Carlos Zambrano has issued an ultimatum to the Chicago Cubs -- sign me now, or say goodbye when the 2007 season is over.
"Whatever happens, I don't want to know [anything] about a contract during the season. I want to sign with the Cubs before the season starts," the Cubs' pitching ace said in an interview on WGN-TV. "If they don't sign me, sorry, but I must go. That's what Carlos Zambrano thinks."
He also thinks he should get paid -- a lot. Zambrano and the Cubs are currently due to go to salary arbitration Feb. 20, with Zambrano seeking $15.5 million and the Cubs offering $11.025 million....
"When you're a great pitcher and have talent, you deserve the money no matter who gives it to you," he said, according to the Tribune. "Zito is a great pitcher. Good for him he has that contract, and I think that will help me.
"[Cubs general manager] Jim [Hendry] spent a lot of money. I hope he has more for 'Big Z,' " he said, the newspaper reported.
Zambrano, who became the Cubs' staff ace when Kerry Wood and Mark Prior went down with injuries, went 16-7 with a 3.41 ERA in 2006. For his career he's 64- 42 with a 3.29 ERA in 977 innings.
You know, I'd be curious to see what Carlos Zambrano makes of all this.
UPDATE: Jim Hendry isn't panicking.