Royals open to Carlos Zambrano deal

If the Chicago Cubs are willing to eat Carlos Zambrano's contract, they might have one taker.

Kansas City Royals general manager Dayton Moore appeared on 610 Radio in Kansas City on Monday and was asked if he would be interested in Zambrano if the Cubs were willing to give him away.

"We would have to be interested. You would have to explore it because that's what you should do. You should listen," Moore said. "You should explore every opportunity. Carlos Zambrano is a heckuva competitor. Carlos Zambrano has had a lot of success in the major leagues."

On Tuesday, Moore clarified his remarks some, telling MLB.com that he shouldn't have commented on a player under contract to another team.

"It's our job as a baseball operations department to listen and explore every potential opportunity that would improve our team," Moore said Tuesday. "We spend countless hours doing so and we invite everybody's opinion as to how it pertains to how we could improve our team. And if one of our people brought up Carlos Zambrano, I would listen and ask questions about why they believe that. That's all that was and I responded in that spirit."

Zambrano, who is pitching in the Venezuelan Winter League, hasn't appeared with the Cubs since Aug. 12 when he was ejected from a game for throwing at the Braves' Chipper Jones. Zambrano cleaned out his locker and said he was retiring, but his agent later said he didn't mean it. The Cubs put him on the disqualified list, though, and chairman Tom Ricketts said he couldn't see the volatile right-hander pitching for the team again. The problem is that Zambrano is owed $18 million next season.

Cubs fans know well that the August incident wasn't Zambrano's first. Over the years he has gotten into a brawl with catcher Michael Barrett and had to be separated from first baseman Derrek Lee, among other outbursts.

Moore was asked Monday if he would be scared off by the pitcher's antics?

"Carlos Zambrano is actually a very pleasant, easy going, classy person off the field, and sometimes, as with all of us, the competitiveness takes over and brings out qualities in us that we are not proud of," Moore said. "Obviously the Cubs grew tired of some of his outbursts, but I believe in our coaching staff, and we'll always take a chance and a risk on certain players. We'll just see how that particular situation unfolds."

Moore understands that Zambrano has a say in where he goes, but he has a say over the money the Royals would take on, and he didn't sound like he would absorb much, if any.

"He has a no trade clause for 29 other clubs so he is going to have to be comfortable wherever he goes, and there is a lot of money attached to his deal," Moore said Monday. "There is a vesting option that is a part of that I think worth $18 or 19 million going forward. We certainly wouldn't want to put ourselves in a position where we have to honor a contract of that nature."