Rumor: Carlos Zambrano To Marlins?

Pitcher Carlos Zambrano of the Chicago Cubs reacts after throwing a pitch that got him ejected from a game against the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Mike Zarrilli/Getty Images)

The Chicago Cubs would love to be out from under the burden of Carlos Zambrano's $18 million contract for 2012. They might have a taker.

It's no secret that new Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen and Cubs pitcher Carlos Zambrano, both natives of Venezuela, are close friends.

Sunday morning, there is a report from cubs.com beat writer Carrie Muskat that Zambrano could be headed to South Beach:

According to a report in Venezuela’s El Nacional by reporter Ignacio Serrano, Guillen has reached out to Zambrano and wants to bring him to Miami. Zambrano is owed $18 million next season on his contract, and the report says the Marlins would pay that money in deferred payments.

After Zambrano left the Cubs clubhouse in Atlanta following a bad outing on Aug. 12 and said he was "retiring", the team put him on the disqualified list. He was eventually reinstated, but sent home for the rest of the year. On Aug. 21, Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts said during ESPN's national telecast at Wrigley Field that he had "a hard time imagining" Zambrano ever pitching for the Cubs again.

That would make the Cubs motivated sellers; with Guillen's relationship with Zambrano, that could make the Marlins interested buyers. If the Cubs could save the entire $18 million owed to Zambrano in 2012, that could make a significant difference in the team's approach to building a 2012 team under a new general manager who has yet to be hired.

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