Amid a disappointing season - in part due to injuries in their starting rotation - the Phillies have signed embattled veteran Carlos Zambrano to a minor league deal. The 31-year-old former ace will report to extended spring training this week, according to CSNphilly.com, before potentially joining the big league club as their fifth starter.
Zambrano gives the Phillies organization some much-needed pitching depth after seeing both Roy Halladay and John Lannan go down with injuries. Halladay is recovering from shoulder surgery and Lannan is out with a strained quadriceps tendon.
The Phillies hope Zambrano can be more like his old self than the one we've seen over the last two years. Zambrano held a 3.33 ERA in 2010 with the Cubs, but saw that number balloon to 4.82 in 2011. He continued to have trouble last season as a member of the Miami Marlins, going 7-10 with a 4.49 ERA in 35 games.
Zambrano was once known as one of the game's best pitchers, earning as much as $19 million per year as part of a five-year deal he signed with Chicago in 2007. But while his production has slipped, so has his behavior off the field and in the dugout. Zambrano has developed a reputation for blowing up at umpires, managers, and opposing players.
If the Phillies can get an effective Zambrano in their rotation, it could help them get back into the division race. Regardless, he is another potential character to toss into the Nats and Phillies rivalry.