The time is right for the Astros and Cubs to talk trade


Both the Astros and Cubs are going through similar situations as each organization has faltered a great deal over the past few years. Their downturns have caused massive changes and in the Astros’ case, a complete overhaul starting from the top. Both franchises have adopted new philosophies and will look to trim payroll making this a perfect time to rid themselves of Carlos Zambrano and Carlos Lee, two of the main reasons for the mess they are currently in. Big Z and Caballo have massive contracts that have handcuffed their respective front offices however each fits a need for the other club and would help both move on from a dark period that has lasted far too long.

While the Astros will look to trim salary, acquiring Zambrano would accomplish an even swap of money and provide the rotation with a former Cy-Young candidate. True that Zambrano has lost a mile or two on his velocity and has issues with emotions but getting him out of the high pressure environment of Chicago might be the key to resurrecting his career. If he returns to 75 percent of his former self, the Astros would have a bona fide middle of the rotation caliber pitcher and a valuable asset at the trade deadline. Zambrano has plenty of motivation as he goes into potentially the final year of his mega deal and will be looking for a new contract next offseason, nothing like putting your best foot forward during a contract year. Now, there is a clause that could extend his deal into 2013 but he would need to finish 4th or higher in Cy-Young voting, which is a longshot at best. If he does happen to pitch well enough to potentially qualify for that vested extra year, the Astros would have a goldmine that could bring in valuable pieces to an improving farm system or a front line starter to lead the rotation for another year.

The Cubs are also in a cost cutting mode but do need a 1st baseman as Carlos Pena is a free agent and his return is uncertain. It appears they aren’t going to be in the Pujols or Fielder sweepstakes so Carlos Lee would fit a need. Lee would also bring a breath of fresh air to a clubhouse that has been worn down by Zambrano’s antics during and after games for the past few years. Theo Epstein has already stated that Zambrano would have to follow strict rules to stay on the team and new Cubs manager Dale Sveum has said Zambrano is “out of strikes” with the Cubs. Moving him for a need that would not negatively impact Chicago’s overall long-term gameplan would seem like an easy out to a long standing problem.

Whether you do or don’t like Carlos Zambrano or Carlos Lee, each can serve a purpose and help the other’s franchise. Zambrano can help resurrect his career while becoming a valuable asset to a rebuilding organization while Lee can help bridge the gap to the next Cub 1st baseman and neither causing payroll concern. Getting rid of constant headaches that have been shadows over Chicago and Houston for quite some time should be something that both groups should be actively looking to achieve.

Next Astros Game View full schedule »
Wednesday, Aug 2020 Aug7:05at New York YankeesBuy Tickets

Tags: Albert Pujols Carlos Lee Carlos Pena Carlos Zambrano Chicago Cubs Dale Sveum Houston Astros Prince Fielder Theo Epstein

  • astrosince1975

    Zambrano brings too much baggage. He has always hit well against the Astros (I think he has 6 HRs against us) but the guy is a total head-case. I say no thanks. And say all you want about El Caballo, he is still the most feared and consistent hitter on the team.

  • astrosince1975

    Zambrano brings too much baggage. He has always hit well against the Astros (I think he has 6 HRs against us) but the guy is a total head-case. I say no thanks. And say all you want about El Caballo, he is still the most feared and consistent hitter on the team.

  • BHam2421

    I agree with Greg. I’d rather stand pat with Lee for the last year on his deal. He is still good for 20 home runs and 90 rbi. He may be a good deadline trade asset, but no way do I want to trade him for Carlos Zambrano.

  • BHam2421

    I agree with Greg. I’d rather stand pat with Lee for the last year on his deal. He is still good for 20 home runs and 90 rbi. He may be a good deadline trade asset, but no way do I want to trade him for Carlos Zambrano.

