Preparing for the Cubs Off-Season with Rumors

While the Cubs spend their final off day in Chicago preparing for the final seven games of the regular season, the rumor mill is already churning.

Many feel the Cubs will make more trades this off-season than free agent signings. With close to $116 million committed to ten players for 2010, it makes sense that Jim Hendry would have to focus on acquiring pieces via the trade route. It is doubtful once the Ricketts Family takes control of the organization that Jim Hendry will be able to open up their checkbook to atttempt to repair the damage he did a year ago.

Reports over the weekend indicated the Ricketts Family could take control of the team before the end of October, which is two or three weeks earlier than first thought. Dave Kaplan said his sources mentioned an October 26 date while Bruce Levine is hearing eleven days earlier … October 15.

Here is the latest from the mill, including more on ‘Moving Milton’ and a Zambrano for Peavy deal? Carlos Zambrano

Carlos Zambrano is coming off his best outing of the year and two of his better outings of the season. But Phil Rogers is hearing the White Sox and Cubs could swap big name, high priced pitchers this off-season. According to Phil Rogers, the Sox could trade Jake Peavy to the North Side for Carlos Zambrano.

After spending a winter of following every Jake Peavy rumor out there, this off-season is beginning to look like more of the same.

Typically a Phil Rogers rumor should be taken with a grain of salt, but in his defense this is not the first time over the past couple of weeks this rumor has popped up. Baseball Prospectus reported a possible Zambrano for Peavy deal a week ago.

From Baseball Prospectus:

“Some around the Chicago baseball scene would not be shocked to see a major crosstown trade of right-handers in the off-season, in which the Cubs would deal Carlos Zambrano to the White Sox for Jake Peavy.”

So, while Phil Rogers misses the mark most of the time, and is really bad at math, this rumor could have a little more to it.

But with Zambrano talking retirement again, if the Cubs wanted to trade Zambrano this off-season it might be hard to do … even if he was to waive his no-trade clause. The AP reported Sunday night Carlos Zambrano could retire at the end of next season if he has a repeat performance of 2009 …

Milton Bradley

The Cubs will trade Milton Bradley this winter. The question is … how much money will they have to send along with the outfielder/designated hitter?

According to Baseball Prospectus, the Giants, Padres, A’s and Rays have shown interest in Bradley. John Perrotto stated the Rays and Cubs rumor continues to pop up with the Cubs sending Bradley to Tampa along with the $15 million difference for Pat Burrell in a swap of disappointments. BP said a deal involving the Giants, Padres and A’s would have to include “a large sum of cash“.

Bruce Levine reported Saturday that the Rays “are very interested in bringing the beleaguered outfielder to Florida.” Rumors last winter suggested the Rays were the other team bidding for the services of Milton Bradley.

Bruce Levine also indicated both the Rangers and Blue Jays showed interest in Bradley before the August 31 deadline.

Kevin Towers, or Tampering Towers as he became known last winter, told ESPN Friday that he “is open to discussing a trade to reacquire Milton Bradley“. Towers told ESPN that he’s not spoken with Jim Hendry about Milton Bradley.

Paul Sullivan brought up the idea of a possible swap between the Cubs and Giants involving Aaron Rowand on Saturday. The former White Sox centerfielder has struggled mightily in the second half (.219/.266/.371 with seven doubles, a triple and six home runs in 56 games) and is owed a lot of money (3 years and $36 million, $12 million per year through 2012). Sullivan also brought up the Kansas City Royals in the same report, but the Royals denied the rumors according to a report in the Kansas City Star on Sunday. The Royals officials dismissed the rumor, calling the people that started the rumor, or speculation of possible interest, “idiots.”

Aaron Rowand just turned 32 (August 29, 1977) and is hitting .262/.318/.426 with 15 home runs, 30 doubles and two triples in 139 games. Outside of AT & T Park, Rowand has put up a .278/.320/.441 line with 13 doubles and ten home runs in 71 games.

Aaron Rowand and Reed Johnson are good friends and Johnson feels Rowand would be a great fit in the Cubs’ clubhouse.

Reed Johnson and John Grabow

According to a report from Baseball Prospectus, the Cubs are trying to sign both John Grabow and Reed Johnson before they hit free agency.

Well, that is the latest from the mill with seven left to play … and I’m sticking to it.