Future Unknown For Cubs's Zambrano, Ramirez

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New Chicago Cubs general manager Theo Epstein has met with embattled pitcher Carlos Zambrano's agent, and Epstein called the meeting enlightening, according to a report on the team's website.

Zambrano left the Cubs on bad terms last season, leaving the clubhouse and declaring that he was retiring after an August start. Now, however, Epstein has said that he is interested in speaking with the pitcher himself.

"Now it's just a matter of processing the information, putting it together, following up directly with Carlos and seeing what's best for the Cubs," Epstein said. "That's what's most important."

Zambrano is still under contract with the Cubs, but third baseman Aramis Ramirez will become a free agent if he decides not to pick up his half of a mutual option. The Cubs have picked up their half, but, given the way Epstein speaks about Ramirez, it seems as if Chicago expects to replace the two-time all star.

"He had a terrific career with the Cubs while he was here," Epstein said. "We certainly wish him well in the future. I wouldn't rule anything out, but given his position as the top free-agent third baseman, it's certainly a likelihood that another team will [offer] him a contract that appeals to him and we'll be looking for different solutions."