When the Miami Marlins traded for Carlos Zambrano the other day, the immediate reaction from around the baseball world didn't focus on who won or lost the trade: everyone seemed much more interested by the collection of personalities that will be bubbling down in the Miami clubhouse this season. Ozzie Guillen, Logan Morrison, Hanley Ramirez, and now Carlos Zambrano -- none of these Marlins has a history of being, umm, soft-spoken. They are quickly resembling a circus more so than a baseball team, and it seems nobody can take their eyes off them.
...Which may be exactly what owner Jeff Loria is hoping for. If fans can't take their eyes away from the Marlins this season -- even if that's more for off-the-field reasons than on-the-field -- that's still money in the pocket, and it's a step toward building a fan base. And if the Marlins can actually win and be competitive this upcoming season, that'd only help matters.
Carlos Zambrano is a step in that direction. He provides the Marlins with a decent middle of the rotation option, and as he's only 31 years old, he still has the potential to re-find his past success and perform like an ace. After all, he is only one year removed from posting a 3.33 ERA and 3.71 FIP over 20 starts.
And if there's one manager in baseball that can harness Zambrano's potential, it's likely to be Ozzie Guillen:
Guillen doesn't see Zambrano's pattern of temper tantrums as a problem. Back then, he said: "I like competition, I like him breaking Gatorade coolers. To me, when he kicked the umpire out of the game, that was the funniest thing this year. Awesome." (Juan Rodriguez, Sun Sentinel)
"I love, love the way he handles himself on the field," Guillen said. "Many people say he's crazy, he's out of his mind. I love that, I like that attitude. I don't want people to fall asleep on the stinking mound." (Juan Rodriguez, Sun Sentinel)
Both Zambrano and Guillen love to let their emotion show, and Guillen has been a mentor and confidant for Zambrano for a number of years already. Based on all this, putting the two of them together on the same team seems like an excellent idea, and it could help the Marlins out on the field. Only time will tell, but I know I'll certainly be watching.
For more on the Zambrano trade, drop by SB Nation's blog on the Marlins, Fish Stripes.