The Phillies have agreed to terms on a minor league contract with pitcher Carlos Zambrano. The former Chicago Cubs ace will report to Clearwater for extended spring training later this week.
Zambrano spent the first 11 years of his career at Wrigley Field, and developed a reputation as one of the game's best - and most flamboyant - starters. He helped the Cubs readch the playoffs in 2003, 2007 and 2008. He also made the All-Star game three times between 2004 and 2008.
The Venezuelan right-hander recorded double digits in wins every year from 2003 through 2008, including 18 in 2007 and 16 in 2006 and 2004. But after recording a 3.33 earned run average in 2010, his form dipped drastically in 2011. Zambrano's ERA jumped to 4.82 in 2011, and the Cubs traded him to the Miami Marlins in January of 2012.
Zambrano also has been a pretty good hitter as pitchers go - perhaps in part because of his 6-foot-4, 275-pound frame. He has a .636 career OPS in 744 plate appearances, including 24 home runs and 71 RBI.
But just as his pitching form has declined in recent times, so has his hitting. After recording a .848 OPS in 44 plate appearances in 2011, he recorded a .441 OPS in 36 plate appearances in 2012.
Zambrano became a free agent after last season. He did not have a club this year until now.