Cubs Rumor Round-Up: Granderson, Bradley, Castillo, Grabow & Byrd
Let's try to filter through all the rumor reports from the GM meetings...
We know Hendry has talked to the Rays, Rangers, Blue Jays, Mets and Angels and really only the Rays and Rangers seem to be showing any real interest and both want the Cubs to pay a hefty portion of Bradley's remaining contract. The two most discussed names coming back were Pat Burrell or Kevin Millwood. For those that thought Aaron Rowand or Barry Zito's contract could get it done, Brian Sabean said he has absolutely no interest in acquiring Bradley.
Robothal's latest said the Rays and Cubs were talking again yesterday and were just $2-$3M apart, but then stirred up some quotes describing the discussions as "worse than Chinese water torture." and "I wish cattle prods were legal." And if the Cubs do get Burrell, they'll probably just have to pay some more to ship to another team as he'll unlikely be a Cub next year considering no one thinks he belongs in the outfield anymore.
One of our most trusted readers heard on the radio from Bruce Levine that a deal for Bradley should go down in the next 3-4 days.
There was the bogus three-team rumor of Bradley to the Blue Jays, Overbay to the Mets and Castillo to the Cubs. That was quickly shot down and the Mets say they want no part of Bradley, but Minaya did say he might talk to Hendry about Castillo. Castillo had a nice bounceback year with the bat in 2010 and is owed $6M in 2010 and 2011. He does walk at a friendly 10.8% rate for his career and that's been higher the last few seasons. UZR doesn't like his defense the last few seasons, but he was battling some leg injuries. As part of some package to move Bradley's contract, then it's a reasonable enough move, if it's going to cost the Cubs any decent minor league talent though and adding on Castillo's contract, I'd hope the Cubs would pass.
It looks like the Cubs will make a run at Byrd when free agency opens and the Texas beat writer at MLB.com thinks it will take 3 years and between 18-24M to sign him, although he notes there isn't much demand for center fielders this year. That probably won't stop Hendry from offering Byrd exactly what he wants though. I ran through the numbers on Byrd yesterday, and he certainly wouldn't be a terrible player for the Cubs to pick up. I don't know about three years or $8M per, but he can handle all three defensive positions and brings a bit of power with him.
The reports came out that the Tigers might look to try and trade guys like Edwin Jackson or Curtis Granderson to save a few bucks. Personally I think that either player is unlikely to get moved unless it's a package to rid themselves of one of their bad contracts in Dontrelle Willis, Magglio Ordonez or Nate Robertson. Nonetheless, Phil Rogers went nuts and said the Cubs must sell the fall the farm to get him. And don't get me wrong, I'd love to have Granderson on the Cubs. He plays pretty damn good defense, hit 20-30 HR's in Comerica Park the last few years and walks over 10% of the time and will be 29 next year. On the downside, he strikes out a ton and is basically a black hole versus lefties (.540 OPS against lefties versus .940 against righties over the last 3 years). His contract owes him just $5.5M in 2010 and then goes to $8.25M, $10M, and a $13M club option with $2M buyout in 2013. That option goes up if he hits various incentives though.
But, I don't know how available Granderson is yet and we don't know the market. As I said, Tigers would probably love to package one of their bad contracts with him and get a boatload of major league ready talent if they could and neither of that really fits what the Cubs have to offer which is mostly low level minor leaguers with lots of upside. I guess the Cubs could start offering Carlos Marmol or Geovany Soto, but obviously that's doubtful. Dombrowski and Hendry do seem to have a pretty good dialogue and relationship, so I'm sure the Cubs will at least approach the idea.
It appears destined the Cubs will sign him to an extension in the 2/7.5M range, probably with some sort of third year option. I'm pretty indifferent to the whole matter. Grabow was good for the Cubs last year and he's can get both lefties and righties out. On the other hand, he's a bit walk happy and I don't know if you should being committing dollars to the bullpen so soon with other holes to fill and likely plenty of talent still available in February and March.
If we were to believe the GM Meetings rumors, there's the possibility that this is your Cubs lineup next year.
Castillo 2B, Fukudome RF, Lee 1B, Ramirez 3B, Byrd CF, Soriano LF, Soto C, Theriot SS