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It is rare that Chicago Cubs trade rumors pop up and dissolve all within the span of a couple hours, but that’s what happened late yesterday regarding right fielder Milton Bradley.

For a few minutes Saturday, a rumor had sprouted and grown that the Cubs were going to trade outfielder Milton Bradley to the Detroit Tigers.

Apparently, the rumor somehow began with White Sox TV analyst Steve Stone and was spread by WGN radio’s David Kaplan on a Web site. Cubs people said no one ever checked with them before the rumor was posted.

The Cubs said they have never talked about trading Bradley to any team. A plugged-in person in Detroit also said there was nothing to the rumor. Bradley, who hit a pinch homer in Saturday’s 5-3 win over Detroit, has struggled for much of the year at the plate. He’s in the first season of a three-year, $30 million contract. Daily Herald.

It’s probably true that the Tigers and Cubs never spoke about Bradley. But at the same time, these kind of things rarely if ever sprout up completely out of nowhere, especially when professionals like Dave Kaplan and Steve Stone are involved.

The most logical conclusion is that there has been chatter at some low level on the part of some AL teams about whether or not Bradley is available, and whether it would be worth pursuing. As things stand, however, the Cubs would have no interest in simply dumping Bradley and eating a chunk of his contract. They still believe he can be an integral part of a playoff run (or two, or three).

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