Separate reports from ESPN, Fox and CBS sports have the Miami Marlins completing a deal for volatile Chicago Cubs Right handed starting pitcher Carlos Zambrano as early as Thursday January 5th. The Marlins would send starting pitcher Chris Volstad to Chicago per CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman while Fox Sports Ken Rosenthal reported that the Cubs would pay between $15-16 million of the $18 million Zambrano is owed in 2012. The righty has a no trade clause from the Cubs but that is not reportedly an issue. Meanwhile, Volstad has started 102 of 103 major league games over the past 4 years and was 32-39 with a 4.59 in those contests. He was 5-13 with a 4.89 ERA in 2011.
Zambrano is a tremendous talent but has finally worn out his welcome in Chi town, the final straw occurring August 12th when he gave up 5 home runs , then threw at the head of Atlanta Braves icon Chipper Jones and was ejected. He then left the stadium early,said he was retiring and was placed on the team’s disqualified list. He was 9-7 with 4.82 ERA in 24 2011 starts and 125-81, 3.60 ERA in 319 games . Zambrano pitched a no hitter in 2008 and ranks 2nd in Cubs history with 1542 strikeouts. He has a strong relationship with new Marlins skipper Ozzie Guillen, as the are both natives of Venezuela and regularly worked charity events together in Chicago. Interesting to note that he has hit 23 career home runs, the most since St. Louis Cardinals Hall of Famer Bob Gibson retired in 1975 after hitting 24.
Kevin Goldstein released his list of the top eleven Marlins prospects and there’s some potential stars at the top of the list. Number one on the list is Christian Yelich. The 2010 first round pick, Yelich raked at Low-A and he’ll move up the chain to High-A in 2012. He’s still a couple of years away but this could looks like a keeper in the outfield.
Number two is Jose Fernandez. They locked up their top pick in 2011 in time for him to pitch in a couple of games but we’ll get to see how he does at Greenboro in 2012. He’s a few years away but this guy has the potential to pitch in the middle of the Marlins rotation in the future.
Marcell Ozuna is number three and he’s another young outfielder. This guy brings a lot of power but he’s a couple of years away. J.T. Realmuto (C) and Chad James (LHP) round out the top five.
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