Saturday, October 27, 2012

Did Chicago Cubs Get the Best of the Chris Volstad for Carlos Zambrano Trade? Fan’s Take

Did Chicago Cubs Get the Best of the Chris Volstad for Carlos Zambrano Trade? Fan’s Take
The Kansas City Royals

"The #Royals have claimed #Cubs P Chris Volstad off waivers" beat writer Carrie Muskat tweeted that news on October 26, 2012. After one season, the Chicago Cubs have given up on Volstad. The Kansas City Royals apparently think he'll add something to their organization. In 2012, the Royals ranked in the bottom half of MLB in ERA (23rd), WHIP (27th), quality starts (28th) and opponent batting average (28th).

Volstad struggled in his only season with the Cubs. In 21 starts, Volstad had a 3-12 record with a 6.31 ERA and 1.62 WHIP. According to Baseball Reference, Volstad had a wins above replacement (WAR) score of -1.9. Joe Mather was the only Cubs player with a worse WAR. Mather had a -2.0 WAR.

Volstad didn't win his first game as a Cubs player until August 26. Before that, his last win came on July 10, 2011. During that stretch, Volstad had a 0-14 record with a 5.27 ERA. The stretch included 24 straight starts without a win. That was four games short of the MLB record.

The Cubs acquired Volstad when they traded Carlos Zambrano to the Miami Marlins in the 2011-12 offseason. Who got the better part of that deal? In 2012, Zambrano had a 7-10 record with a 4.49 ERA and 1.50 WHIP. After two very strong months, Zambrano was demoted to bullpen duty in August and September. At 0.2, his WAR declined for the fourth straight season.

Zambrano is a much better pitcher than Volstad. That doesn't mean that Zambrano has pitched well these last two seasons. He also has a poorer attitude. His presence wouldn't have been healthy for the young players. The Cubs couldn't tolerate another season of Zambrano's antics.

This wasn't as much of a bad trade as it was a wasted trade. One type of garbage for a different type of garbage. The Cubs weren't going to find a team who would trade a quality prospect or solid starter for Zambrano. Not with his contract.

Compared to 2011, the Cubs will have at least three new pitchers in their Opening Day rotation. Ryan Dempster and Paul Maholm were already traded this past Summer. The Cubs also outrighted the following players to Triple-A Iowa: Joe Mather, Manny Corpas, Justin Germano and Blake Parker.

By Joshua Huffman | Yahoo! Contributor Network

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