No, the two things aren’t connected directly.
Nor can they be.
While I understand the attempts to find a landing spot for Carlos Zambrano so: A) the Cubs can get rid of him and his contract; and B) they’d get something back rather than simply paying him to leave, logic says that it’s pointless to give up anything short of clearing multiple millions in exchange for Zambrano—something that’s not going to happen.
Both Jayson Stark and Tim Dierkes put forth scenarios toward this end.
On paper, the suggestions like Carlos Lee, Barry Zito, A.J. Burnett, Adam Dunn, all make some form of sense, but if I was the trading team, I’d look at Zambrano and say, “why am I giving up anything for this guy when the Cubs are simply gonna release him and I can try him for nothing if I think he can help?”
I was of the opinion that Zambrano might be straightened out with a solid pitching coach and strong-handed manager for a more stable, successful organization than the Cubs. But I no longer feel that way. Regardless of his talent, Zambrano is a person who’s destined to be “what might have been” because he cannot control himself.
This has happened under a variety of managers—Dusty Baker, Lou Piniella, Mike Quade; with Cubs teams that have been contenders and cellar-dwellers; in disputes with umpires, teammates, coaches and opponents.
He’s a habitual offender.
The Cubs know this. The biggest obstacle in finding a taker for him is that everyone else knows it too, making a trade highly, highly unlikely no matter who’d be coming back.