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Carlos Zambrano gamble is one Marlins are willing to take

January 5, 2012 |  3:45 pm


Carlos Zambrano, who had violated the trust of his teammates and management in Chicago while with the Cubs, will get another chance in Florida when he's reunited with former manager Ozzie Guillen, a friend of his from Venezuela.

While Zambrano, who is 30, burned his bridges in Chicago, the three-time All-Star pitcher with a career record of 125-81 might still have some good years left. He went only 9-7 with a 4.82 earned-run average last season but ran afoul of the organization with a series of spats that culminated on Aug. 12, when he was ejected from a game, cleaned out his locker, talked about retiring and was eventually suspended without pay.

Miami acquired Zambrano by sending veteran right-hander Chris Volstad, who is 32-39 with a 4.59 ERA in 11 seasons, to the Cubs.

“Ozzie has a long and close relationship with Carlos,” said Larry Beinfest, president of baseball operations for the Marlins. “We went with Ozzie on this one. The bottom line was Ozzie just really, really felt confident about this deal.

“It would be hard for me to say everything is going to be perfect and incident-free, given the guy's history. It may happen that he has a blowup or two. But Ozzie is very confident he can help him.”

The deal also made sense for the Cubs, who still owed Zambrano $18 million this season but got Miami to agree to pick up $2.55 million of the payments.

“Every player that I talked to articulated to me that Carlos had really violated their trust,” said Theo Epstein, the Cubs' new president of baseball operations. “When you're talking about physical altercations with teammates repeatedly, when you're talking about physically walking out on the team, it's very hard to then have that player come back into the clubhouse and be trusted.”


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Associated Press contributed to this report.

Photo: Carlos Zambrano works against the Cincinnati Reds during a game with the Chicago Cubs last season. Credit: Paul Beaty / Associated Press