Zambrano Could Earn Way Back to the Cubs

Carlos Zambrano’s days with the Cubs might not be over as previously thought.

According to multiple reports, Carlos Zambrano could earn his way back to the Cubs after meeting with Theo Epstein and Oneri Fleita on Monday. Zambrano requested the meeting with the Cubs new President of Baseball Operations and flew in from Venezuela to discuss his future with the Chicago Cubs. Barry Praver accompanied his client and reportedly had a very productive lunch at Goose Island.

Theo Epstein has decided to give Zambrano a chance, and steps he will have to take, to earn his way back on the team. Epstein said the Cubs are not going to “welcome him back unconditionally” but if he follows all of the steps, that will remain confidential, they will “see him in Spring Training and welcome him back.”

The meeting reportedly went well and Carlos Zambrano expressed a desire to remain with the Cubs and have a strong 2012 season. Epstein said Zambrano seemed sincere and described him as “contrite” during the meeting … but was told Zambrano has acted that way before.

Theo Epstein from Cubs.com:

“It went well. [Zambrano] expressed a strong desire to be a Cub and an even stronger desire to have a really good 2012 season. I told him we’d give him the right to earn his way back to being a Cub. Nothing would be given to him but he could earn his way back from very hard work this winter, through rebuilding relationships man to man with all of his teammates, and through some other steps that we discussed.”

Details of the conditions and steps will not be made public.

According to a report from ESPN Chicago, Epstein was asked if the decisions made on Monday would keep the Cubs from trying to move Zambrano this off-season. Epstein said, “Right now, we’re going to give him the right to earn his way back as a Cub.”

Zambrano was expected to fly back to Venezuela on Tuesday to continue pitching in Winter Ball. The Cubs have been monitoring Zambrano’s outings in Venezuela.

Stay Tuned …

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