So, I'm driving into the office this morning listenting to Steve Stone talk baseball on AM sports radio. Now, I've heard callers call in and say some dumb-ass things, but usually, it's just the callers. This morning, however, Steve Stone actually suggested that the Cubs should investigate moving Zambrano to 1B since D Lee will most likely not be with the team in 2011. To put it mildly, I was gobsmacked, and that's not a mild word.
Stone citied the fact that Zambrano is a good athlete, a good fielder of his position, a career .238 hitter, and has 20 HR's. While that's all true, I can't see how any of that could lead an experienced baseball man to come to the conclusion that this is a good idea.
There have been a ton of outstanding athletes who didn't make good baseball players. There's no doubt in my mind that Z is a great athlete. Perhaps if he had dedicated himself to being a position player, a move to 1B might make sense, but that didn't happen. To think that you can just move anyone to another positon is frought with risk. To move a pitcher to another fielding position only increases that risk.
Offensively, Zambrano is a hacker and not a hitter. He goes to the plate and swings from his heels hoping to make contact. When he does, the ball flies and flies far, but that does not a hitter make. It's fine that he does that as a pitcher, but to suggest that this approach is going to work for 550+ at bats a year is insane. Again, maybe if Zambrano had dedicated himself to this side of his game instead of pitching, it might be different, but that didn't happen. For someone in Zambrano's situation to become a real hitter would take significant time in the minor leagues trying to learn that craft.
To Stone's defense, he did say that the Cubs should "let him field some balls there", which means that he's not necessarily endorsing it, but only that the Cubs should look into it, as if that's any better of a defense. This after he said that moving Soriano to 1B is madness. Now, I've writen here in the past that I'm not convinced that moving Soriano to 1B is a bad idea, but to consider moving Zambrano to 1B is utterly and completely ridiculous.
BTW, I wish I had a link or something else to share with this, but I couldn't find anything. I guess that's what I deserve for listening to sports radio in the first place.