Sunday, December 19, 2010

Carlos Zambrano and Pinstripes

One news outlet in Milwaukee is heralding Zack Greinke to the Brewers as I write this [Sunday morning, 5:30 AM]. Aside from Wikipedia, I don't see any other references to this, but it could be true.

The thing is, as it always is, about risk mitigation and at what cost. Talking about the Yankees starting rotation, there certainly is significant risk as it is currently constructed:

  1. What if CC Sabathia begins to show the effects of all the hard usage he has endured?
  2. What if Phil Hughes has a significant setback [like Cole Hamels did in 2009]?
  3. What if Andy Pettitte retires?
  4. If Andy returns, what if he has more arm issues like last year?
  5. What if AJ Burnett has another disastrous year like last year?
  6. What if we have to use Sergio Mitre in the rotation?
  7. What if Ivan Nova is not able to get batters out the third time through the lineup?
Now, if all of the above happens, the Yanks are not going anywhere in October. Then again, some of the above will occur. How to mitigate it?

Any solution which presents itself at present has risk attached. Greinke [assuming the deal with Milwaukee does not go through] would cost a lot in terms of prospects. Some say his issues would prevent him from having success in the Big Apple. Some say he would thrive in pinstripes. Thing is, not one knows for certain. Lack of certainty = risk, and we're talking risk mitigation vs. cost. I say the cost that KC would demand would be too great for the risk that the Yankees would assume.

Cue up the usual suspects: Mark Buerhle, Wandy Rodriguez, Carl Pavano, Gil Meche, Jarrod Washburn.... Why not Carlos Zambrano over with the Cubs? Zambrano can still pitch, if the tail end of last season is any guide. Risk? Sure - he's a hothead and might go completely nuts in the hot spotlight of New York. Plus, he still has a pretty hefty price tag [of course, this hefty price tag is exactly why the Cubs want to see him gone]. Might be able to pry him loose from Chicago for low to mid-level prospects [appropriate, given the high figure of his contract]. Here's why I think this will happen:

  1. The Yankees do need another arm to eat up innings.
  2. The Cubs are ready to move on without Zambrano, and would be glad to shed his contract.
  3. Larry Rothschild, Zambrano's old pitching coach from Chicago, is now the pitching coach for the Yankees.
  4. Yankee skipper Joe Girardi was Zambrano's catcher on the Cubs in 2001 and 2002.
  5. The cost to obtain Zambrano will not be prohibitive in terms of prospects.
In a nutshell, it makes too much sense not to happen.

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