Howry, DeRosa, Floyd, etc." That would make me sad.

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