MLB Trade Rumors: Cubs Carlos Zambrano Dealt to the Florida Marlins

Garrett SistoCorrespondent IJanuary 4, 2012

ATLANTA, GA - AUGUST 12:  Pitcher Carlos Zambrano #38 of the Chicago Cubs looks to first base during the game against the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field on August 12, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Mike Zarrilli/Getty Images)
Mike Zarrilli/Getty Images

USA Today reports Cubs starting pitcher Carlos Zambrano is about to be traded to the Florida Marlins,in an unexpected offseason deal.

Maybe "unexpected" is the wrong choice of word, as the deal has been a long-rumored one over the past few months. It is still another clear step in newly appointed Theo Epstein's march to remake the make-up of his Cubs franchise.

Dave Kaplan of Comcast news reports that the deals specifics should be finalized in the next 24-48 hours. Although there is some finality to the pieces involved.

Jon Heyman, ESPN sports news, that the Cubs will be receiving starting pitcher Chris Volstad, along with an undisclosed salary relief for Zambrano's contract estimated at 20 million dollars.

But, this might be a deal that flies under the excitement radar.  Chicago Cubs President, Theo Epstein will have moved the club's biggest problem on and off the field. It is a move that gives the Cubs back player talent at a lesser cost while saving the team from paying Zambrano's estimated 20 million dollar deal in 2012.

Though, there are plenty of fond memories of Carlos as a Cub. His tenure not in doubt, having pitched for a decade on the north side; five, of which, were successful seasons. Yet, fans should remember his disastrous personality and inability to pitch like an Ace for the past five seasons, all the while being paid like the #1 starter he never become.

He has been so wildly up-and-down that his team never knew what to expect out of him on a yearly basis, and this fact truly hurt the consistency of the ballclub while handcuffing them financially. Mixing in the occasional gem of a pitching performance with numerous blow-ups and blow-outs, he truly was an indefinable enigma of a starter.

He hurt the Cubs plenty just as much as he helped the Cubs plenty. More recently, the negatives started to pile up much too high. His time on the franchise is over, and the Marlins think there is enough in his tank to ride him out in their push for the playoffs. They won't be giving up a lot to get him, but Z remains a powder keg, and the risk remains precariously high.

The Marlins already have a bona-fide Ace in Josh Johnson, and they already have added a serviceable mid-rotation starter in Mark Buerhle. If Florida wants to slot Zambrano in the lower-half of the rotation and hope for the best, the team could do a lot worse. They just need to temper expectations, and realize that although he carries moderate upside, his risk is as dramatic as it gets.

So we will all be finding out how this will all shake in the next 48 hours.