Shortly after saying he was skeptical Carlos Zambrano could change, Theo Epstein has dealt the embattled pitcher to the Miami Marlins in exchange for pitcher Chris Volstad (per ESPN Chicago via Twitter). The Cubs had to pay a significant part of Zambrano's salary for the deal to happen -- $15M of the total $18M that he was owed for 2012.
I wrote about Volstad as a possible acquisition back in November when he was a non-tender candidate and he's been mentioned frequently on this site since then.
Volstad was the former #1 prospect of the Marlins but has quite lived up to expectations. He hasn't been terrible, but he's been more of a back of the rotation type starter than the #3 type starter he was projected to be at that time. He has a career ERA of 4.34 with roughly 6 strikeouts and 3 walks per 9 innings. Last year he was 5-13 with a 4.89 ERA, although he had an xFIP of just 3.64. Here's an interesting analysis by Harry Pavlidis of Cubs F/X. Perhaps the Cubs think a change of scenery will bring out his potential. I expect him to fit somewhere in the 2012 Cubs rotation along with Ryan Dempster, Travis Wood, and possibly Matt Garza.
Zambrano waived his no-trade clause as it was clear he was no longer a fit under the new regime, but also because it will allow him to play under fellow Venezuelan Ozzie Guillen. While Zambrano will probably be remembered for his blow-ups, we should remember that he was a very good pitcher for the Cubs since making his debut in 2001. He was an integral part of three playoff rotations, pitched the first Cubs no-hitter in over 30 years, and had 125 wins with a 3.60 ERA while striking out 1542 batters.
Zambrano, however, clearly isn't the same pitcher he was earlier in his career. While he still has good velocity, his fastball isn't the feared pitch it once was and he has become more dependent on his secondary pitches. It's difficult to consider him anything but a bottom of the rotation pitcher at this point in his career and that is a role that the Cubs would prefer to fill with younger, less expensive pitchers.
Zambrano returned to pitch in the Venezuelan League this winter where he fared pretty well posting a 3.29 ERA, perhaps convincing Marlins scouts that he can pitch like the old Carlos with a change of scenery.