Carlos Zambrano wanted a big league deal, didn't get one and will now pitch in the Atlantic League.
Former Chicago Cubs and Miami Marlins pitcher Carlos Zambrano isn’t ready to call it quits just yet.
Zambrano went unsigned throughout the offseason and Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune reported that he might sign in Japan or Taiwan if he didn’t receive a major league deal.
Zambrano has signed a contract, but it isn’t with a major league team, a team in Japan or a team in Taiwan. Instead, he signed a deal to play for the Long Island Ducks of the Atlantic League, according to Carrie Muskat of MLB.com.
In case you missed it, Carlos Zambrano has signed with the Long Island Ducks of the Atlantic League. #Cubs— Carrie Muskat (@CarrieMuskat) May 8, 2013
Most recently, Zambrano pitched for Venezuela in the 2013 World Baseball Classic. He started one game, allowing two earned runs on one hit in 3.2 innings while walking and striking out a pair.
Zambrano last pitched in the big leagues for the Marlins in 2012, going 7-10 with a 4.49 ERA across 132.1 innings of work. Starting 20 games and coming into 15 games in relief, Zambrano averaged 6.46 strikeouts and 5.1 walks per nine innings.
Prior to his one-year stint in Miami, Zambrano spent his entire career with the Cubs.
In 11 seasons, he went 125-81 with a 3.60 ERA, finishing in the top five of the NL Cy Young Award voting three times. He was also known as quite the hitter, slugging 24 home runs in his big league career and winning a trio of Silver Slugger awards.
The biggest problem throughout Zambrano’s time in Major League Baseball was always his anger. He had a couple of outbursts in the dugout with his own teammates and was convinced to go to anger management.
He told Muskat about the counseling (h/t NBC Sports):
The problem I have to solve is when I get upset on the field. I think my problem is after I cross those lines. When somebody makes an error or I make an error, that’s my problem. I have to focus on that this year. Off the field, I consider myself a nice guy and people can talk about that. I don’t like to talk about myself. I got approval from the psychologists that I can be by myself. It did work, and believe me, that was an experience that I can take through the years.”
It’s up for debate as to how many Gatorade coolers Zambrano might destroy with the Ducks, and he’ll be preventing some other former major leaguers from getting something to drink if he does go back to his old ways.
As Chris Cotillo of CLNS Radio tweeted, the Ducks also have Dontrelle Willis and Vladimir Guerrero on their roster.
This season, Willis is 1-1 in three starts, having allowed seven earned runs through 15.1 innings of work while striking out seven and walking nine. Guerrero, on the other hand, has yet to report because of a personal matter at home, according to an interview conducted by Zach Links of MLB Trade Rumors with Long Island president and general manager Michael Pfaff.
Will Carlos Zambrano be back in Major League Baseball?
While Pfaff didn’t say much about Guerrero’s intentions of reporting this season, he did talk about why so many players come to the Atlantic League.
“I think the [Atlantic League] in general has proven of the course of its 15-year history that it is the league of choice for players that are interested in continuing their professional careers at a high level and getting back to major league organizations,” said Pfaff.
Zambrano will certainly do his best to earn himself a contract either at some point this season or next winter when he’ll be 32 years old.
If he pitches relatively well and shows MLB teams that his anger issues are a thing of the past, who knows where he could eventually wind up.
For now, though, he’s a Duck.