Enigmatic right-hander Carlos Zambrano has finally resurfaced, signing a contract to join the Long Island Ducks of the independent Atlantic League. Zambrano will join a number of former Major Leaguers on the Ducks’ roster, including Dontrelle Willis and Vladimir Guerrero.
The 31 year old Zambrano spent 12 seasons in the Majors, 11 of them with the Chicago Cubs. In 1,959.0 career innings he posted a 3.66 ERA and 1.331 WHIP, going 132-91 in that span. He spent the 2012 season with the Miami Marlins following an early January trade from the Cubs. He’d make 35 appearances for the team, including 20 starts, putting up a 7-10 record and 4.49 ERA in 132.1 IP.
Zambrano’s career was filled with a number of on and off field incidents that left more of an impact on his legacy than his work on the mound. MLBTR’s Tim Dierkes summed them up fairly succinctly:
From the ‘07 fight with teammate Michael Barrett; the five year, $91.5 Million contract signed that year; all kinds of odd ailments; the no-hitter in ‘08 against the Astros at Miller Park; the ‘09 on-field tantrum that led to a six game suspension; problems with Cubs management; the move to the bullpen and back; the issue with Derrek Lee in ‘10 that led to a team mandated suspension; his placement on the disqualified list in ‘11; to the salary dump trade to Miami; Z’s final years as a Cub were tumultuous to say the least.
Over the winter Zambrano was believed to have interest in a Major League job, though he preferred to start rather than work out of the bullpen. Little interest emerged and ultimately he was left without an offer. He’ll need to both pitch extraordinarily well and demonstrate some maturity in the clubhouse before any team will likely be willing to take another flyer on him.