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.

Consider this your daily reminder: “like” Bleacher Nation on Facebook to keep up to date on these rumors.

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.

  • EQ

    yeah, Big Z for 1.25 mil?? everyone would line up for that.. shoot, the Royals would find that deal to be cheap! Many teams would take Big Z for 8-10 mil a year.

    • Doug Wood

      I am so sick n tired of watching Alfonso Soriano flail at breaking balls in the dirt that I don’t care if we didnt get ANYTHING back from any kind of trade! I cant possibly imagine ANY team that would want him! Seriously, he’s suppose to be a professional and he looks worse than a Little Leaguer thats never seen a curveball before!

  • Mike S

    Could the Cubs get a decent prospect back in return if they ate all that money??

  • Toosh

    Toronto is buying. Rasmus would have looked good on the Cubs. Hendry is having lunch.

    • Mike

      The best part of the deal? The Cards are getting Corey Patterson. That’s right, next year he will have at least three game-winning hits against the Cubs.

    • Brett

      I suspect the Cards would have been highly reluctant to deal Rasmus to the Cubs (if they were even interested).

    • Doug Wood

      Hendry has got his work cut out for him! But he can only blame himself! Every year he tells fans that “I think we’ve put out a very good team together this year”. Every player on that roster with the exception of Starlin Castro is an underachiever! I thought Geo Soto was gonna be great and he is terrible! Carlos Marmol has got to learn how to pitch instead of just throwing! I could go on all night! I see a bleak future ahead too! I’m sorry I’m so pessimistic but it’s the truth!

  • Serio

    Just out of curiosity how did you get wind of this rumor?

  • RY

    thats the problem hendry looks like he is always out to lunch!

  • RY

    Corey Patterson was traded to the Cardinals today, anyone want to bet he comes up with a game winning hit this weekend?

  • Dan0mite

    I don’t see the reason for the hard push to drop Z. While he is not an ace he is better than Wells, Lopez, Ortiz and possibly Cashner. The Cubs won’t be saving a ton of money if they eat a large portion of the contract. If they have to nudge the Yankees they probably won’t get much in return. So who is in the rotation next year. I’m not saying trading Z is bad just wondering if the way it seems to be playing out if it is any real benefit.

    • Brett

      Dumping him for the sake of dumping him – unless it nets a solid prospect or serious cash – doesn’t make sense. I totally agree. It’s robbing Peter to pay Paul.

      The only thing I can think of is the Cubs have plans for the rotation that we can’t see right now, or they’ve decided Z’s presence is so detrimental, it’s time for him to go (again, that’s hard to see).

      But I just heard from a source that the push to dump Z and Soriano is quite real. And it comes straight from the top.

      • MichiganGoat

        But I just heard from a source that the push to dump Z and Soriano is quite real. And it comes straight from the top.

        This just reinforces my comment below, there are some major statements/decisions being made by Ricketts. This is good news.

    • MichiganGoat

      If any of this true, I see this as Ricketts making an organizational statement that he is getting won’t tolerate players who don’t live up to their contracts and specifically he wont tolerate lazy, negative, or volatile players (although Z’s behavior has been professional this year but we don’t know how he is behind closed doors). If this true then Ricketts is really beginning to set the tone and expectations of HIS team, a new look Cubs from the top down is starting to be shown. I like what I’m seeing.

  • auggie1955

    Whatever it takes to get rid Soriano, the Cubs just have to get it done. As far as Zambrano, I can live with him one more season as long as the Cubs realize he’s now nothing more than a #3 starter. Plus he’ll be more attractive to teams at next season’s trading deadline, when he’s in the year of his contract.

  • Toosh

    When Ricketts makes a move, any move, to show that his goal is to win a World Series rather than just turn a profit, I’ll assume he knows something about baseball. Until then, I’ll assume he doesn’t.

    • Michigan Goat

      How is eating Z and Sori’s contract making money or helping him gain profit. I agree it’s not a win next year type of move, but it does free up roster moves and if he just eats the money it opens up major dollars fir FA signings.

  • Toosh

    I didn’t say those potential moves would be profitable. They wouldn’t cost Ricketts any more money though. He might even save some. So far he’s proven the bottom line is all he’s interested in.

    • Fishin Phil

      It’s funny how the same news can affect different people different ways. I’m finally starting to have a little hope based on all the draft prospect signings, and poor Toosh is still mired in hopelessness.

      I think now would be a good time for TWC to chime in with a “Wait ’til Next Year!”.

  • Toosh

    I agree with the hopeless part. Not the mire.

  • Joe Cartwright

    So what happens if we can’t trade Soriano? Didn’t they say he’s not coming back next year?

    • Brett

      Dave Kaplan said that. Not certain what will happen, but it seems likely that the Cubs would be able to dump him over the Winter. And I mean DUMP (nothing in return except a few million in savings).

  • Brett

    I’m not saying it means anything, because it could well just be an off-day against a tough righty, but… Alfonso Soriano is out of the lineup tonight.

  • Toosh

    Keeping my fingers crossed.

  • Robbo

    “the Cubs would have to pay 95% of the remaining dollars on those deals to find a taker.”

    That is crazy to me! Both are overpaid – anyone who follows MLB can tell you that. But to eat all that money just to get them off the team…explain how that helps?

    Unless we get some top 50 type prospects back (which we won’t since everyone knows we are desperate to dump these 2) then what is the point? The only reason I can see is to make room for youngsters to see what they can do over next 2 months. That’s fine for LF, but why would you consider this for Zambo’s spot in the rotation? If we had anyone ready to be a SP they would have had PLENTY of opportuntiy this year instead of trotting out Lopez/Davis/Ortiz/etc. Most inteligent people like to buy low sell high…Hendry and the Cubs like to buy at the top of the market and eat their bad investments…glad these guys don’t run my business.

  • die hard

    the way Z disrespected Q when being taken out tonite indicates Z knows he pitched last game for Q and Cubs…..

    • Brett

      Eh. Dempster did it much worse than Z.

    • Hogie

      Or he knows he is going to be there longer than Quade.

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