Zambrano expects to sign one-year deal

Updated: February 19, 2007, 8:27 PM ET
Associated Press

MESA, Ariz. -- Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Carlos Zambrano said he expects to sign a one-year contract before Tuesday's scheduled arbitration hearing.

What's at stake?
Carlos Zambrano
Carlos Zambrano and the Cubs are scheduled to go to arbitration Tuesday. The Cubs' ace is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent after the 2007 season.

Arbitration figures for '07:
• Zambrano wants $15.5M
• Cubs offering $11.025M

What's he worth on open market?
In current market, a lot. Barry Zito signed a seven-year, $126 million contract with the Giants this offseason. Zambrano, 25, more of a power pitcher than Zito, is three years younger and boasts two straight 200-K seasons. Zito has just one season of more than 200 Ks.

"I think it's 85 to 90 percent that we don't go to arbitration," Zambrano said Monday.

Zambrano caused a stir last week when he told WGN-TV he would leave as a free agent if he did not have a multiyear contract by Opening Day, but backed off that request.

He earned $6.5 million last season when he was 16-7 with a 3.41 ERA and 210 strikeouts, then asked for $15.5 million in arbitration. The Cubs countered at $11.025 million, which is more than any player has been awarded.

Zambrano has said he is seeking a salary similar to that of Barry Zito, who signed a seven-year $126 million contract with San Francisco. A multiyear deal with the Cubs would likely be in the five-year range, but Zambrano said that "can wait."

"I have six more weeks to think about it," Zambrano said. "They have six more weeks, also."

The last Cubs player to go to arbitration was Mark Grace in 1993, when the general manager was Larry Himes, and neither side wants that streak to end. General manager Jim Hendry and agent Barry Praver met Sunday. Praver said Monday night there was no news to report.

"I spoke to [Hendry] earlier today," Zambrano said. "We'll get some agreement. I don't think we'll go to the trial tomorrow."

Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press