Dec 6, 2011, 2:18 PM EST
Under the previous Cubs regime Carlos Zambrano was considered a goner, but after meeting recently with new team president Theo Epstein the mercurial right-hander now expects to remain in Chicago.
Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune spoke to an unnamed friend of Zambrano who said “he likes Theo and is looking forward to proving himself next year.”
He’s also apparently happy that pitching coach Mark Riggins has been replaced and Zambrano is expected to resume pitching in the Venezuelan winter league later this week, although if he looks good enough there to draw some interest from other teams it certainly wouldn’t be surprising if Epstein pulled the trigger on a deal.
Zambrano is owed $18 million in the final season of a five-year, $91.5 million contract, but does have the ability to block any trade.
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