Compared to the Theo Epstein circus, it’s been a minor drama, but the dalliance between Ozzie Guillen, the Miami Marlins, and Carlos Zambrano has been up there among the early offseason story lines. First, there was word that the Marlins might have interest in Zambrano, who has one year left on his current contract, and whom the Cubs will almost certainly be looking to trade. Then, there were reports that Guillen, who is close friends with Zambrano, was already talking to Zambrano about joining him next year. Zambrano, for his part, denied speaking with Guillen about the Marlins. At last check, the Marlins were interested in Zambrano.

But, as it was with the Epstein he-said, she-said, another report says the Marlins are not interested in pursuing Zambrano this Winter.

Buster Olney (“Insider”) says that, despite all of the rumors, there isn’t a great deal of Zambrano discussion in the Marlins’ organization. The concern, Olney believes, is Zambrano’s regression over the last handful of years, rather than his various outbursts.

Zambrano is owed about $18 million in 2012 (with an unachievable vesting option for 2013), and I remain of the belief that any number of teams would be interested in Zambrano for a few million bucks. I also suspect the Cubs would be willing to move Zambrano for that level of salary relief.

It’s interesting that, for all the discussion about how weak the 2012 pitching market is, no one seems to mention that it could have a beneficial effect on the market for Carlos Zambrano. If good arms truly are that difficult to come back this Winter, perhaps the interest in Zambrano – whether from Miami or elsewhere – will be greater than any of us is expecting.



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