It would be inappropriate to call the Phillies' minor league deal with Carlos Zambrano a sign of desperation. That will come when Charlie Manuel gives serious conisderation to batting him somewhere other than ninth. In the meantime, the immediate reaction to Zambrano's deal should be a lot like the one the Phillies gave to Delmon Young: Hell, why not? At the very least, the 32-year-old righthander offers experienced depth at a position where the only current backups are a gaggle of youngsters at Triple-A. Lost in the hurricane of controversy that has followed him for the last several seasons is the fact that Zambrano has actually managed to post a 4.24 ERA in 95 appearances since 2010, striking out an average of 6.9 batters per nine innings and allowing 0.8 home runs per nine and 4.4 walks per nine. He has pitched in the bullpen as well as the rotation. And while the Phillies surely did not sign him to play center field, in 744 career plate appearances he has posted a .636 OPS and 24 home runs, both of which are higher than Ben Revere's career marks.
Zambrano started 20 games for the Marlins in 2012 and appeared in 15 out of the bullpen, finishing with a 4.49 ERA, 6.5 K/9, 5.1 BB/9 and 0.6 HR/9. In 12 major league seasons, all but one of them with the Cubs, he is 132-91 with a 3.66 ERA, 7.5 K/9, 4.1 BB/9 and 0.7 HR/9.