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Marlins acquire Carlos Zambrano and $15 million from the Cubs for Chris Volstad

Jan 4, 2012, 7:31 PM EDT

Cincinnati Reds v Chicago Cubs Getty Images

UPDATE, 7:31 PM: ESPN Chicago’s Bruce Levine says the deal is done. It’s Zambrano for Volstad, with the Cubs eating $15 million of the $18 million remaining on Zambrano’s contract.

UPDATE, 7:12 PM: According to CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman, the Marlins are sending right-hander Chris Volstad to the Cubs as part of the Big Z trade, which could be finalized sometime Thursday.

UPDATE, 5:40 PM: So much for Zambrano staying in Chicago. Just hours after Epstein’s radio interview Ken Rosenthal of reports that the Marlins are close to acquiring Zambrano from the Cubs.

He’d have to waive his no-trade clause first, but Rosenthal believes Zambrano would do so to pitch for manager Ozzie Guillen and it’s no secret that the Marlins have been shopping for another veteran starter.


Carlos Zambrano‘s odds of remaining with the Cubs increased significantly when Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer took over the front office from Jim Hendry, but he’s still far from a sure thing to be with Chicago on Opening Day.

During an interview with WGN radio today Epstein was asked about Zambrano’s status and gave a pretty interesting answer:

The Carlos Zambrano of 2011 and years previous can’t fit into the culture that we have here. 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 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.

Epstein focusing on the clubhouse culture is … well, let’s say noteworthy considering how the Red Sox’s clubhouse culture fell apart in the month or two before he left Boston.

Clearly if the Cubs can get any kind of decent prospect or meaningful payroll relief in exchange for Zambrano they’ll gladly trade him, but there isn’t a whole lot of benefit to eating his entire $18 million salary just to make him go away.

  1. bozosforall - Jan 4, 2012 at 3:19 PM

    Epstein talking about clubhouse culture is a joke.

    • marshmallowsnake - Jan 4, 2012 at 8:14 PM

      Epstein is a joke.

      • baseballisboring - Jan 4, 2012 at 8:36 PM

        This comment is a joke.

      • comeonnowguys - Jan 5, 2012 at 9:32 AM

        This comment is not a joke.

    • marshmallowsnake - Jan 4, 2012 at 10:03 PM

      You are correct.

  2. rambodiaz - Jan 4, 2012 at 3:26 PM

    For the love of all things holy, why can’t Spring Training just be here already?

    • WhenMattStairsIsKing - Jan 4, 2012 at 4:11 PM

      Who would dislike rambo’s comment? I admit my weakness is annoyance towards dislikes for no reason, but we read these posts because we’re baseball fans. Who on earth wouldn’t want ST to be here already?

      • hoopmatch - Jan 4, 2012 at 4:25 PM

        Maybe rambo believes life goes by fast enough without wishing it to go faster.

      • comeonnowguys - Jan 5, 2012 at 9:33 AM

        Commenters over on PFT thumb down expressions of sympathy when someone dies. Nothing surprises me.

    • Kyle - Jan 4, 2012 at 9:28 PM

      I couldn’t agree with this sentiment more.

      • skids003 - Jan 5, 2012 at 8:54 AM

        I wouldn’t trade Zambrano for a bag o balls.

  3. mickyfin815 - Jan 4, 2012 at 3:40 PM

    I think Theo knew with the differences between him and his bosses, long before the last couple of months of the season, the clubhouse was the last of his priorities.

  4. xpensivewinos - Jan 4, 2012 at 3:46 PM

    It’s not like he’s going to say what he really thinks: “The guy is bat shit crazy, a danger to himself and every one around him and I don’t really care how much his salary is, cuz it ain’t my money and I wasn’t the guy who gave it to him……….If I cut him, I cut him.”

    Before he accepted the job there, I’m sure he had a crystal clear understanding of who he could and couldn’t get rid of.

    If only the Red Sox had been that clear on compensation for him…….

  5. jonathanfesler - Jan 4, 2012 at 4:00 PM

    I think I’d at least offer CZ to the Red Sox as compensation for TE? When he was the #3 behind Wood and Prior he was pretty good, sence then, he’s gone straight downhill

    • WhenMattStairsIsKing - Jan 4, 2012 at 4:12 PM

      Clement was #3, wasn’t he? Anyway, decent point, but Z hasn’t been useful in years.

  6. dad95 - Jan 4, 2012 at 4:01 PM

    I think a Zambrano-Bellances trade makes perfrct sense.Z could get his ring and may make the Series and becomes the perfect #2 with Mo and jeter to keep him calm.Plus it frees up a lot of money for the CUBS

    • baseballisboring - Jan 4, 2012 at 5:51 PM

      I don’t think Dr Phil and a resurrected Gandhi could keep Zambrano calm for any amount of time, let alone Mo and Jeter.

