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One of the many pieces the Chicago Cubs would no doubt like to move is currently-restricted pitcher Carlos Zambrano. Still away from the team while he receives anger management treatment and evaluation, Zambrano would likely welcome a trade – despite his no-trade clause – as he’s going to be stuck in the bullpen upon his return to the Cubs. But could the Cubs actually manage to trade him?

Even if Zambrano were willing to waive his no-trade clause, the remaining $40 million-plus left on a contract that runs through 2012 is the obvious hurdle.

But the closer we get to the July 31 non-waiver deadline — and depending on how tough it is to get Cliff Lee from Seattle for contenders in need — Zambrano’s potential market could widen at least modestly.

The White Sox suddenly are down a starting pitcher, in the thick of a division race. And the Cubs’ opponent this weekend, the Los Angeles Dodgers, are seeking a starter and have been looking hard at Houston’s Roy Oswalt.

Dodgers manager Joe Torre sidestepped a question about potential interest in Zambrano.

”That’s tampering,” Torre said, adding, ”It’s sad what this kid must be going through. That’s all I can say. It’s nice to help your team, but I hate to see … I’m glad that people are dealing with stuff. It’s not easy.” CHICAGO SUN-TIMES.

The White Sox possibility is a legitimate one. Setting aside the new need – due to the Jake Peavy injury – there are two other reasons for optimism regarding a Zambrano-White Sox trade. First, Zambrano likes Chicago, and getting him to waive his no-trade clause to go across town would be a cinch. Second, Ozzie Guillen likes Zambrano. Better still, he could probably handle Zambrano.

Still, the question is whether Kenny Williams – like it or lump it, the guy is a shrewd GM – would take on a risk like Zambrano.

Otherwise, it remains to be seen whether teams would actually view Zambrano is a worthwhile option to add to their rotation as they make a run at the playoffs. Sure, he’s been great as recently as a year ago, but since mid-season last year, few have been worse or more inconsistent. And that’s before you even consider the crazy factor. I have a hard time envisioning a team considering Zambrano a legitimate back-up plan to acquiring Cliff Lee – at least not while Ted Lilly is also available.

Regardless, set your expectations low: the Cubs will receive salary relief or a couple decent prospects for Zambrano, but not both.

  • Tanner

    Zambrano and Lilly to the Sox.

    • bric

      Dumping Z’s salary and issues is fine but throwing in Lilly’s seems a bit high unless we get at least one quality prospect. Who’d you have in mind?

      • Tanner

        I really wouldn’t care. I thin they should as much money as they can and go after Cliff Lee. He is a true ace.

        • bric

          I see what you’re saying but if the choice is to throw in your best tradable player just to dump a headcase I’d rather keep Lilly and just find a way to get Zambrano committed.

          • tanner

            I am looking at it this way, Lilly is a FA at the end of the year, and I HOPE TO GOD the Cubs go after Lee and let Lilly go, so you might as well get ANYTHING from him. Do you think they could get something good for him?

            • Ace

              The Cubs can definitely get a nice prospect or two for Lilly, particularly if they eat some of his remaining salary.

  • Jeff

    What could we even get out of the Sox? I doubt they are wanting to take on a bunch of salary or give us any top prospects for him. At this point is it just about getting rid of him for the Cubs?

  • TOM COTNER

    YOU GUYS REALLY NEED TO RETHINK

  • TOM COTNER

    YOU GUYS REALLY NEED TO RETHINK your positions. 1st, we will all agree that ZAMBRANO is MLB’s biggest ALBATROSS. 2ndly, even though LILLY is still a fairly good pitcher, what value does he present to the CUBS, and especially since his contract expires after the 2010 season ??? It’s clear the CUBS don’t hit for him, which raises the demotion for him, each time he gives up a gopher ball; in other words, a lame duck; sort of. Now we will also agree that the CUBS season has been over for some time already. So in the best interest of performing a salary dump, yet getting something of value in return for the future, I would submit that the CUBS send ZAMBRANO plus LILLY to the WHITESOX, since they are on track and in line to win; in exchange for JAKE PEAVY, with the CUBS taking on his salary and the SOX becoming responsible for the salries of both ZAMBRANO and LILLY. LET’S FACE IT !!! JAKE PEAVY is the pitcher who the CUBS were supposed to acquire all along, however since we unfortunately have a BRAIN DEAD G.M. in JIM HENDRY, who will forever go down for his acquisition of MILTON BRADLEY, instead of ADAM, DUNN, we were NEVER quite able to set ourselves up for yet another run at the N.L. pennant and the elusive W.S. CHAMPION. Acquiring JAKE PEAVY now for the 2011 season will give the CUBS their #1 ACE for a few years to come. And once we rid ourselves of the DOPE IN THE DUGOUT, and the DOPE IN THE FRONT OFFICE, then we can set our sights on the INVISIBLE BLIND MOUSE of an owner that we also unfortunately have, in exchange for the guy who should have been the owner all along; MARK CUBAN !!!

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