"If they don't sign me, sorry, but I must go. That's what Carlos Zambrano thinks."
-- Carlos Zambrano
"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," the Cubs' pitching ace said in an interview on WGN-TV. "If they don't sign me, sorry, but I must go. That's what Carlos Zambrano thinks."
He also thinks he should get paid -- a lot. Zambrano and the Cubs are currently due to go to salary arbitration Feb. 20, with Zambrano
seeking $15.5 million and the Cubs offering $11.025 million.
The Cubs spent lavishly during the offseason, forking over nearly $300 million to bring aboard Alfonso Soriano and Ted Lilly and re-sign Aramis Ramirez in an effort to turn around last year's NL-worst 66-96 record.
During the annual Cubs Convention, Zambrano, when asked whether he will test free agency next season, repeatedly said "This is a business" and noted that Barry Zito's seven-year, $126 million deal helped raise his value on the free-agent market.
"When you're a great pitcher and have talent, you deserve the money no matter who gives it to you," he said, according to the Tribune. "Zito is a great pitcher. Good for him he has that contract, and I think that will help me.
"[Cubs general manager] Jim [Hendry] spent a lot of money. I hope he has more for 'Big Z,'" he said, the newspaper reported.