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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  • RynoTiger

    Very smart move by Epstein by showing tha the Cubs still have a desire for Zambrano to remain and are provinding that opportunity.    It perhaps can build up Zambrano’s trade value again, especially if he improves his winter league performance.

    • Cubluv

      +1 refreshing to see an intelligent baseball/business man in charge after JH

  • Tony_Hall

    The confidential part is simple, Theo explained to Z that for him to get traded to the team he wants, they have to create a demand.  There is a market for Z, but not very big.  Theo told Z, that he has to play nice, and adhere to the plan, so that he can be given a new home.  He also told him it would be nice if he could actually get some people out and not throw at their heads, and not clean out his locker in the middle of the game…play nice Big Z, play nice.

  • Chuck

    A new President of Baseball Operations, a new GM, and a new manager is like playing for a new team and in a new environment.  I feel this is all good for Big Z . Changes = new attitude = a better player.  Theo, you are on the right track.  Keep on truckin. 

  • Weyrlord2001

    he had better be on the shortest leash in********history!!

    • J Daniel

      Theo is doing exactly what he needs to do in order to maximize an asset.  There is no way, well I guess there is, that they want to eat both Zambrano’s and Soriano’s money totaling about $72 million.  I have stated numerous times – Z is in the last year – with an option – and will want a new contract (it will not be with the Cubs).  The Cubs do not want to eat the money and are in desperate need of starting pitching and trade assets.  Z is both. 

      It is simple – Z will pitch well, driving up his market both in trade value and future contract – or he will be released later and will only get a minimal contract down the line.  Z knows this, the Cubs know this, and so do all of the other teams.

      However, if Z comes back and pitches well there will be a handful of teams next June/July that will need a starter and will not be able to help themselves.  Also, at that point it is a rent a player.  History has shown though that you can make a really good deal for your future by trading a starting pitcher at the deadline.

      The key here is patience.  There is nothing to lose but a lot to gain.

      Theo had a great comment when speaking to reporters on this topic.  “You have made up your mind, but we need to look at it and then decide”.

  • Coolpdxcubsfan

    Someone on here predicted this.
    If I remember right they said that there was just too much money involved and with JH gone, he would be forgiven yet another time.
    Of course, the real issue comes down to whether he can still pitch at this level effective enough to justify a pardon AND can he play nice with others long enough to gather some worth, either to us or another team.
    It amazes me how such a lucky, gifted millionaire is willing to  risk losing the greatest, best paying job in the world by doing something stupid like throwing a tantrum. It is truly a gift from heaven to be able to throw a baseball 90+ mph or that nasty slider he has that nobody can hit. I would kill to have that talent.
    I doubt if we will see the Z of old, but he has been so good in the past that even a 3/4 Z is not too shabby.
    Personally, I hope he can get it together enough to pull it off. We need him. And while he certainly deserved his first couple of chances, it is getting tiresome to be always dealing with his drama and distraction.
    If he proves he can still pitch on this level, and Theo gives him another chance, I will support him, but I swear, even as filled with blue Kool Aid as I am, this is the last time.
    You hear that Z??
    The last time!

    • J Daniel

      I predicted and it was an easy one.  Just can’t eat all of that money.  You can but it is not smart.  It is like us throwing away $5,000 just because we made a mistake.  Not going to happen unless we are sure we can’t get anything back.  If we think we might be able to recop $2,500 of it we will wait it out.