There’s a saying that says "A deal’s not a deal until it’s inked and sealed." I’m not sure where I learned it but Chicago Cubs fans might very well be taught it by Carlos Zambrano before this year is over. After reportedly being practically done with a long term extension, the Cubs have still not signed the pitcher many believed to be their staff ace. Zambrano of course hasn’t helped things by going 4-4 with a startlingly high 5.61 ERA. Combine that with the Cubs recent struggles and their 21-24 record, and you’ve got yourself a trade rumor.
The Chicago Sun-Times today posed the question "Are the Cubs preparing for life without Carlos Zambrano?" And you know what? It’s a good question. The team is up for sale (thus throwing all contract negotiations and spending projections way out of whack), Zambrano hasn’t performed well and yet still will likely command a high dollar contract should he hit free agency, and the Cubs could easily slide Ryan Dempster into the rotation should the decide to deal the "Big Z."
"The fact is, the only starting pitcher or prospective starting pitcher the Cubs have who’s not under contract or club control for next season is Zambrano.
And what if the Cubs continue this current slide toward the All-Star break?
Suddenly something that would have seemed absurd just two months ago — a trade of the pitcher who was supposed to lead them out of the Prior-Wood era — looks feasible, if not reasonable."
If the Cubs do decide to shop Zambrano before the trade deadline, look for just about every team in contention to at least inquire about him. Of course leading the pack will be the usual suspects, Yankees, Dodgers, Mets, Red Sox. Basically any team with the money to trade for him and quickly sign him to an extension. After all, the Cubs will demand a hefty price for their ace, and I don’t forsee any team being willing to pay much for a rental.