Cubs and Zambrano have a long road ahead

Carlos Zambrano pitches at Wrigley FieldI was impressed with the ‘conclusion’ to the Carlos Zambrano matter announced by Jim Hendry yesterday.  I think the consensus arrived at by Hendry, Zambrano with his agent, MLB and the players union was both supportive and creative but perhaps not as matter-of-fact as Hendry would like us to believe.

Big Z will be evaluated by two doctors, one chosen by MLB, one chosen by the MLBPA (players union). After their initial evaluation, a treatment plan will be outlined and Zambrano is required to follow it. Sounds good, right?

Hendry went on to say Z will not return to the Cubs until after the All-Star break and when he does, manager Lou Piniella has stated he will pitch out of the bullpen.

Now I’m no expert, but I would guess any effective treatment plan to manage Z’s anger issues would take more than just a few weeks to execute. What Hendry didn’t say is what is the milestone that must be achieved by Carlos to return to the club? Is it merely his cooperation in such a program?  Or is there some negotiated, stated result that has to be met? We may not be privy to all the details, and perhaps we shouldn’t be, but Hendry’s press conference outline of the agreed upon ‘conclusion’ seemed lacking teeth to me. One cannot expect real change in behavior without dedication to the process both in terms of effort and will to change.

Carlos Zambrano points to the heavens

Big Z will need to call on his Higher Power to succeed

So if anyone is expecting a “new Big Z” when he returns, they are likely to be disappointed. Carlos may – if he is truly willing to change – learn new skills to manage his anger and emotions as they arise, but it does take practice and discipline. He has shown a stubbornness and lack of discipline in continually cramping up from dehydration, poor core conditioning resulting in lower back issues, and the inability to control his infamous temper. So his track record is not good here. 

My feeling is it will take a serious wake-up call for Carlos to find the inner-resolve needed to achieve true change. And that, Cub fans, will likely not take place while he is still wearing Cubs pinstripes.

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    June 29, 2010  Tags: , , , , , , ,   Posted in: controversy, Jim Hendry, legal issues, players

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