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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?

  • EQ76

    fingers crossed!!!

  • 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.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Gracias, amigo. My knowledge of Spanish comes almost exclusively from ‘Breaking Bad’ episodes, so I wanted to make sure I was in the ballpark.

  • JulioZuleta

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

    • http://www.michigangoat.blogspot.com 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.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      One year of Carlos Zambrano for free, in exchange for a young, cost-controlled, studly outfielder? They would pass.

      But I would love if the Cubs could work out that kind of deal, perhaps including a prospect or two? Morrison would be an excellent addition.

      • JulioZuleta

        Yeah, I have to think he is available at a somewhat reduced cost after last year. You have to question the thinking of an organziation who demotes a young stud for being too outspoken, but then bends over backwards trying to bring Ozzie Guillen and now apparently big Z aboard.

        • JulioZuleta

          Side Note: According to the article, Zambrano’s nicknames are actually “El Toro” and “Huracan Carlos” and henceforth should be referred to as such. Also acceptable is “the pitcher formerly known as Big Z”.

          • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

            Ha.

          • Laura

            I’ve been referring to him as ‘El Diablo’ for about six years. (Ever since he plunked Jim Edmonds [still with the Cards] for being smug after hitting a homer off of him at Wrigley, then walking off the field before he was officially ejected. Jim had it coming :) )

  • LouCub

    Get Theo in here to do the deal

  • 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.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      I wondered about that angle – I kind of assumed either the Marlins had sought permission, or the Cubs simply didn’t care.

      • Deez

        I was thinking about the whole tampering thing too. Regardless of whether, the Cubs care or not.
        You can’t have other teams & their manager colluding to get players they like.
        I hope the Marlins did in fact do this & it’s proven to be true, so, we can get a lil’ more than expected for Z.

        Also, what do you think about Z, Soriano & money ($36M – $40M) going to the Giants for Zito?
        I’ve thought this trade should’ve been made some time ago!

  • 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…

    • 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

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

        Yeah, it’s an interesting combination.

      • hardtop

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

  • 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.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      The rule on tampering is pretty clear: “Rule 3 (g) TAMPERING. To preserve discipline and competition, and to prevent the enticement of players, coaches, managers and umpires, there shall be no negotiations or dealings respecting employment, either present or prospective, between any player, coach or manager and any club other than the club with which he is under contract or acceptance of terms, or by which he is reserved, or which has the player on its Negotiation List, or between any umpire and any league other than the league with which he is under contract or acceptance of terms, unless the club or league with which he is connected shall have, in writing, expressly authorized such negotiations or dealings prior to their commencement.”

      • CubFan Paul

        oh, wow ..again

        so Ozzie did Tamper, if the report is true that he talked to the pitcher formerly known as Big Z about joining the Marlins

      • NyN

        Wonder if the ability to seek alternative options could be part of the MLBPA grievance that was filed?

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          Maybe – but the grievance hasn’t been heard yet, and the Cubs opposed it. So, I don’t see how it could have any impact yet.

          • NyN

            touche my friend touche

    • 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?

  • ari gold

    ahh, the good old time value of money.

  • die hard

    would he pass physical?….not so sure

  • 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.

  • 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?

    • NyN

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

      • TWC

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

  • die hard

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

  • 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.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      I feel like Breaking Bad has stalled in the last couple weeks.

  • http://None TScott

    Zambrano for Morrison?

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      We discussed that a bit earlier, but the problem is, Morrison is young, cheap, and incredibly talented. Zambrano is old (old arm, anyway), volatile, expensive, and under contract for only one year. Even if the Cubs paid all of his salary, I can’t see the Marlins given them Morrison. He’d cost more.

  • 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!

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      And here you thought I “quit” being a lawyer.

    • 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.

  • die hard

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

  • 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!

    • TWC

      Um… you new around here, kid?

    • 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..

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