The White Sox start the second half of the season in first place, currently on one of the hottest streaks in team history. The trade deadline is coming up soon, and with Jake Peavy on the shelf for the rest of the year, it's quite likely that Kenny Williams will try to pick up another pitcher.
Based on what he's done in the past, and where the team is today, I would not be at all surprised to see Carlos Zambrano in a White Sox uniform come August 1.
There are many better pitchers on the market today. Some have shorter contracts, most have cheaper contracts. None is currently suspended for completely losing his shit at his teammates. Most, honestly, are more effective pitchers. I'd certainly rather have Roy Oswalt pitch for the Sox than Zambrano.
Oswalt ain't coming. Even if he'd be willing to waive his no-trade clause to come to the Sox, I don't see Houston making a deal for our prospects. Maybe Daniel Hudson, but he wouldn't be enough. With Tyler Flowers struggling, there's just not enough blue-chip talent to compete with other teams willing to deal. If the Yankees are willing to trade Jesus Montero, why would Houston deal with the Sox.
No one will dangle Jesus Montero to get Carlos Zambrano. No one wants Carlos Zambrano.
But Kenny might.
Why? Trading for Zambrano sounds insane. Even aside from his anger-management issues, his effectiveness is not what it was, and he has a massive contract.
Kenny loves buying low. He did so over the past year with Juan Pierre and Alex Rios, making up 2/3rds of the starting outfield for essentially nothing. OK, a handful of good starts for John Ely before he turned into a pumpkin, that's it. And the Dodgers are contributing to Pierre's salary, just as the Yankees did when the Sox picked up Jose Contreras six years ago and as the Phillies did in the Jim Thome trade.
Would the Cubs do the same for Zambrano? Probably. They are desperate to shed their overpaid, unproductive veterans, and haven't found any takers yet. Zambrano is the most disruptive clubhouse presence in the organization, and the team is going nowhere. They dumped Milton Bradley expecting Carlos Silva to be dead weight on the payroll. That he's been a nice surprise is gravy; when Hendry wants to get rid of a player, he's willing to do a lot.
The Cubs are in a position where they probably won't ask for much back for their big problem veteran. The question is how much money they are willing to toss at a team willing to take Zambrano off their hands. I don't know the answer to that, but given Kenny's track record, I bet he's having some conversations with Hendry. They may lead nowhere, or they may dominate the sports pages with a shocker.
Maybe Zambrano comes over in the next couple of weeks. Maybe he brings Kosuke Fukudome with him. Are these good ideas? That's debatable, but they'd certainly fit what Kenny's done in the past.