  • Gcheezpuff

    This is the worst trade idea I have seen yet. I am a cubs fan and I know the astros wouldn’t trade Carlos lee for zambrano. Lee is still a fan favorite in Texas and with the move to the AL you could make a case to extend him and use him as a DH. The cubs need pitching and as much as they would like to move Z they aren’t going to trade him unless they receive something of value as he most likely will pitch good enough in a free agent year to draw some interest at the deadline and possible net the cubs something then with only half the final year money left.

  • Gcheezpuff

    This is the worst trade idea I have seen yet. I am a cubs fan and I know the astros wouldn’t trade Carlos lee for zambrano. Lee is still a fan favorite in Texas and with the move to the AL you could make a case to extend him and use him as a DH. The cubs need pitching and as much as they would like to move Z they aren’t going to trade him unless they receive something of value as he most likely will pitch good enough in a free agent year to draw some interest at the deadline and possible net the cubs something then with only half the final year money left.

  • Stroscrow

    Its not really that bad of a trade idea, but it is an unlikely one. Lee is still a productive force in the lineup, and I think Zambrano is still a talented pitcher as long as he can keep his demons under control.

    At this point I think the Astros have some intriguing pitchers in there system that I would like to see given a chance. Henry Sosa and Lucas Harrell are two guys that are 26, and time may be running out to see what they can do. If Wandy and or Brett are traded I would like to see a rotation of Bud, Happ, Lyles, Sosa, Harrell/Aneury Rodriguez.

  • astrosince1975

    Zambrano had to leave his start Friday in Venezuela after being hit in the face by a line drive. After getting stitches Zambrano said he shouldn’t have to miss his next start.

  • Stroscrow

    Its not really that bad of a trade idea, but it is an unlikely one. Lee is still a productive force in the lineup, and I think Zambrano is still a talented pitcher as long as he can keep his demons under control.

    At this point I think the Astros have some intriguing pitchers in there system that I would like to see given a chance. Henry Sosa and Lucas Harrell are two guys that are 26, and time may be running out to see what they can do. If Wandy and or Brett are traded I would like to see a rotation of Bud, Happ, Lyles, Sosa, Harrell/Aneury Rodriguez.

  • astrosince1975

    Zambrano had to leave his start Friday in Venezuela after being hit in the face by a line drive. After getting stitches Zambrano said he shouldn’t have to miss his next start.

  • LEXthePEX

    Understood this might not be the most popular of trade suggestions and certainly see the amount of risk is not small. Understanding that, I think Zambrano’s value can max out at a much higher level, if he gets his act together. While Carlos is still the best hitter on the club, he is declining and I get the sense that a fresh start for everyone involved is the best way to go. Z is a one year gamble that could pay dividends if he rebounds.

  • LEXthePEX

    Understood this might not be the most popular of trade suggestions and certainly see the amount of risk is not small. Understanding that, I think Zambrano’s value can max out at a much higher level, if he gets his act together. While Carlos is still the best hitter on the club, he is declining and I get the sense that a fresh start for everyone involved is the best way to go. Z is a one year gamble that could pay dividends if he rebounds.

    • Stroscrow

      @LEXthePEX

      Trying to figure out which player could becomes more productive out of Carlos Lee and Carlos Zambrano gets tricky since its a pitcher and a position player being compared.

      Its possible that Zambrano’s value could max out higher than Lee’s, but according to Fangraphs Carlos Lee has posted a higher single season WAR at 5.6 versus Zambrano at 4.9. Zambrano did however have more 4+ WAR seasons than Lee. Both Players are pretty far removed from there high WAR seasons.

  • Stroscrow

    @LEXthePEX

    Trying to figure out which player could becomes more productive out of Carlos Lee and Carlos Zambrano gets tricky since its a pitcher and a position player being compared.

    Its possible that Zambrano’s value could max out higher than Lee’s, but according to Fangraphs Carlos Lee has posted a higher single season WAR at 5.6 versus Zambrano at 4.9. Zambrano did however have more 4+ WAR seasons than Lee. Both Players are pretty far removed from there high WAR seasons.