It’s been rumored for weeks that the Chicago Cubs wouldn’t mind unloading Carlos Zambrano and Alfonso Soriano (among others), but that each player’s contract is all but trade-prohibitive. Zambrano is owed about $7 million the rest of this year, and then $18 million next year. Soriano is owed about $7 million the rest of this year, and then $18 million over the next three years (every time I say that, it gives me chills).
But lately there has been an indication that the Cubs are willing to eat quite a bit of those massive salaries to make moves happen. And now you can throw Jon Heyman onto the list of folks who’ve heard the same.
Heyman is reporting that the Cubs are “offering to pay big bucks to trade Zambrano or Soriano.” This suggests that the Cubs are no longer looking to get much of a return for the pair – instead, they just want to be rid of them. Of course, Heyman cautions that a rival executive says the Cubs would have to pay 95% of the remaining dollars on those deals to find a taker.
I can’t help but think that part is hyperbole. And, in Zambrano’s case, extreme hyperbole. If the Cubs ate 95% of the roughly $25 million owed to Zambrano through next year, the receiving team would be getting him for a whopping $1.25 million through 2012, or, just a hair over the ML minimum. Let’s not be ridiculous. If the Cubs ate half of the money remaining on Zambrano’s deal, they’d find a taker. They might not get much in return, but they’d find a taker.
In Soriano’s case, the number is a little over $3 million total for this, and the next three seasons. Again, that’s absurd. Soriano’s value to an American League team as a DH is admittedly questionable, but I’m thinking that, if the Cubs were willing to eat upwards of $50 million, they’d find a taker. That would make him a $3 million player annually, which is more than fair.
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UPDATE (1:45pm) – Buster Olney says that, in particular, the Cubs are trying to “nudge” the Yankees into taking Carlos Zambrano, offering the aforementioned “big bucks” to complete the deal.