Epstein, Zambrano Touch Base

Carlos Zambrano is in no hurry to part ways with the Cubs, and by the pitcher's account the feeling is mutual. Zambrano told Carlos Alberto Zambrano at the Venezuelan newspaper Lider en Deportes (link in Spanish) that he received a "friendly" call from new team president Theo Epstein on Tuesday, the first contact between the two. According to Zambrano, the conversation started with introductions and ended with Epstein promising to call him at a later date to set up a personal meeting stateside.

"We talked for a while. Now I'm waiting for him to tell me when we'll meet," Zambrano said. "It might be after the winter meetings that the GMs have, which is in Milwaukee this year."

Zambrano had a rough start to his winter league sojourn last week, lasting only 2 2/3 innings for the reigning league champion Anzoátegui Caribes. And while the 30-year-old sounded eager to build a positive relationship with the new Cubs brass, he is not planning to step away from his duties in Venezuela to do so. 

"When I go to talk to the GM it will be a short trip. For example, supposing that I pitch on a Saturday, I'd leave that same night. We'd talk Sunday or Monday, and by Tuesday, I'd be on my way back to Venezuela. I'm not going for a week or even five days. It'll be quick-to meet each other. Talk in person. That's very important. I'd like to build a relationship from scratch with the new GM. Erase everything and start over."

The Marlins and Royals have been connected to Zambrano so far this offseason, but Royals GM Dayton Moore insisted on Monday that the team's interest was mostly theoretical.

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