Last week it appeared as though Carlos Zambrano would be heading to play in the independent Atlanta League, having signed a deal with the Long Island Ducks. While Zambrano did agree to the terms of a deal with the Ducks, he never ended up actually signing the contract as he continued to seek employment with a Major League organization. This afternoon, according to multiple sources, Zambrano instead signed a minor league deal to join the Philadelphia Phillies.
He’ll head to the team’s Spring Training complex in Clearwater, Florida initially and will then join one of the team’s minor league affiliates.
Philadelphia’s need to add to their pitching depth has been widely publicized as the team is already dealing with multiple injuries. Roy Halladay will miss the next three months, if not the remainder of the season, after undergoing shoulder surgery. John Lannan has been sidelined with a knee injury and isn’t expected to return until early June. Both Kyle Kendrick and Cliff Lee have pitched well, but the team has also had to cope with Cole Hamels’ struggles. Thus far they’ve relied on internal options – namely Jonathan Pettibone and more recently, Tyler Cloyd – but there is little experienced depth within the organization.
Shortly after Zambrano’s agreement with the Ducks was first announced there were rumblings that the Phillies might have interest, but GM Ruben Amaro expectedly downplayed much of the rumblings. With this signing, less than a week later, it’s clear that the team is leaving no stone unturned in their search for options. Based on his track record in the clubhouse and recent success (or lack thereof) on the mound, Zambrano is going to need some strong showings in the minor leagues in order to join the Phillies’ pitching staff. His deal contains a July 1st opt-out date, meaning there will need to be a decision made one way or another by then.