Should he stay or should he go? That might be the biggest question for GM Jim Hendry and the Ricketts Family as the quest for a better 2011 begins in earnest as October looms. Big Z has made a startling turn-around since being re-inserted into the starting rotation back in early August. As we have continued to highlight, Zambrano has been lights-out in the 10 starts. He is 7-0 with 3 no decisions during the stretch. He has had a miniscule 1.27 ERA which has helped lower his ERA from 5.46 all the way down to 3.36. It is truly amazing to believe that Zambrano has been able to go 10-6 with a 3.36 ERA overall this year after the horrendous 1st 4 months to the season.
But can he keep it up in 2011? That is the big question. Before he made the triumphant turn-around, everyone expected Zambrano to be dealt in the off-season with the Cubs having to take on a big chunk of the $37 million owed to him over the next 2 seasons. Now, Zambrano has emerged as a legitimate top of the rotation starter again, and demand for the big righty could be at an all-time high. The Cubs could find a suitor for Big Z who would be willing to take him at the full contract price AND the Cubs could even get something back in return for Big Z. If that happens, you have to think that GM Jim Hendry will pull the trigger. That would leave a huge void in an already-barren startinf rotation, but it could also free up some money to make a strong push to land Cliff Lee, arguably the best free agent starter to hit the market in November. If the Cubs could unload Big Z and then sign Lee, that would be a huge step in the right direction for the Cubs in 2011.
Guess we’ll have to see how it all plays out, but it should be fun to watch as we get ready for all the rumors to start swirling very soon.