Victor Zambrano’s Met career never stood a chance as he was acquired in one of the most unpopular trades in franchise history. Zambrano, a middle of the rotation starter known for having good stuff but bad mechanics with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, was acquired at the trading deadline in 2004 along with Bartolome Fortunato in exchange for Scott Kazmir. Kazmir was one of the Mets top pitching prospects. But the Mets were in a pennant race, or so they thought, and needed more pitching and the Mets brass thought Zambrano would do the trick. What didn’t help the situation was that pitching coach Rick Peterson was quoted in the papers as saying, “I can fix Zambrano in 15 minutes.” Most Met fans were expecting a miracle by Peterson which didn’t happen. But in fairness to Peterson his actually quote was, “I don’t know how long it will take me to fix him maybe as little as 15 minutes.”
Zambrano made his Met debut on August 5th against the Milwaukee Brewers. He won the game despite giving up 6 runs (4 earned) over 5 1/3 innings. He would go on to win his next start as well, but his season was shut down after his next start with an arm injury and Met fans grew increasingly angry.
In 2005 Zambrano showed some signs of promise but mostly pitched mediocre and finished the season with a 7-12 record and 4.17 ERA. Looking for a fresh start in 2006 Zambrano won his first start of the season but lost his next two starts. Rumors began to swirl that he was suffering from arm injuries and they were confirmed in his final start as a Met on May 6th. After pitching 1 1/3 innings he ran off the field in pain and would not return to the Mets rotation. It was determined that he had torn his elbow tendon and that he would need Tommy John surgery. The surgery shut him down for the season and basically ended his career. He signed with the Blue Jays in the off-season and bounced from team to team before retiring after the 2008 season.
Zambrano appeared in 39 games for the Mets and posted a 10-14 record with a 4.42 ERA
While with the Mets Zambrano wore number 38.
Victor Zambrano also played for the following teams:
Tampa Bay Devil Rays – 2001-2004
Toronto Blue Jays – 2007
Baltimore Orioles – 2007