Carlos Zambrano's Progress Sign of Philadelphia Phillies' Regress

By Sean O'Brien
Philadelphia Phillies Carlos Zambrano
Steve Mitchell–USA TODAY Sports

The Miami Marlins didn’t want Carlos Zambrano back after last season. Think about that Philadelphia Phillies‘ fans. Now that you have it’s easy to understand, but not to accept, where this team stands in 2013.

The fall of 2008 certainly seems like a long time ago. Those World Series’ days will never be diminished by anything that has, or will, transpire at any future point. But, time offers renewed appreciation and perspective.

Honestly looking at current realities reminds me of the many years of malaise that this franchise moved through from the mid-1980s through 1992 and from the mid-1990s through the early 2000s. It will take a series of very smart decisions to right this red pinstriped ship in both the short-term and in the long-term.

Zambrano spent 12 fairly good seasons with the Chicago Cubs. But, his temper eventually overshadowed his 125-81 record, three fifth place finishes in the National League Cy Young Award voting and three All-Star appearances.

According to Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia, the soon-to-be 32-year-old (June 1) threw 44 pitches in extended spring training on May 18.

Soon, ‘El Toro’ (‘The Bull’, for those who have forgotten their high school Spanish classes, or who never watched a certain 1970s’ episode of Columbo) will try to make his way through the minor league system. The progress of Zambrano’s potential rise should be accompanied by an inverse diagram of the Phillies’ playoff chances.

While this modern day ‘Bull’ (with the real Philles’ ‘Bull’ always being Greg Luzinski) might prove to be a decent pinch-hitter, having hit an amazing 24 big league home runs in his career, he’s hardly a replacement for Roy Halladay.

Depending upon the progress of John Lannan, it’s possible that Zambrano could eventually be seen in the bullpen. But, whether he can be effective in whatever role is truly a side issue.

Zambrano’s mere presence within the organization speaks of the desperation that has replaced recent major league domination by Philadelphia’s once-mighty baseball team.

Follow Sean on Twitter @SeanyOB, Facebook, Google+ and read his blog Insight.

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