Wow.. apparently I've somehow underestimated the sheer wackiness of the Cubs. Two days ago, while talking about the idea of moving Carlos Zambrano to the bullpen, I started by saying, "I know that this pretty much would never, ever happen."
Shows how much I know, because a day later it was announced that it would happen. And frankly, I'm bordering on speechless. This is kind of weird. Just when I thought that I couldn't have less of an idea of what Hendry, Piniella and company are thinking, they threw this one out there. Is Lou going to come to the next game wearing this? As others have noted, they're taking a pitcher whose biggest asset is durability... and they're making him a reliever. Zambrano is quite clearly one of their five best starters.
But within just a few weeks, apparently the Cubs have decided that Carlos Silva (yeah.. Carlos Silva.) is a better starter than Carlos Zambrano. I don't know if they got their big-boned Carloses confused or something, but this move comes off as shortsighted.
Let's just go over this again:
Zambrano: 2007-2009 fWAR: 9.2, ZiPS projected FIP: 3.89
Dempster: 2007-2009 fWAR: 9.0 ZiPS projected FIP: 3.47
Wells: 2009 fWAR: 3.0 (5 innings pitched before 2009), ZiPS projected FIP: 3.93
Lilly: 2007-2009 fWAR: 10.0, ZiPS projected FIP: 4.06
Gorzelanny: 2007-2009 fWAR: 2.6, ZiPS projected FIP: 3.88
Silva: 2007-2009 fWAR: 4.7 fWAR, ZiPS projected FIP: 4.00
Okay. Dempster, Lilly and Wells clearly belong in the rotation, no discussion. Gorzelanny's pitched well this year, has shown some significant upside, and at age 27 now's his time.
And then we have the two Carloses. Yeah, their ZiPS projections are really similar. But on one hand, you have Zambrano, the former ace who's being paid like an ace with a track record of eating innings. On the other, you have Silva, who pitched just 183 innings during 2008/2009 with some pretty ugly results.
I've come to like Silva a little, I think that he can actually be a pretty useful pitcher. But you don't pick him for the rotation over Carlos Zambrano. Not now. This is just another peculiar move in a long line of them by this current Cubs management. There's a reason why they're probably not contending for a division title in spite of their financial commitments, and it's stuff like this.