A lot of ink has been spilled and keyboards pounded over the expenditures that the Miami Marlins have taken on (or sought to take on this off season), after crying poor for just long enough to take advantage or MLB’s revenue sharing and the stupidity of a local government who were all too willing to approve a publicly funded stadium.
However, I think that there’s another story that’s going to be worth following after the Marlins yesterday acquired Carlos Zambrano and enough cash to cover 86% of his salary next year from the Chicago Cubs in exchange for Chris Volstad.
After speaking out strongly against, well, speaking out strongly last season, the Marlins front office acquired the most outspoken figure in the game to manage the team. They then followed this up with the high profile signing of Jose Reyes, which pushed the best player on their roster from the position with which he claims to be most comfortable. Not finished challenging the gods of clubhouse chemistry, they then moved to acquire Zambrano, a player whose reputation for clashing with teammates precedes him.
The deal itself, from purely a baseball perspective, is one that likely works out for both teams. Every other previous season of his career suggests that Zambrano is a better pitcher than what he showed last year, and moving to a bigger park in Miami is bound to help him improve on last season’s horrible numbers. The Marlins only have to pay $2.5 million of Zambrano’s $18 million salary to see how that likelihood plays out.
For the Cubs, they get to swap one of their problems from last season for a more reliable though less flashy, middle to back of the rotation starter (depending on what pundit you choose to believe) who, at only 25 years old, will be under team control until after 2014. In this, Volstad, who will likely earn as much as the Marlins will pay Zambrano in 2012, represents a good haul for something that Theo Epstein and the Cubs are likely pleased to be rid of.
The reasons for that are why it’s becoming such an interesting situation in Miami. Typically, on this blog, we tend to ignore buzz words like “clubhouse chemistry” primarily because they’re the fancy of writers who don’t know what they’re talking about, but also because no one writing on this blog has experience in psychology. However, I don’t feel as though my inexperience in these matters completely prevents me from recognizing a potentially volatile situation based on the history of the roster and management in Miami.
As owner Jeffrey Loria tightens his grip on the team’s front office, he continues to show little regard for issues that he seemed to care a whole lot about this past season. It’s understandable why certain big named writers might want a season’s worth of tickets to the potential circus in Miami.