Announced yesterday, the Cubs have labeled Carlos Zambrano as the new "long man" out of the bullpen. Looking to stretch the starter-turned-set-up-man back out to return to the rotation, Lou Piniella and Jim Hendry announced that Big Z would be used in two to three long relief appearances before returning to the rotation.
While one notable Jim Hendry response mentioned having moved Z to the pen for his own benefit, one wonders what that benefit might have been. Zambrano was mediocre at best out of the pen, having one or two good performances mixed in with average and bad appearances. Why move arguably your best pitcher to the pen in the first place? Merely to be forced into stretching him out after a futile number of weeks in the pen, wasting everybody's time?!
This makes me sick. Not only were the Cubs, namely Lou and Jim, stupid enough to perform this move in the first place, but then, upon attempting to fix it, have to cover the whole mistake up as something beneficial for their $90 million starting pitcher.
Furthermore, Lou reacts to labeling Zambrano as the long man by using him in the ninth inning of last night's game. While Z performed nicely, sealing up the Cubby victory and a brief two-game sweep of the Rockies, this is completely contradictory to all of the comments made referencing Zambrano in the last 24 hours.
Just to sum it all up, here's a recap of what has gone on with Z:
-a poor start, so...
-#1 paid starting pitcher is moved to the bullpen as a set-up man
-has mediocre success in new role (big surprise considering Z's first innings this year)
-must be stretched back out as long man in pen so may return to the starting rotation
-used in ninth inning of very next game
My head is starting to swirl as much as Lou's half-way through his third hourly happy hour. This whole thing with Zambrano has been embarrassing and has made me ashamed of the management running our organization. Here's to Z returning to the rotation as soon as possible. At least he has a better chance of earning his massive contract in a position he has been known to succeed in. Jumping the gun on his slow start and moving him to the pen was a massive mistake in the first place.
Let's just hope Lou and Jim move Tom Gorzelanny into the pen instead of attempting to "help" Ted Lilly out by making him the new set-up man once Z reclaims his rightful spot in the rotation.