      • istillbelieveinblue - Jan 5, 2012 at 7:37 AM

        Dr. Phil is an ass hat, but you still get a thumbs up for this.

    • pisano - Jan 4, 2012 at 9:16 PM

      You must be on LSD, Zambrano is out of his F##king mind. The Yankees would never put up with his mental state.

  7. WhenMattStairsIsKing - Jan 4, 2012 at 4:14 PM

    Honestly, in a perfect world, I’d like to see Z and Soriano gone, even if that means diminishing payroll significantly for a few years until that loss breaks even. I’d have an easier time watching the Cubs without any idiotic contracts on them, losing or not.

    Though, preferably, I want them to pwn the NL……So I guess that’s actually my perfect world…….

    Am I talking?

    • Alex K - Jan 4, 2012 at 4:31 PM

      Why would you get more enjoyment out of watching more reasonably paid players?

      • WhenMattStairsIsKing - Jan 4, 2012 at 5:51 PM

        Because then I wouldn’t have to say to myself “He swings like that AND has a nine-figure contract???”

        Easier to swallow, old boy. Easier to expect less when they’re paid less.

        Of course, this may be ignorance on my part; I wouldn’t know that feeling as a Cub fan, considering the roster has had more albatrosses than the North Pacific! Can I get a hey-o?

      • baseballisboring - Jan 4, 2012 at 5:53 PM

        I imagine every time Soriano doesn’t get to a fly ball in left field, or Zambrano beats up an inanimate object, it’s hard not to think about those awful contracts. Just kind of an out of sight, out of mind type of thing right? Is that healthy?

      • WhenMattStairsIsKing - Jan 4, 2012 at 5:57 PM

        Does it have to be?

      • baseballisboring - Jan 4, 2012 at 6:32 PM


      • Alex K - Jan 4, 2012 at 9:59 PM

        I don’t think about how much guys get paid when I watch baseball. I try not to put my expectations on a guys salary and more on his play. I don’t want Soriano and Zambrano playing a lot because they are not good enough anymore if they make a trillion dollars a year or one dollar a year.

  8. PanchoHerreraFanClub - Jan 4, 2012 at 4:48 PM

    Could someone explain to me how 0 for 103 in World Championships constitutes a winning culture in the clubhouse?

    • thomas2727 - Jan 4, 2012 at 5:24 PM

      Rangers are 0 for 50 in World Championships. So by your logic they must not have winning culture in the clubhouse?

      • El Bravo - Jan 4, 2012 at 5:37 PM

        thomas2727, although I agree with your sentiment, I would never go into a numbers battle siding with the Cubs…that’s like siding with the Washington Generals.

      • thomas2727 - Jan 4, 2012 at 6:40 PM

        Even the Generals have 3 or 4 wins.

  9. rosloe62 - Jan 4, 2012 at 5:20 PM

    If you pay him you play him. Someone will need him for a stretch run. At this point the Cubs need pitching, so why get rid of a pitcher who you are paying 18mil for nada without some replacement.

    • El Bravo - Jan 4, 2012 at 5:37 PM

      “If you pay him you play him.” Wait, are you Adam Dunn?

  10. Old Gator - Jan 4, 2012 at 5:40 PM

    That ridiculous salary of Krazy Karlos’ is probably all that stands between heem and the Feesh, given Slobbering Ozzie’s inexplicable affection for him.

    • WhenMattStairsIsKing - Jan 4, 2012 at 5:58 PM

      Out of curiosity, do you have a nickname for Greg Dobbs?

      • Old Gator - Jan 5, 2012 at 8:26 AM

        When: sorry I forgot about this question in my angst over this incredibly stupid acquisition. Nope, nothing for Dobbs yet. He just kinda goes out there quietly and does his job. Nicknames occur to me spontaneously – ex: I was watching The Iron Giant with some of my dogs one sodden Macondo monsoon afternoon and there was a scene where the robot was looking down at the kid it befriends – and the robot looked just like Mike Stanton in a Feesh publicity photo. That was that. I don’t try to force them; my parents left the telomeres off the latch to the hatch to my subconscious, so I can just let my incipient dementia praecox do the rest.

    • cur68 - Jan 4, 2012 at 6:10 PM

      OG: I think, of all of us who root for teams that did not win the World Series last season, you are having the most interesting offseason. Any thoughts on living in interesting times?

      • Old Gator - Jan 4, 2012 at 9:08 PM

        I dare say the triceratops who watched the K/T meteor come down was living in interesting times. Titus Andronicus’ sous chef lived in interesting times. The local peasants during the Albigensian crusades lived in interesting times. Pu Yi lived in interesting times. During the summer of 1967 in Haight-Ashbury, I lived in interesting times. Pass the Ripple, Jerry.


