Earlier Wednesday, Chicago Cubs not-GM Theo Epstein said some things on the radio. One of the things he said was that "change needs to happen" in order for troubled starting pitcher Carlos Zambrano to stay with the team. Okay, now keep that in mind.
Zambrano, obviously, has something of a history with the Cubs. Some of it positive, and some of it - much of it - negative. He's been the subject of countless trade rumors, and he was linked to the Miami Marlins soon after they hired Ozzie Guillen as the manager. Nothing materialized immediately, but the idea lurked in the background, and now it's popped back up again. In a major way. Ken Rosenthal:
Sources: #Marlins close to acquiring Carlos Zambrano from #Cubs. #MLB
Of course. The Marlins have money. They're clearly not opposed to risk. They've been searching for another starting pitcher. If Zambrano had to land anywhere, the Marlins were an excellent bet.
No trade has been made, yet. But Rosenthal's reliable and it's not like the Cubs are going to try to extract as much value here as they can, so a trade looks highly likely. Zambrano would have to waive his no-trade clause, but I can't imagine that would be much of a stumbling block.
The Cubs would be doing this for salary relief. Salary relief and headache relief. Zambrano's due $18 million in 2012, with a $19.25 million vesting option for 2013. He ended last season on the disqualified list. The Marlins would be doing this for the potential upside. Zambrano struggled last year, but between 2009-2010, he posted a 122 ERA+ with better than eight strikeouts per nine innings. Zambrano's ability has never been the issue.
We'll sit and wait for something to happen. It looks like something could happen before long. You had to know the Marlins weren't finished.