Report: Cubs Working on Creative Solution to Moving Carlos Zambrano, Marlins Interested

A report out of Venezuela says new Florida Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen has been in contact with Cubs pitcher Carlos Zambrano about joining him in Miami next season. The two have long been friends, and, with the Marlins’ desire for a starting pitcher coupled with the Cubs’ desire to be rid of Zambrano, a marriage seems like a natural fit.

The report, from El Nacional, says Guillen and Zambrano have discussed a future together in Miami, and quotes a source who describes the Cubs’ plans for ridding themselves of Zambrano. Carrie Muskat and others have described that plan as the Cubs letting the Marlins take Zambrano and his entire $18 million 2012 salary, which the team would pay off in deferred payments.

If that seems too good to be true, it could be because something was lost in translation.

When I read the article – both in my attempted Spanish, and using Google translate – it’s unclear whether the quote means that the Marlins would be paying Zambrano’s 2012 salary in deferred payments, or that the Cubs would be converting Zambrano’s 2012 $18 million salary into deferred payments in exchange for releasing him. To me, it looks more like the latter.

If that’s the case, Zambrano’s situation would be not unlike the Dodgers and Andruw Jones back in 2008. Before the 2008 season, the Dodgers signed Jones to a two-year, $36 million contract. During that 2008 season, Jones performed terribly, was injured, and strained the relationship between himself and the Dodgers. Neither side was interested in being together for the 2009 season, so the Dodgers restructured Jones’ contract to defer payments on the $22 million he was owed for 2009, and Jones was released.

The gain in such a move is twofold: (1) it allows you to spread payments to a player over several seasons’ budgets, reducing the impact of that salary on any one given year; and (2) the time value of money means that $5 million paid in 2016 isn’t worth quite as much as $5 million paid in 2012.

The Cubs, however, would explore such an option only if they could find absolutely no takers on the trade market for Zambrano. And that’s where the Marlins once again enter the equation.

Joe Frisaro, from the Marlins’ MLB.com site, suggests that, because of Guillen’s interest in having Zambrano on the team, the Marlins might consider trading for him. Obviously that would be the best outcome for the Cubs, even if it meant only a few million in salary relief.

I would imagine this situation would play out over the next couple of months, with nothing major happening until the new GM is in place. Tom Ricketts has said that Zambrano is unlikely to return to the Cubs next year, but he wouldn’t be so bold as to green light a move like that before the next GM steps in, right?

Brett Taylor is the editor and lead writer at Bleacher Nation, and can also be found as Bleacher Nation on Twitter and on Facebook.

43 responses to “Report: Cubs Working on Creative Solution to Moving Carlos Zambrano, Marlins Interested”

  1. EQ76

    fingers crossed!!!

  2. JulioZuleta

    La fórmula? Chicago deja al pitcher en libertad, pagándole sus $ 18 millones en forma diferida

    That basically says, the Cubs will let him go, paying him his $18 mil in differed payments. Pretty much that we would release him.

  3. JulioZuleta

    Carlos Zambrano plus the $18 million for Logan Morrison??

    1. MichiganGoat

      That would be ideal but I think Morrison could net the Marlins some prospects on the open market, but their is no way Ozzie and Logan could be together next year.

  4. LouCub

    Get Theo in here to do the deal

  5. Toosh

    Ricketts should go after Ozzie and the Marlins for tampering. Then the Commissioner could negotiate a settlement between the two teams. Marlins get Zambrano, Cubs get salary relief and a player or two.

  6. philoe beddoe

    This is all contingent on how much “control” Ozzie has in his new job, I would think he would have a bit of an influence since that was such a problem between he and Kenny, and he can convince GM to take on Carlos

    in all honesty I think this is a whole lot of nothing…my gut says Marlins have no interest and this was a non-story…just because Zambrano and Ozzie are friends guys start speculating and making up crap

    plus….there is NO WAY if I am Ricketts he just gets the 18 million to go away….I might do the deferred deal (perferrably 1 mil a year for the next 18)…but you can’t just waive him and eat the 18…you at least have to pretend to negotiate…

    1. NyN

      On a side note wasn’t Joe Girardi furious in Florida because of Jeffrey Loria’s constant involvement in team issues. I wonder how many super awesome Ozzie blowups are going to happen next year because of it. If a laid back guy like Girardi is upset this can only end badly

      1. hardtop

        despite being an itsy bitsy dude, loria is a giant weenie. I’ve met him…. Weenie!

