Cubs, Zambrano make a deal
Chicago ace bypasses free agency for five-year contract
By Carrie Muskat / MLB.com
CHICAGO -- Carlos Zambrano got his wish to stay with the Cubs.
Zambrano and the Cubs agreed on a $91.5 million, five-year contract with a vesting option for a sixth year, the two parties announced on Friday at a Wrigley Field press conference. Zambrano would receive $19.25 million in the sixth year of the deal, which represents the highest average salary in Major League history for a pitcher in a multi-year contract.
Zambrano, who is 14-9 with a 3.86 ERA and could have been a free agent after this season, wanted a new contract by Opening Day, but that was delayed. He got off to a slow start, and some believed the lack of a deal was the problem. On June 1, he scuffled with then-Cubs catcher Michael Barrett in the dugout, and after that game, went on a roll.
Big Z is 9-4 since the June 1 game, and won National League Pitcher of the Month honors with a 5-1, 1.38 ERA in July. He has missed his last three attempts at his 15th win, which would be tops in the National League.
"This is a new season for me," Zambrano said after his 2-1 win over Houston on June 11. "When you have great pitches, and you trust in yourself, you let bad things go and start a new season. That's what I'm doing now. It's a new season for me. From here on, I think Big Z is back on track."
In Spring Training, Zambrano predicted he would win the Cy Young and the Cubs would win the World Series. He backed off that as the season progressed, but has not denied his desire to stay in Chicago.
"I have six years here and I like the city and I like the fans," Zambrano said. "I like playing in this ballpark. When you're used to something and familiar with something, you want to stay there."
The Cubs did dangle a five-year deal in Spring Training but it was pulled back. Zambrano said he did not know why.
"I'm ready to sign," Zambrano said earlier this month. "My hand is ready to sign a contract. It's in their hands. I just need to pitch and do my job."
here's what one of the retards over at NYYFans had to say:
"Nah there's no room for him in the rotation next year seeing as we'll have Wang, Hughes, Joba, Andy and Moose
...hmmm, let's see-
Zambrano or Pettite
Zambrano or Mussina