Sources: Big Z headed to Miami

The Marlins, seeking to make another offseason splash, are close to acquiring Cubs right-hander Carlos Zambrano, according to major-league sources.

Big Z is headed to Miami.

The Marlins, seeking to make another offseason splash, acquired Cubs right-hander Carlos Zambrano, according to major-league sources.

The Cubs get right-hander Chris Volstad, the sources said.

Zambrano waived his no-trade clause for the Marlins and his $19.25 million vesting option for 2013, according to a major-league source. The option that would have become guaranteed if he finished in the top four of the National League Cy Young voting next season.

It was a longshot for Zambrano to achieve such an outcome - his highest Cy Young finish was fifth, which he accomplished three times. But if somehow Zambrano had a big season, he would want to use it as a platform for free agency, anyway.

Zambrano also settled his grievance with Cubs as part of the trade agreement, the source said, getting back 24 days salary from his 30-game suspension without pay last season - a sum of almost $2.4 million.

Finally, Zambrano's contract will now include a $100,000 bonus if he wins Comeback Player of the Year in 2012.

The Cubs likely will pay between $15 million and $16 million of the $18 million Zambrano is guaranteed in 2012 to purge Big Z, according to the sources. The Cubs placed the volatile pitcher on the restricted list in 2010 and disqualified list in ’11 due to issues with his temperament.

New Cubs president Theo Epstein said Wednesday on WGN Radio that Zambrano would need to make significant changes to remain with the team.

“The Carlos Zambrano of 2011 and years previous can’t fit into the culture that we have here,” Epstein said. “Change needs to happen and change will happen. Either he’ll change and buy in and fit into this culture — and I understand there are a lot of skeptics around about that, and I understand that, and frankly, I’m skeptical as well.”

Zambrano joins a franchise on the upswing after a winter spending spree resulted in the signings of All-Stars Jose Reyes, Mark Buehrle and Heath Bell.

Zambrano finished last year 9-7 with a 4.82 ERA. The Cubs expected more when he signed a $91.5 million deal over five seasons through 2012, including a $17,875,000 million salary last season and $18 million in 2012. As part of the trade, they'll likely pay much of his salary.

Volstad went 5-13 last year with an ERA of 4.89, and his career record is 32-39. He has given up 69 homers over the past three seasons, which could mean trouble for him at Wrigley Field.

Zambrano is 125-81 with a 3.60 ERA after breaking in with the Cubs in 2001, and he threw a no-hitter against the Astros. But he had difficulty controlling his temper.

In 2007, he got into a fight with teammate Michael Barrett, first in the dugout and then in the locker room. Barrett ended up with a bruise under his eye and a cut lip.

In 2009, he went on tirade against an umpire, throwing a baseball into the outfield, pretending to eject the umpire and slamming his glove against the dugout fence, a tantrum that led to a suspension.

In 2010, Zambrano was placed on the restricted list for six weeks and sent to anger management after a verbal altercation with then-teammate Derrek Lee.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Send feedback on our
new story page