The Chicago Cubs want to trade Milton Bradley. The Chicago Cubs want Curtis Granderson. The Detroit Tigers are shopping Curtis Granderson. These are the things that we know, and most other bets are off. But we might know more very soon.

The Tigers continue to have trade talks involving Edwin Jackson and Granderson, with both situations likely to come to a conclusion at the winter meetings in Indianapolis. The Cubs are serious about Granderson but have made it known they won’t give up Carlos Marmol or Starlin Castro. The Tigers instead could ask for right-hander Andrew Cashner and third baseman Josh Vitters.

The news about Marmol/Castro being off limits is not new, nor is the possible inclusion of other top prospects like Vitters or Cashner.

But the suggestion that the Tigers want to have all things Granderson wrapped up by the Winter Meetings – that’s next week, beginning Monday, December 7 – has a great deal of meaning for the Chicago Cubs.

First, and most plainly, it would mean that the Cubs must make a seriously play for Granderson in the next week and a half. They must decide how much they are willing to give up to get the center fielder.

But secondly, and underlying the Cubs’ Granderson decision, is the decision about Milton Bradley. If the Cubs do not have Milton Bradley moved before the Tigers are ready to move Curtis Granderson, it could cause serious problems for the Cubs. If Bradley is still a Cub when the Tigers come a-calling, saying that they’ve got an offer from X team that they’re ready to accept unless the Cubs beat it, what are the Cubs to do?

If they beat the offer, and move on Granderson, they risk being stuck with both Granderson and Bradley – something that we’ve been told is financially impossible. Further, trying to trade Bradley after acquiring Granderson would be a nightmare: can you imaging the feet-to-fire-holding when other teams know the Cubs have four expensive outfielders, and desperately want to move one of them?

If they pass at that time, because they need to first move Bradley, the Tigers could say forget you, and accept the other offer.

Either way, if Milton Bradley is still a Chicago Cub by the time the Winter Meetings are winding down, it could mean bad things when it comes to acquiring Curtis Granderson. Well, that is if the above-suggestion from Phil Rogers at the Tribune on the timing of a Granderson trade is correct.

And as much as we want resolution, maybe we should hope that it’s not.

  • Mark

    It also leaves one less place for Jake Fox to get at-bats. He might not be much of a fielder, but the guy can rake and needs to get 400 or so at-bats somehow.

    • Ace

      I’m still not convinced Fox has a ML bat (let alone glove), given his slide once the league saw him more, and once he started playing more regularly. I could be convinced, but not yet.

  • juniorbors

    I would like to see fox moved to the American league in this proposed trade. I think it is there where he would excel by getting the needed at bats while batting dh and playing the field. He will not get the at bats with the cubs team as currently constructed.

    • Ace

      That would be swell, depending on how the relevant AL team values Fox. Not everyone is convinced that he’s got a ML bat.

  • Brian

    Isn’t the 3rd year of Bradley’s contract just an option? Wouldn’t that mean the cubs could decline the last, and most expensive, year of the contract and then ship him off somewhere… it just seems that a one year contract at maybe 5-7 mil would help involve more teams in to free up room

    • jstraw

      No. He appeared in the requisite 75 games and the third year was triggered. We owe him all the money.

      • Ace

        Indeed. The third year as an “option,” was merely protection from a catastrophic injury to Bradley in the 2009 season. Unfortunately, catastrophic doucheyness was not considered.