Sure, the offseason isn’t here yet, but it’s never too early for crazy Chicago Cubs rumors. And that is part of our credo here at Bleacher Nation: we will bring you every Cubs rumor we hear, no matter how … out there.
This one is probably best filed in the “out there” category. But still, interesting.
The Mets and Cubs have a lot in common. They have the top two payrolls in the NL, and were extreme underachievers this season. Can they help each other?
Milton Bradley was suspended by the Cubs for the rest of the season for, well, being Milton Bradley, which is to say terminally unhappy and an endless distraction. The Cubs badly want to get out of the two years at $21 million left on his contract.
If you were the Mets would you trade Oliver Perez (two years at $24 million left after this season) for Bradley? Or would you accept Bradley as part of a trade if it lowered the cost in prospects for Carlos Zambrano, potentially the No. 2 starter the Mets need so badly. I wonder if there is a way to expand this into an all-problem deal. The Cubs, for example, have said they will not bat Alfonso Soriano leadoff moving forward and they could use a second baseman. Luis Castillo and his two years at $12 million left anyone? New York Post Hardball.
The mere fact that there are fan bases out there that might consider being interested in Milton Bradley – at whatever cost – is exciting.
A couple quick, arguably tangential things up front:
1) Is it really even conceivable that the Cubs could move Bradley and Zambrano in one deal? That’s nearly $30 million in payroll for just 2010.
2) Taking bad contracts in return for moving guys like Bradley is a given. But the Cubs would absolutely not have to take a bad contract in order to move Carlos Zambrano. And I don’t think Joel Sherman, who wrote that blurb, disagrees. He just suggests that the Mets could accept Bradley if it meant they get Zambrano at a reduced cost. Interesting to be sure.
The thrust of this rumor, however, is the Milton Bradley for Oliver Perez swap. I doubt many Cubs fans would have too much interest in Perez, but assuming the Cubs let Rich Harden walk in free agency, it is not inconceivable that they could be in the market to add a pitcher externally instead of allowing a young starter to win the open spot in the rotation. The Bradley and Perez contracts are a near match, but how about the performance? Perez has been pitching for seven years, but has been good for just two of them. Bradley, on the other hand, has been good almost every year he’s played.
So is the value of unloading Bradley’s baggage worth the risk that Perez is the mediocre/unpredictable pitcher that he appears to be?
One thing is for sure: when it comes to dealing Bradley, the Cubs will not be able to be choosers.