The announcement came across yesterday that Carlos Zambrano, the Cubs' 91.5 million dollar pitcher, who is paid like an ace and to BE an ace for their staff, has been moved to the role of set-up man out of the pen.
Here's my thoughts on the Cubs' reasoning:
1. The organization is trying to get Carlos mad enough to waive his no trade clause. Maybe there's already a deal in place with the Red Sox or the Yankees or some team that has payroll space and can use a starter of Zambrano's quality.
2. This is a shot across the bow to both Big Z and the entire team - no one's big enough or paid enough to keep their job if they don't produce. In this case, I'd guess the demotion lasts 1 or 2 starts at the most.
3. Lou meant to say Carlos Silva is going to the pen, and got him mixed up with Big Z. I mean, he was laughing in the sound bite they played about having to make sure he lets them know in the pen which Carlos he wants warming up - Marmol or Big Z. Maybe he meant Big S.
Otherwise, the move makes absolutely no sense. Zambrano isn't and hasn't been the problem with this team, other than perhaps his attitude on the field. He isn't the 6th best starter on this team. At worst he's the third or maybe fourth best. (You can pick out which guys you think are better than him...) On the other hand, that 15+ million a year would really help in buying some bullpen arms and maybe even an offensive player.