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The Early Lead
Posted at 01:25 PM ET, 01/05/2012

Carlos Zambrano joins Ozzie Guillen in Miami; will fireworks follow? (updated)


Carlos Zambrano will join Ozzie Guillen in Miami. (Paul Beaty - AP / AP)

Updated with Marlins announcing that deal is official

The gamble financially is negligible. The gamble with the Miami Marlins’ chemistry is another matter, but Manager Ozzie Guillen thinks he can handle Carlos Zambrano.

As a result, the Marlins have traded Chris Volstad to Chicago for the combustible Cub. The deal became official when both players passed physicals and the commissioner’s office signed off on the deal, in which the Cubs will be picking up $15 million-to-$16 million of Zambrano’s salary.

Zambrano, 30, has a 125-81 record with a 3.60 career earned-run average and is a one of the best hitters, for a pitcher, in baseball. Guillen, who has a history with Zambrano from his days as the manager of teh White Sox, pushed for the trade. Guillen and Zambrano bonded in Chicago over a shared Venezuelan heritage and Guillen believes he can keep Zambrano, who has been at odds with fans, umpires, teammates and management at times in his career, in check.

This should be interesting.

Guillen was ordered to undergo sensitivity training after he verbally assaulted a reporter in 2006 and Zambrano agreed to anger-management counseling after an incident with Derrek Lee in 2010. That same season, Zambrano angered Cubs manager Lou Piniella by having dinner with Guillen after a dugout explosion during an interleague game against the White Sox.

Zambrano was placed on the restricted list last season after an August meltdown during a game in Atlanta. He cleaned out his locker and threatened to retire. He was reinstated in September but did not pitch again. He met with Theo Epstein, the Cubs’ new boss, in November and, although he seemed apologetic, Epstein was wary. “... From what I understand, he has seemed that way before, so I think this is a trust-but-verify situation,” Epstein said then (via the Chicago Tribune).

During baseball’s winter meetings, Guillen said he and Zambrano were texting every day, but denied that he was pursuing Zambrano.

“We talk as friends, we talk about what happened in the past, yes,” Guillen said. “We talk about how better it's going to be, yes. We talk about what kind of pitcher he can be, yes. But talking about the Marlins, I never did.”

Well, he can talk about ’em now.

Has a .607 career winning % & a 3.60 era. Winners welcome! RT @MrBelal: LoMo Any comments abt getting Zambrano? How do u think he'll fit in?Thu Jan 05 04:59:44 via Twitterrific

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By  |  01:25 PM ET, 01/05/2012

 
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