It’s always something with Big Z. After notching his 100th victory last night in Cincy, Z told Chicago reporters who made the trek there that he was going to retire after his $91.5 million contract runs out in 2012 or 2013 if the vesting option kicks in.
As my colleague Carrie Muskat pointed on at mlb.com, the conversation started with talk of Big Z making it to 300 wins someday.
"Three hundred? Me?" Zambrano said. "No, I'll be out of here in five years."
There was more, according to Carrie’s account:
"After this contract, I'm done," Z told reporters. "I'm serious. I don't want to play. I want to help this team, I want to do everything possible to win with this team, but after five years or four years, or whatever I have left on my contract, I just don't want to play. I want to stay home and see my daughters grow up and hang out with my family more. Do you know how many Mother's Days I spend with my mother? Do you know how many things I've lost in my life? It's good to be here, it's good to play baseball _ don't get me wrong, But five years, four years, whatever I have left in my contract, I will retire. That's it."
Let’s see, Big Z just turned 28. If his career keeps going on its current pace, he’ll have a chance for one or maybe even two more big contracts.
Retiring? Yeah, sure. And I’m going to be the Cubs’ next left-handed relief specialist.
From what I’ve read, Z has been in a goofy mood all week after the hubbub surrounding his blowing off of the team charter to Atlanta. He’s grabbed reporters’ notepads and directed them to other “controversies,” such as Lou calling Geo Soto into his office for “a nice chat” the other day. (Actually, Z can be a lot of fun to be around when he gets like this, and I kind of like the big goofball.)
So I’m not betting against Carlos Zambrano being the Cubs’ opening-day starter in April 2014 in the newly refurbished Wrigley Field (or whatever it will be called). Maybe they’ll even show the "Best of Big Z" on one of the new JumboTrons they're going to install.