1/4 Big Z headed to Marlins
He threw a no-hitter in 2008, yet threw more than his share of tantrums. He was a Cy Young waiting to happen, but could aso be a distraction. Carlos Zambrano was a volatile, emotional pitcher, and now appears headed to Miami. The Cubs and Marlins have reportedly agreed to a deal which would send Zambrano to Miami in exchange for Chris Volstad. The Cubs would pick up $15-16 million of the $18 million owed Zambrano next season. Volstad is a first-year arbitration eligible player.
FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal first reported the deal, and said it is done pending approval by the commissioner’s office. The two teams also need to exchange medical records. Neither Cubs nor Marlins officials would comment on the reports.
If the Cubs do move Zambrano, it would end a roller coaster ride in Chicago. Zambrano, 30, had to waive his no-trade clause for such a deal to be completed, and given the chance to join Ozzie Guillen in Miami, he did so. Big Z is coming off a 9-7 season which ended abruptly Aug. 12. He served up five home runs to the Braves that day, then was ejected for throwing inside to Chipper Jones, and left Turner Field early. Zambrano told teammates he was retiring, and later recanted. He was subsequently placed on the disqualified list and did not pitch again for the Cubs.
This offseason, Zambrano made five starts for Caribes in the Venezuelan Winter League, and last pitched Dec. 27, giving up one run over 4 1/3 innings.
On Wednesday during a fan question and answer session, Epstein talked about how Zambrano has to change to fit into what the Cubs are trying to do.
“The Carlos Zambrano of 2011 and years previous can’t fit into the culture that we have here,” Epstein said. “Change needs to happen and change will happen. Either he’ll change and buy in and fit into this culture — and I understand there are a lot of skeptics around about that, and I understand that, and frankly, I’m skeptical as well.
“He needs to prove to us that he can change and be part of this culture,” Epstein said, “or we’ll change the personnel and move forward with people who are proud to be Cubs and treat their teammates with respect, treat the fans with respect and can be part of a winning culture in the Cubs’ clubhouse.”
Zambrano would likely be the fourth or fifth starter for the Marlins, joining a rotation of Josh Johnson, Mark Buehrle, Anibal Sanchez, and Ricky Nolasco.
Volstad, 25, was 5-13 with a 4.89 ERA in 29 starts last season with the Marlins, striking out 117 over 165 2/3 innings. In 103 games over four seasons in Florida, he was 32-39 with a 4.59 ERA. Volstad earned $445,000 last season; he will not be a free agent until after the 2014 season. He would join a Cubs rotation that includes Matt Garza, Ryan Dempster, Travis Wood and Randy Wells.
– Carrie Muskat