My willingness to support the move of Carlos Zambrano to the set-up role was based on the assumption that all parties were on board with the decision. Obviously, pissing off one of the franchise's best pitchers of all-time should not be a viable option to fix a problem in the 8th inning of baseball games.
Last night, in a discussion in the comments section at Another Cubs Blog, there were allusions made by (forgive me if I am not attributing this correctly, but I'm rushing this post) Mercurial Outfielder and MB21 that they had heard rumors that Zambrano was, in fact, none to happy with the move.
MB goes on to post today about exactly why Zambrano has every right to be pissed off, and he is correct. Zambrano has every right to be pissed off if this is a move that was made without his endorsement and buy-in. My assumption was that Zambrano was putting the needs of the team ahead of his own personal needs on a temporary basis. While that reaction would not necessarily have been logical, as MB points out, it was a possibility. After all, Zambrano has 2 more years after this one to re-establish himself as a premiere starter.
Baseball executives have a short memory. As long as Zambrano is a good starting pitcher in the last year of his contract with the Cubs, he will get paid, and probably get a bump because he will suddenly be renowned (and his agents will remind everyone in case they forget) for his sacrifices in the name of team and winning in 2010.
Unfortunately, the Cubs appear to have made this move without Zambrano's consent, which does essentially make it a demotion and a slap in the face.
Dave Kaplan tweeted earlier in the day that Zambrano is not happy with the move:
Shockingly, Paul Sullivan tweeted and linked to his story about Carlos not being happy happy with the move, but he is happy. That wasn't a typo. Carlos is not happy times two, happy squared, or happy about being happy, but he is happy (now).
The story goes on to say that Carlos was not happy initially.
"Zambrano said the reason he didn't talk Saturday was he knew he would "say something wrong" and decided to wait until he calmed down.
He didn't say what was bothering him.
"I'm a guy that whatever happened in the past is in the past," he said. "I live my days like that. The next day when I wake up, I don't remember what happened the night before. Today is a new day. I get to pitch today and I'm going to have to do my job. The Cubs are paying me to pitch -- starting, relieving, closing, whatever they want me to do here. I'm better for it."
Zambrano insisted he's fine with the move and conceded he was the starter with the 'worst numbers.'"
So now we have two members of the media backing up the rumors MB and MO had heard before. It also makes clear that the Cubs actually are stupid is as stupid does. They stumbled ahead with an incredibly risky and unconventional move that had a huge impact on the livelihood of their longest tenured player (and career long Cub) without his agreeing to the move.
Whether the stupidity is stemming from arrogance from being really good at character assassination now when a large contract player doesn't do exactly as they want, or from horrible understanding of common human decency when dealing with their employees, or just plain incompetence, they have managed to position themselves on the precipice of disaster over a lack of a set-up man.
I probably shouldn't even be calling the Cubs stupid since I was the one who originally thought they had gotten all their ducks in a row before moving a top starter into the 8th inning. That kind of assumption is probably the definition of stupid.