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updated: 8/14/2011 12:12 AM

Sox should trade Dunn or Rios for Zambrano

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  • Carlos Zambrano would probably respect the rules of Ozzie Guillen's clubhouse, so trading for the disgruntled Cubs pitcher makes a lot of sense.

      Carlos Zambrano would probably respect the rules of Ozzie Guillen's clubhouse, so trading for the disgruntled Cubs pitcher makes a lot of sense.
    Associated Press

 

If he hasn't done so already, White Sox general manager Kenny Williams should pick up the phone and call Cubs counterpart Jim Hendry.

Williams should propose a trade for ... Carlos Zambrano.

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Don't hang up, it makes sense. Really.

In order for the Sox to acquire a lunatic like Zambrano, the Cubs would have to make a sacrifice of their own.

They'd have to take Adam Dunn or Alex Rios.

The White Sox are going to lose millions this year based on their $128 million payroll at the start of the season and their average attendance of just under 25,000 per game.

The Sox have the fifth-highest payroll in the major leagues and they rank 20th in attendance.

The numbers have not come close to adding up -- on the field or off -- so it is time for Williams to take a drastic step.

Get Zambrano in a trade from the Cubs, and here are some reasons why:

• He only has one year left on his contract, at $18 million.

The Cubs have always liked Dunn, and they need a first baseman in the future. Who knows? Maybe Dunn rediscovers his swing back in the National League.

More important for the White Sox, Dunn is owed $44 million from 2012-14.

If the Sox have to eat some of that money in addition to taking Zambrano, it still makes a lot of sense.

• If the Cubs shun Dunn, stick them with Rios.

The center fielder has clearly worn out his welcome on the South Side, so ship him North for Crazy Carlos.

Like Dunn, Rios is owed a lot of money -- $38 million from 2012-14.

Again, eat some if necessary, but this is a pretty good Plan B.

• If Williams can pull off a Zambrano for Dunn or Rios trade, he can free up the needed money for a truly deserving player. His name is Mark Buehrle and he's going to be a free agent at season's end.

Still going strong at the age of 32, Buehrle (10-5, 3.06 ERA) has no chance of returning to the White Sox if both Dunn and Rios remain on the roster.

• Last but not least, there is only one manager Zambrano can play for, and it's Ozzie Guillen.

They are both native Venezuelans, and Zambrano and Guillen are as thick as thieves.

Zambrano texted Guillen on Friday night after "retiring," but the White Sox' manager was still burning from a bad loss to the Royals and didn't respond. His wife, Ibis, did.

"I'm the last person you want to talk to (Friday) night," Guillen said. "I got feedback a little bit talking with my family. I hope people understand his point."

Guillen has been more understanding of Zambrano's antics than most through the years, but this latest one was difficult to defend.

"Very bad and very sad situation," Guillen said. "I can talk both ways as a manager. I can talk as his friend. It's tough situation with how the manager (Mike Quade) is going to handle that because he's very intense about respect, loyalty and whatever you guys name it.

"On the other side of the problem, this kid (Zambrano's) got a lot of pride. This kid's embarrassed. This kid wants to be good, he wants his team to be good. And I think he feels like he's not doing his job."

Could Zambrano do his job playing for Guillen?

"I packed somebody's bag out of my clubhouse," Guillen said, referring to booting relief pitcher Damaso Marte from the club in 2005. "He deserved it. He didn't respect my rules, not my rules, the team rules. He didn't respect White Sox rules. Get out of here.

"But that's my clubhouse. That's our clubhouse. I don't have the right to say how they (Cubs) are going to handle it. On this ballclub it's not going to happen. Why? I know my players and I think we respect each other."

sgregor@dailyherald.com

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