CHICAGO -- The Chicago Cubs and Carlos Zambrano finally have a deal.
The ace right-hander agreed Friday to a five-year, $91.5 million contract extension to stay with the only team he's been with his entire career. The deal includes a vesting option for a sixth season.
Zambrano could have tested the free agent market and perhaps gotten a bigger deal but he wanted to stay with the team, even as negotiations slowed when it was announced this spring the Cubs could be sold after the season.
He said his goal now is to get the Cubs to the World Series. They haven't been there since 1945 and haven't won one since 1908.
"I feel happy right now, feel comfortable right now but it's not enough," Zambrano said at a news conference. "I have a mission to complete and I have a way to go with my teammates to lead this team. ... It's not enough when you retire and don't have the ring."
Zambrano (14-9) had hoped to have a new deal in place by opening day. He extended the deadline but contract talks stalled after Tribune Co., which owns the team, announced in April that it was selling itself for $8.2 billion to Chicago real estate mogul Sam Zell. The Cubs are expected to go on the auction block at the end of the season.
The 26-year-old Zambrano acknowledged the pending sale of the team had complicated negotiations but said last month he wanted to stay with the Cubs.
Zambrano, who signed a one-year, $12.4 million deal during spring training, could have been a free agent after the season. A two-time All-Star, he has a 78-51 career record.
General manager Jim Hendry said Tribune Co. higher ups and president John McDonough had allowed him to move forward and make the decisions on big contracts he felt were necessary to turn the team into a winner.
He said Zambrano stayed patient even as his wait for a new deal dragged out because of the uncertain future of the team and ownership.
"I'm sure there were frustrations and I think he understands I was telling him the truth why it couldn't be done," Hendry said.
"It would have been a lot easier for him to say, 'Well you know what, I'll give you a good shot in November, but I'm going to go out and see what's out there.' It's a good ending to something we wished we could have finished in March, but circumstances that even the company couldn't control obviously were involved. And it was nobody's fault."
The emotional Zambrano hasn't looked like the Cubs' ace in his previous three starts, failing each time to earn his 15th victory.
He left an outing against the New York Mets in the sixth inning with heat-related cramping and was driven out by Houston in his next start after giving up seven runs in 5 1/3 innings.
On Tuesday night, he allowed 13 hits and six runs in seven innings with two walks and no strikeouts against the Cincinnati Reds.
He's had an eventful season, getting into a fight with catcher Michael Barrett and breaking a bat over his knee. Against the Reds, he got so angry after grounding out, he slammed his helmet to the ground and it bounced all the way into right field.
His familiar antics on the mound include pumping his fist after getting an out. In one game, he did a complete spin in front of the mound.
I missed the memo that showed him being the best pitcher in MLB. Arod deserves $30mil a year if this clown can get that extension. Only right.
i think that A-rod will get big money (which he deserves), but like he said a few weeks ago, they will not negotiate contracts during the season so we will jut have to wait to see how much he gets. And yes i agree with you gobb, zambrano is getting an insane amount of money.
Zito has one Cy Young and one 20 win season (same year) in his career... and he ended up getting 126 million contract over 7 years at the age of 28... and this year he has an ERA over 5 this year... so if he can end up getting that amount of money, I would say that the Cubs have gotten themselves a bargain... look at it another way... In the seasons where Gil Meche started over 20 games - he had an ERA of: 4.59, 5.01, 5.09 and 4.48... and he ended up getting 5 year 55 million dollar contract - he has career 4.52 ERA...
also another Zito to Zambrano comparison... In the year Zito won the Cy Young - he started 35 games and went 23-5 with a 2.75 ERA... In the year where Zambrano had a 2.75 ERA, he started 31 games and had a record of 16-8... you can't blame zambrano for the lack of run support... Also Zito had a 1.4 WHIP last year, Zambrano has a 1.3 WHIP... he's better almost in every aspect of the game - so therefore this does end up being a bargain for the Cubs (worth it in today's market)...
If Alex Rodriguez opts out of his contract after this season, the New York Yankees insist they won't try to re-sign him.
"How can we? We lose all our money from Texas," Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said Thursday.
Rodriguez has 3 1/2 seasons left on his record $252 million, 10-year deal, but he can opt out of the contract this fall and become a free agent -- a decision the slugger would have to make within 10 days of the end of the World Series.
Rodriguez is owed $24 million in each of the next three seasons by the Yankees, with Texas offsetting about $21.3 million of that.
He is guaranteed an additional $3 million annually by the Rangers, the original deferred money in his contract that was converted to an assignment bonus at the time of his trade to the Yankees.
Cashman said the club has not spoken to A-Rod or his agent, Scott Boras, about a potential contract extension.
"We'd like to have him stay," Cashman said. "We'll have those discussions at the end of the year."
Rodriguez and Boras also have said they won't discuss the third baseman's contract status with the Yankees until after the season.
"He's earned the right to opt out if he so chooses," Cashman said. "He has a contract. We hope he doesn't opt out."
Asked if it would be cost-prohibitive for the Yankees to pursue A-Rod as a free agent, Cashman said yes. He also confirmed that if Rodriguez opts out of his deal, the Yankees can offer him arbitration.
This has been said many times - that if the teams are have a bidding war over A-Rod, Yankees will not be involved... but I just cannot believe that... If boston gets involved (which many people believe they will) - I think the Yankees will almost have to get involved as well (and I believe they will)...