Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Big move: Big Z heads to bullpen

Chris McGrath/Getty

With Ted Lilly's impending return to the starting rotation, Cubs fans were scratching their heads wondering which starter would move to the bullpen. Carlos Silva's been the most reliable starter thus far. Moving Tom Gorzelanny there would mean the team would have more lefties in the 'pen than righties. Ryan Dempster and Randy Wells look rather comfortable in their roles.

And then there was Z.

To put it concisely, I like the move. As you may have read in Tuesday's post, Zambrano has in many ways been the Cubs' least productive starter over the last year plus. And one of his biggest flaws is his tendency to have an elevated pitch count, meaning he doesn't go deep enough into games. As a reliever, he will only be asked to throw an inning or so at a time.

So the Cubs essentially trade out Zambrano for Lilly in the starting rotation, which to me is a win. And then they trade, say, Jeff Gray for Zambrano in the bullpen. Also a win. It's a bold move that could certainly backfire, but I think it's worth a try.

Oh, and I completely reject the thought that this is a bad decision simply because Zambrano is making so much money. The $18 million he'll earn this year is a sunk cost--he's getting the money either way. Therefore, what's important is to do what management believes is best for the team, regardless of what relievers and starters are "supposed" to earn.

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