According to a source with knowledge of the situation, longtime major league pitcher Carlos Zambrano has signed with the Long Island Ducks of the Atlantic League. Zambrano will join ex-major leaguers Dontrelle Willis, Vladimir Guerrero, Ramon Castro, Ben Broussard, and Josh Barfield on the Ducks' current roster.
After spending 2012 with the Miami Marlins, Zambrano became a free agent after the 2012 campaign and was unable to find a job with a major league organization. After visiting the Cubs recently and learning that they had no interest in bringing him back, Zambrano decided to look for unaffiliated opportunities in an attempt to provide a showcase for potentially interested major league teams. Because the Atlantic League is being heavily scouted by major league teams this season, success with Long Island may lead to a major league job for the 31-year old righty.
In twelve major league seasons with the Cubs (2001-2011) and Marlins (2012), Zambrano has posted a 132-91 career record and 3.66 ERA. He has finished fifth in National League Cy Young Award voting three times, and has appeared on three All-Star teams (2004, 2006, 2008). After being traded to the Marlins before last season, Zambrano struggled in his first season outside of Chicago, going 7-10 with a 4.49 ERA on an underachieving Marlins team. He was linked to the Royals this offseason, and also considered opportunities in Japan and Taiwan, but ultimately decided to stay in the US so that major league teams could take notice of his progress.
The Atlantic League, established in 1998, has become a popular landing spot for ex-major leaguers looking to re-establish themselves in comeback attempts. So far this season, four Atlantic League players--Josh Judy (Angels), Joe Mather (Reds), Tim Dillard (Brewers), and Johan Limonta (Padres)--have signed with major league organizations, and major league scouting has increased greatly throughout the league.
For the latest news and rumors, be sure to follow Chris Cotillo on Twitter @TradeDeadliner.