Placed on the disqualified list for 30 days without pay after his latest transgression on Friday night, the volatile Cubs pitcher’s situation will be dealt with on Monday, when the players association files a grievance on his behalf.
“You know it’s a tough situation for him and his family,” Alfonso Soriano said. “But you have to be smarter than that. I know he’s a very emotional guy, but you have to calm down your emotions or you’re going to end up doing the wrong thing like he did.”
Soriano, like many of Zambrano’s teammates, tried to differentiate between Zambrano, the player and Zambrano, the person.
“He’s a great person, but his emotions make him look like a bad teammate,” Soriano said. “He’s done a lot of negative things over the years and now he looks like a bad guy and a bad teammate. But like I said, as a person, he’s a terrific guy. He just has to control his emotion.”
The Cubs still owe Zambrano $23. 5 million until his contract expires after 2012. The consensus around the team is that he’ll never pitch again for this franchise. The details of any separation would be negotiated between MLB, the players association, the Cubs and Zambrano’s agent, Barry Praver.
In the summer of 2010, a similar negotiated occurred between those four entities after Zambrano was suspended for his dugout tirade aimed at teammate Derrek Lee and manager Lou Piniella at U.S. Cellular Field. That time, Zambrano was put on the suspended list (salary paid in full) and then went through eight months of anger management training.
In defending Zambrano’s disqualification, the Cubs will point to the many incidents and altercations that have piled up for Zambrano to this point. The pitcher’s agent will simply state that Zambrano left the ballpark on Friday after being ejected and did nothing to deserve the disqualification. Somewhere in between those two theories, a deal will need to be struck in order for the player and the team to move on.
“In this game, you’re not going to be perfect all the time,” Soriano said. “You’re going to have to work hard to get over what you lost as a player. I hurt my legs many times so I have to work harder to keep them strong. I recommend that Carlos do that too. He can still be a great pitcher. But he must calm down if he comes back.”
Manager Mike Quade harbors no ill will towards his disqualified pitcher.
“What happened recently with his decision, I didn’t take it personally,” Quade said. “I just looked at the impact on the team.”
Quade confirmed that right-handed pitcher Casey Coleman will be recalled from Triple-A Iowa on Wednesday to pitch in Zambrano’s rotation spot. The Cubs are mulling whether or not to add a relief pitcher or a position player for two days before Coleman is recalled.