The Miami Marlins just gambled by spending $3 million on Carlos Zambrano when they traded Chris Volstad to the Cubs for the big right hander on Wednesday night. The Marlins are officially loaded now, and while they didn’t get Albert Pujols, they have enough talent on the roster that they could overtake an aging Phillies team in 2012. Zambrano may do well in the Latin community, keeping his butt on the team and his head in the game with fellow Venezuelan, manager Ozzie Guillen. It’s a huge risk given his “headcase” past, but he will be just 31 in June and he is a career 125-81 (.607) with a 3.60 career ERA. Zambrano may have had issues, but this deal makes all of the sense in the world, and I’m banking on Zambrano becoming relevant again.
With the addition of Zambrano, the Marlins now have Josh Johnson, Mark Buehrle, Ricky Nolasco, Anibal Sanchez and the “Big Z” in the rotation. If Johnson stays on the mound (just 37 starts the last two seasons combined), Buehrle continues being a consistent innings eating winner, Sanchez builds on his 202 K 2011 season, and Zambrano is a .500 pitcher, then they can afford for Nolasco to be the weakest link with his career 4.50 ERA. It’s a long season and a lot of changes to the roster, but with Logan Morrison and Mike Stanton slugging the speedy Jose Reyes around the bases, the Marlins shouldn’t be a surprise team in 2012, as they look like the team to beat now.