Reporting Kris Habermehl
By Mark Grote
The Milton Bradley blunder didn’t bug me much, because Bradley’s numbers incorrectly indicated it would be a good move. I didn’t have any complaints when Cubs general manager Jim Hendry handed Alfonso Soriano a winning lottery ticket, and I even got over the high decibel level scolding I received from Hendry, when alerting him to a source that suggested Rich Harden’s velocity was down.
Yet what bothered me most was Hendry gathering the press corps around the Wrigley infield last season to say the reason he promoted prized possession Starlin Castro was his defensive prowess. 27 errors later it seemed Hendry could use a scolding. But, we will trust the hard core coaching Mike Quade to clean that up. So what Hendry can do to totally redeem himself? Trade Carlos Zambrano.
Jim, make that your business like jettisoning Milton was last year. Yes, Carlos Zambrano has been a plus pitcher overall and 8 and 0 at the end of the season after his return from the restricted list meant something: trade value.
Sure, there will be the usual, “Carlos is a new man” angles in spring training and he may even make a playful prediction at the Cubs convention like he has been known to do. But, the blowups, blowoffs, and bad vibes are inevitable. Perhaps even more restrictedness. The bigger picture is the declining skills, which come naturally with aging.
Dare I say his velocity is down, Jim?