This is probably a terrible idea but.... The Cubs are desperate to unload Carlos Zambrano, the Reds need an ace. While Zambrano has proven to be nothing more than a first prize asshole for a few years, he still is capable of greatness. While he has always been known as a bit of a headcase the worst incidents; punching his teammate, screaming at Derrek Lee, and last night have all occurred since Dusty Baker left Chicago.
Dusty Baker may not be the greatest manager for all situations, yet he seemed to have no major issues with Carlos Zambrano, which cannot be said about Lou Pinella or Mike Quade. I think Dusty's soft approach works well with Zambrano; Dusty probably realizes Z has a million dollar arm, a 10 cent head, and really should be left alone.
Zambrano needs a change of scenery, his teammates probably aren't pleased with him, and he has so much bad blood in Chicago he should go. He has one guaranteed year left on his contract and a vesting option that probably won't be activated (he would have to win the Cy Young Award next year). The problem is he is owed $18.5M next year. The Cubs would have to eat about half of that (which they may be willing to do if they really don't want him). Also they should expect very little in return, which they are probably willing to do as well.
This plan is filled with risk. If I were running the Reds this wouldn't be my plan A, B, or C. I wouldn't make this trade until about February if everything else failed. But they also say there is no such thing as a bad one year contract, which is what he would be for the Reds. If he still sucks and is less than a model citizen the Reds can cut him; with no long term damage. Also perhaps going to another team will give him a fresh start and light a fire under his ass to prove something.