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It was rumored yesterday that the New York Yankees might turn to guys like Carlos Zambrano in the wake of being rebuffed by Cliff Lee, and indeed, more sources are coming forward saying that the Yankees are indeed considering talking to the Cubs about Zambrano. The New York Daily News goes so far as to suggest that Yankees GM Brian Cashman is “likely” to pursue Zambrano.

From the Cubs’ end of things, you’ve got to believe they would like to move Zambrano if given the chance. He’s set to earn more than $18 million each of the next two years, and, outside of a fantastic stretch over the last two months last season, he’s been notoriously unreliable for years. If the Yankees offered to take on all or almost all of Zambrano’s remaining deal, Gordon Wittenmyer calls the Cubs’ decision to trade Zambrano a no-brainer.

But of course, this is all academic if Zambrano doesn’t want to go anywhere. He’s got full no-trade rights (both via his contract and recently-triggered 10-5 rights), and since the end of the 2010 season, he’s consistently indicated he will not waive his no-trade rights.

HOWEVA, a Major League source indicates that Cashman has asked the Cubs for permission to talk to Zambrano about waiving the no-trade, in the event that a trade agreement is reached (note that this is not to say that the Yankees and Cubs are actively engaged in trade discussions – this is merely a just-in-case ask). The Cubs wouldn’t actually approach Zambrano about waiving his no-trade until they had a trade in place. You keep reading about how Z has not agreed to waive his no-trade – well, sure, there’s no trade in place for which he would need to waive those rights. It’s not as if the Cubs are planning to approach Z generally about waiving his rights – if they seek to move him, it will be a specific deal to a specific team, and they will then delicately approach Zambrano about it.

Under that scenario, with Cashman in his ear, would Zambrano agree to be traded to New York? I’m not sure that anyone really knows the answer to that right now, other than Zambrano. And even he might change his mind day-to-day.

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