More Phillies - Jonathan Pettibone: Shiny New Toy
Zambrano, 31, came to a similar agreement a few weeks ago with Long Island Ducks, an independent club in the Atlantic League, but didn't actually sign the contract. As such, Big Z was able to keep looking for a deal with an MLB club and never took the field for the Ducks.
Zambrano gives an injury-plagued Phillies rotation some much-needed depth. With Roy Halladay out for at least the next three months, and southpaw John Lannan sidelined indefinitely, Philadelphia was left to choose between a bunch of young guys for the final rotation spot, many of whom the club apparently doesn't feel are ready for the show.
A big part of the Miami Marlins' inaugural debacle in 2012, Zambrano had no luck in free agency over the winter or during the spring. The right-hander's numbers have not been great the last two seasons -- 4.66 ERA, 6.3 K/9, 4.2 BB/9 in 278 IP -- but it's likely that most of the hesitancy in negotiating with him stemmed from his terrible reputation in the clubhouse.
Zambrano has always been a guy who wears his heart on his sleeve, and that has come back to bite him on several occasions throughout his career. Over the years, the veteran has taken his on-the-field frustrations out on teammates, coaches, umpires, and water coolers, always creating bad blood and often leading to suspension.
A member of the Chicago Cubs for the first 12 seasons of his career, the team essentially gave him away with $18 million remaining on his contract after 2011 because they didn't want to deal with him anymore. The end of his Cubs tenure ended rather ignominiously, as the right-hander was handed a 30-game team suspension for his behavior following a particularly bad start in mid-August.
If nothing else, it should be interesting to see how things play out if he's able to make it up to Philadelphia.