Lunch Break: State of Philly sports
The Phillies on Wednesday agreed to a minor-league deal with veteran right-hander Carlos Zambrano. The 31-year-old will report to extended spring training later in the week.
The Phils needed starting pitching depth with Roy Halladay and John Lannan both on the DL. They’re going with a four-man rotation through May 21 because of off days, but will need a fifth starter at least twice more before Lannan returns. Outside of Tyler Cloyd, there weren’t many internal options to fill that role.
“We're just looking to add some starting pitching depth to the organization,” assistant general manager Scott Proefrock told reporters before Wednesday's game. “We're taking a chance. It's low-risk, hopefully high-reward.”
Proefrock said the Phillies saw Zambrano pitch as late as last Monday and have been trying since the offseason to add more starting pitching depth.
“We got positive feedback from everyone who has interacted with him recently,” Proefrock said. “We're just looking to add some depth and experience.”
Zambrano was 7-10 with a 4.49 ERA for the Marlins last season. He struggled mightily to throw strikes, walking 75 in 132 1/3 innings.
The last year Zambrano was effective was 2010, when he had a 3.33 ERA in 20 starts and 16 relief appearances.
In his prime, from 2003-08, Zambrano went 91-51 with a 3.39 ERA, 1.27 WHIP and 7.6 strikeouts per nine.
He can hit, too. Zambrano has a .238 career batting average and 24 home runs -- seven more than Juan Pierre, 10 more than Elvis Andrus, 11 more than Jamey Carroll and 24 more than Ben Revere.
John Finger contributed to this report.