        It won’t get interesting until Krazy Karlos throws his first tantrum, the Hanster brains a fan in the first base field boxes with a wild throw from third, and Larry Beinfest and the Chihuahua have to talk Scrooge McLoria down from one of the catwalks at Macondo Banana Massacre Field after Slobbering Ozzie holds an unauthorized press conference following the death of Hugo Chavez to announce his candidacy for the presidency of Venezuela.

      • Francisco (FC) - Jan 4, 2012 at 11:03 PM

        Well he certainly couldn’t go any worse…

      • cur68 - Jan 5, 2012 at 12:37 AM

        Well FC, they say De-Nile is a river in Africa. I submit that there are a lot of large reptiles in it. So far, the most interesting stories of the 2012 campaign have been out of or associated with Macondo. Interesting for the off season but I’ll further submit that this will be as nothing to the coming campaign of 2012. Pitcher’s & Catchers in t-minus 45 days…

    • Jonny 5 - Jan 4, 2012 at 8:31 PM

      Well Gator, Your Feesh have moved, and have just employed some of the most insane folks currently in MLB. Do you feel like you just ate a York peppermint patty?

      • Old Gator - Jan 4, 2012 at 8:58 PM

        More like I was out in the back yard licking a cane toad.

      • ptfu - Jan 4, 2012 at 10:53 PM

        And that’s before that seizure-inducing home run display has gone off!

        If and when Z has a meltdown, hopefully someone hands him a bat and points him toward the home run seizure thingie. Can’t think of anything I’d prefer to see bludgeoned to death

      • Old Gator - Jan 5, 2012 at 8:32 AM

        Ptooey: kinda like Brian Dennehy taking a baseball bat to that hideous sculpture at the end of Legal Eagles, no?

        Oddly enough, if you look at that sculpture in the movie, it does bear a startling resemblance to the monstrosity Scrooge McLoria has decreed for the twilight zone beyond center field.

  11. jckid21 - Jan 4, 2012 at 7:10 PM

    Santa really hates the Mets fan. The only presents they get this year is a fence moved in 10 feet and a owner with more debt than the Federal Government. Look at the bright side the fence being moved in should see an increase in offensive production. The bad thing is the production will be done mainly by the visiting team.

    You go Sandy…Nothing like being a spectator while everyone gets better around you.

    • Old Gator - Jan 5, 2012 at 8:34 AM

      Santa didn’t deliver Zambrano. Theo heard Krampus was taking a week off in the sun so he stuffed his most psychotic employee into his suitcase. How they got him by the TSA I we’ll never really know – probably, the guards were distracted by someone’s cupcake.

  12. mojosmagic - Jan 4, 2012 at 7:29 PM

    I am always amazed that there is an ass for every seat.

  13. thejotapee - Jan 4, 2012 at 7:30 PM

    As if the Marlins couldn’t get any more interesting! Great low risk high reward addition for the Fish since the Cubs are eating Zambrano’s entire salary. Nice job Beinfest!

    • Old Gator - Jan 4, 2012 at 9:00 PM

      Low risk? You jest. Lamebraino is a mega-distraction waiting to occur – kinda like that titchy volcano in Indonesia that instigated the last ice age. He and Slobbering Ozzie are going to be weird science’s answer to the Bernoulli Twins.

      • comeonnowguys - Jan 5, 2012 at 9:38 AM

        It could be low risk. Unless you’re a Gatorade machine.

    • randygnyc - Jan 5, 2012 at 12:54 AM

      Between Hanley and zambrano you couldn’t have a more cancerous pair of teammates. The downside on this is HUGE. This is a mistake, at any price, for the marlins.

      • Old Gator - Jan 5, 2012 at 8:36 AM

        I don’t know about cancer. More like psoriatic arthropathy.

      • Old Gator - Jan 5, 2012 at 11:49 AM

        I take that back. Randy is right. That’s like taking an injection of HeLa cells to see what happens.

  14. glink123 - Jan 4, 2012 at 7:33 PM

    I like the new NBA CBA with regard to 5 years being the max length of a contract. I think MLB would benefit from the same limit. 5 years gives a team long enough to build a team, and gives a player a nice cushion for financial security, but it also eliminates the risk of having a bum with 7 plus years left at $20 million per year.

  15. baseballisboring - Jan 4, 2012 at 7:50 PM

    Getting a #4 starter with some club control and $3 mil in salary relief has to be considered a win for Zambrano.

    • Old Gator - Jan 4, 2012 at 8:57 PM

      Well twisted.

  16. sleepyirv - Jan 4, 2012 at 8:27 PM

    Considering this was supposedly going to end with the Cubs eating the contract, the new management team has already done infintely better than Hendry would have.

  17. willcoop - Jan 4, 2012 at 8:33 PM

    Personally I would have traded this piece for a used bag of batting practice balls and a cracked fungo bat just to get him out of town. Imagine The Wizard of Oz and Carlos the Grinch on the same team. Pray that the catcher can fight and the water coolers are Mage of titanium.