  7. Spencer

    If the Cubs weren’t so eager to ditch Z, couldn’t they possibly file tampering charges against the Marlins for talking to a player under contract?  I’m a little fuzzy about the MLB rules regarding that.

    1. hardtop

      the question is: when did “El Toro” and Ozzie have the conversation? If Ozzie wasnt yet a part of the Marlins staff, then its just two Venezuelans talking to each other… not a crime punishable by the law nor emperor selig (but, if they tried to hold the conversation in english, i bet it’d be a hoot to listen to).
      Do we know when these conversations took place?
      Wanna bet there was a lot of swearing and Wrigley bashing involved?

  8. ari gold

    ahh, the good old time value of money.

  9. die hard

    would he pass physical?….not so sure

  10. Andy

    There’s little question it’s tampering, but I’m sure it happens regularly and given Z’s position I would doubt anyone cares.

  11. philoe beddoe

    yes…I would imagine when it comes to Soriano(and probably even Dempster now)..the Cubs would have a “Tamper Away!” philosophy with other teams….

    when you put your garbage on the curb and somebody takes it….is it tampering?

    1. NyN

      Haha. If it is your curb it is still your garbage right…

      1. TWC

        Exactly.  Which is why it infuriates me when the bums steal the bottles out of my recycling bin.

  12. die hard

    I say keep Z and stick it to Guillen..dont we play them 6 times next year?…thats two starts

  13. rock8263

    Very suspensful episode of Breaking Bad last night, waiting for the bad guy to walk to his volvo in the parking garage. Who cares about Big Z. Never one an important game in his Cubs career . Bring on the new G.M . I can’t wait for the get together to move up in season ticket seating , sounds like it might be like an auction. I wonder how many old timers will drop out? I just want to move from row 15 to row 9 or 10.

  14. TScott

    Zambrano for Morrison?

  15. Robbo

    I wish the owners of my company would pay me $18 million to go away. Maybe I should start throwing gatorade coolers around in the office and picking fights with co-workers. Zambomania!

    1. NyN

      where I coach baseball the asst athletic director of a rival school (who was a parent of a player on the team) allegedly threatened a coach with a bat and got a raise after the smoke cleared so maybe you have something.

  16. die hard

    We can pay Z not to pitch…ie we honor his contract and then put him on inactive list?

  17. Peter M. Arel

    THE CHICAGO CUBS SHOULD DEFINITELY UNLOAD ZAMBRANO. THE QUESTION IS HOW. IF ZAMBRANO W@ERE A GROSSLY UNDERPAID PEON-AND
    TREATED AS SUCH BY THE CHICAGO CUBS FRONT OFFICE PEOPLE HIS CONTRACT WOULD BE A LOT EASIER TO GET RID OF. BIG CONTRACTS -$4.5M OR MORE-ARE WHAT MAKE A LOT OF THESE GUYS UNTRADABLE!IF
    ZAMBRANO WERE WORKING-OR IF THE CUBS WERE PAYING HIM- PEANUTS-WHICH IS WHAT A LOT OF PLAYERS SHOULD BE MADE TO WORK FOR-THE CUBS WOULD HAVE A MUCH EASIER TIME UNLOADING BOTH ZAMBRANO AND HIS BIG CONTRACT!

    1. TWC

      Um… you new around here, kid?

    2. JR

      Pete, not sure if you just got back from a 6 month space voyage or what. But Z was traded for a turd, and the Cubs paid his full salary. Why?? Because Big Z is a psycho..