August 19, 2007

Cubs Extend Zambrano

If you wanted to ditch Adam Dunn's salary in hopes of picking up Carlos Zambrano, I'm afraid your dreams are dashed…

CHICAGO -- The Chicago Cubs and pitcher Carlos Zambrano have agreed to terms on a five-year contract extension with a vesting option for a sixth year that keeps the right-hander with the club through at least the 2012 campaign. Zambrano, who signed with the club as a non-drafted free agent on July 12, 1997, has spent his entire 10-season professional career in the Cubs organization. Financial terms of the contract were not disclosed.

Zambrano, 26, owns a 78-51 career record with a 3.37 ERA (429 ER/1145.0 IP) in 193 games (172 starts) with the Cubs since making his Major League debut in 2001. His .605 career winning percentage ranks 10th in franchise history (min. 120 decisions) while his 1,004 strikeouts rank 11th and his 7.90 strikeouts per 9.0 innings pitched as a starter rank fourth in club annals (min. 500.0 IP).

The Puerto Cabello, Venezuela native is a two-time National League All-Star, earning the honor in 2004 and 2006. At 23 years old in 2004, he became the youngest Cub in franchise history to pitch in a Mid-Summer Classic. In addition to his All-Star honors, Zambrano is a three-time National League Pitcher of the month award winner, earning the honor in September 2004, July 2006 and July 2007.

This season, Zambrano is tied for the National League lead with 14 victories while his 168.0 innings pitched ranks fourth, his 139 strikeouts rank fifth and his .231 batting average against ranks sixth. His 1.38 ERA (6 ER/39.0 IP) in July led the majors while his five victories were tied for the Major League lead and helped him earn N.L. Pitcher of the Month honors.

In 2006, Zambrano set a career high with 210 strikeouts while tying his career mark with 16 victories. He ranked second in the N.L. with a .208 batting average against and a 2.97 road ERA while his .696 winning percentage (16-7) was third and his 210 strikeouts ranked fourth. The .696 winning percentage was the highest for a pitcher on a last place team since Roger Clemens went 21-7 (.750) for the 1997 Toronto Blue Jays.

Zambrano put together a career-high, nine-game winning streak from June 5-July 30 last season, becoming just the third Cubs pitcher to win at least eight straight decisions since the start of the 1985 season. In addition, he became the first Cubs pitcher since 1995 to record a 10-game road winning streak, as he went 10-0 from Aug. 17, 2005-July 25, 2006. He joined Steve Trachsel as the only Cubs hurlers to accomplish the feat since 1930.

Zambrano has belted 12 career home runs, which ranks tied for second-most among pitchers in Cubs franchise history. His six long balls in 2006 tied the franchise record for most in a season by a hurler with Fergie Jenkins, who accomplished the feat in 1971. Zambrano also drove in 11 runs in 2006 en route to earning N.L. Silver Slugger Award honors.

Zambrano made his Major League debut as a 20 year old Aug. 20, 2001. He became the first player born during the decade of the 1980s to appear in a game for the Cubs.

1 comment to “Cubs Extend Zambrano”

  1. KC2HMZ says:

    Five years, $91.5 million according to MSNBC. The Reds would have to ditch a lot more than just Dunn’s salary in order to be able to match that.