  18. 78mu - Jan 4, 2012 at 8:39 PM

    Getting rid of Zambrano is one thing.

    Let’s see if someone will take Soriano and the majority of his contract. Theo would be Executive of the Year if he can do that.

    • dondada10 - Jan 4, 2012 at 9:00 PM

      And Brian Sabean would probably be the other guy in that trade.

      • 78mu - Jan 4, 2012 at 11:07 PM

        Has any team hired Hendry?

      • Old Gator - Jan 5, 2012 at 11:50 AM

        Has Scott Walker restored collective bargaining?

    • stanleyfrankmusial - Jan 4, 2012 at 9:03 PM

      78mu – Theo would be Executive of Infinity if he can get someone to eat $1.00 of Soriano’s ginormous millstone of a contract. Obviously I am not a Cubs fan, but my father-in-law is…and when I ask him: “HOW much are they paying this guy to hit .244 and strike out all the time?” he only shakes his head and curses quietly into his Old Style.

    • Kevin S. - Jan 5, 2012 at 11:26 AM

      “Sure, Tony, you can put me down as a reference on your next job application!”

  19. spudchukar - Jan 4, 2012 at 8:41 PM

    While I understand both organizations move here, still seems like the Feesh came out ahead. Volstad has been a disaster, despite his supposed promise. The Flubs need to part with their head cases but one might expect a little better return, especially since they ate so much of Zambano’s expense.

    Sure it is a gamble with Big Z, but when you only compare him to Volstad in the rotation for similar money, it is an understandable roll of the dice.

    • Old Gator - Jan 5, 2012 at 11:52 AM

      Assuming the dice aren’t loaded with psychoses. It’s not much of a roll if the crazy bastard keeps comeing up snake eyes. As Jerry, who lives, once sang:

      They say that Cain caught Abel
      Rolling loaded dice
      Ace of spades behind his ear
      And him not thinkin’ twice….

      • unclemosesgreen - Jan 5, 2012 at 1:39 PM

        Not a problem – already handled – Ozzie already knows that he can hypnotize Zambrano by wiggling his vulvic vermillion border.

        On the day when I was born
        Daddy sat down and cried.
        I had the mark just as plain as day;
        which could not be denied.

  20. Old Gator - Jan 4, 2012 at 8:56 PM

    I will need some time to assess the actual impact in beisbol terms of having Krazy Karlos in the rotation, which right now looks a bit more like a reverse-Fibonacci corkscrew, but for the time being I can only say that, in terms of entertainment value, having that lunatic here in Macondo somewhat compensates for Michele Bachmann quitting the primaries.

  21. hammyofdoom - Jan 4, 2012 at 9:18 PM

    I really REALLY want to see big Z and Ozzie get into a heated argument. They might be yelling at each other so fast the immediate area may catch on fire

  22. natsattack - Jan 4, 2012 at 9:41 PM

    Solve for X, put it into simplest form.
    Show your work.

    • spudchukar - Jan 4, 2012 at 10:44 PM



  23. mojosmagic - Jan 4, 2012 at 9:50 PM

    How long before Oz has Z swimming with the fishes? Like is said there is an ass for every seat.

  24. dgrowe213 - Jan 4, 2012 at 9:56 PM

    Hasn’t Zambrano had an emotional and mental breakdown the past two times he started against the Braves? Now he’s in the same division as them.

    He’ll retire by August.

    • Francisco (FC) - Jan 4, 2012 at 11:07 PM

      No, he’ll be carried out in a straight-jacket by then.

    • 78mu - Jan 4, 2012 at 11:09 PM

      I feel sorry for the Gatorade coolers.

  25. willcoop - Jan 4, 2012 at 9:56 PM

    Theo is cleaning up Jim Hendrys mess and needs to get rid of Soriano and his bad contract next. When that deal was made years ago I didn’t understand why he signed a designated hitter. But come next month the Cubs will have more leadership on the team and less talent. In the years to come all that will balance itself out. Theo is not crippling the team as Hendry did with the huge signings he made. Now some of these kids are going to have to earn their pay or the shuttle out of Wrigley will be hot and steaming. Are you listening Soto, Colvin Szamargia,(sp) and my favorite ulcer Carlos Marmol., omg I said his name. Honey where’s the tums.

    • 78mu - Jan 4, 2012 at 11:24 PM

      Soriano was never worth his contract. People fall in love with someone that combines power and speed but in Soriano’s case his best year was when he was 30 and he got a contract like he would be a 40/40 guy for the next 7 years.

      Hendry was lucky the Cubs could afford his contract and still manage to put a team on the field that at least made the playoffs. Of course Soriano went 3 for 28 in the playoffs so that didn’t make the contract look any better.

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