Weekend Update … Bradley to Toronto Denied

With the Ricketts Family finally taking control of the Chicago Cubs last week, “Movin’ Milton” gained a lot of momentum on Saturday. As first reported by Bruce Levine last Tuesday, the Cubs and Toronto have had discussions about possible trades … and according to Levine two of the names that have been discussed are Milton Bradley and Vernon Wells.

A report on Saturday morning from the Toronto Sun indicated the Milton Bradley-for-Vernon Wells rumors has legs” according to a source they spoke with inside the Cubs organization. The Cubs vehemently denied the report in the Toronto Sun according to Bruce Levine.

The Cubs organizational meetings get underway this week in Mesa with the GM Meetings in Chicago scheduled for November 9 – 11. The next several weeks and months figure to be filled with Milton Bradley rumors.

Here’s the latest from the mill on the first day of November …

Milton Bradley

The Toronto Sun reported the Cubs’ idea “is to split the difference on monies owed – Wells’ $107 million and Bradley’s $21 million for a difference of $86 million. Each team absorbs $43 million.” In other words, the Cubs would get Vernon Wells until the end of the 2014 season for $43 million.

The Toronto Sun doubts the Blue Jays would take on Bradley.

“While they have given players a second chance over the years, they haven’t been big on taking on players who have had trouble with numerous teams.”

The Sun said the Cubs “have to deal Bradley” and mention other possible trade partners with Jim Hendry for Bradley … The Giants and either Barry Zito or Aaron Rowand, the Indians for Travis Haffner, the Dodgers for Juan Pierre and the Rays for Pat Burrell.

The only possibility in the list that would help the Cubs … Aaron Rowand.

Bruce Levine reported the Cubs denied the Bradley for Wells trade talks. Levine stuck to his reports that the Cubs and Blue Jays have “had discussions about different scenarios. Levine said it would be hard for the Cubs to take on Wells’ contract considering it is looking like the Cubs’ payroll for 2010 will be roughly the same as 2009.

Levine indicatedmore realistic opportunities to trade Bradley still exist in Tampa, with a possible trade for Pat Burrell, or possible scenarios with the Texas Rangers or the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. Gary Matthews Jr. of the Angels is a name which has been speculated about in media reports over the last couple of days.

Gary Matthews, Jr. for Milton Bradley would be a swap of money but many do not feel Mike Scioscia would welcome Bradley to the Angels.

Buster Olney mentioned a few possible destinations for Milton Bradley Saturday morning before the report from Toronto surfaced.

  • Carlos Silva and the Mariners. Silva is owed two years and $23 million and the executive Olney spoke with thought that made sense for both sides. “It would be dead money for dead money.” Silva has been a bust in Seattle … 1-3 in eight games, six starts, a year ago with a 8.60 ERA and a 1.71 WHIP, in 2008 Silva posted a 4-15 record in 28 starts with a 6.46 ERA and a 1.60 WHIP. For his career, 60-64 with a 4.72 ERA and a 1.41 WHIP … the right-hander will turn 31 on April 23.
  • Derek Lowe and the Braves … Bobby Cox and Milton Bradley do not figure to be a match but Lowe and the three years and $45 million could be a fit for the Cubs.
  • Olney mentioned Gary Matthews, Jr.
  • Carlos Lee and the Astros … Where does the Cub killer fit?
  • Barry Zito and Aaron Rowand of the Giants
  • Oliver Perez and the Mets … Milton in New York?
  • Dontrelle Wills and the Tigers
  • Scott Linebrink and the White Sox
  • Pat Burrell and the Rays

Carrie Muskat stated, “the only thing certain is the Cubs plan on moving Bradley, despite hiring his former hitting coach, Rudy Jaramillo.” Muskat mentioned Gary Matthews, Jr. as a possible swap with the Cubs for Bradley.

Crane Kenney on Talkin’ Baseball

Crane Kenney, the Cubs’ newly appointed team President, joined Bruce Levine and Jonathan Hood for two segments on Talkin’ Baseball Saturday morning.

Kenney started off by saying how excited everyone in the Cubs’ organization is that the Ricketts Family is finally in charge. Kenney talked about his new title of Team President and reminded Bruce Levine that the Cubs have not had a team president since John McDonough stepped down two years ago.

Crane Kenney will be in charge of the day-to-day operations of the team and Jim Hendry will report to him. Kenney said he relies on his baseball people (Jim Hendry, Randy Bush and Oneri Fleita) to make the right decisions.

Kenny said all of the disappointment in last season made them feel like they won only 40 games. Three years over .500 is a good accomplishment that no one is content with achieving, they expected more. Kenney admitted he was reminded the three straight years of winning baseball is the first time in 70 years that the organization has accomplished the feat.

Kenny added, “If we keep getting into the playoffs, one day we will win it.

The Cubs have spoken to Bob DuPuy about hosting the 2014 All-Star game … which would be the first Mid-Summer Classic on the North Side since 1990. Kenney said Major League Baseball was open-minded to the idea despite the fact 2014 would be the year an American League city was due to host the event. MLB recognizes the importance of the 100th birthday of Wrigley Field. Kenney stated the conversation between MLB and the Cubs are not past the initial stage at this point.

Some parts of the Cubs’ philosophy will change now that the Ricketts Family owns the Cubs according to Crane Kenney.

The Cubs’ President spoke briefly about the Cubs’ farm systems and the crop of prospects they have coming up. Starlin Castro, Andrew Cashner and Josh Vitters are playing good ball in the Arizona Fall League. Kenney spoke about the good job Ryne Sandberg has done in Tennessee and admitted there is a lot of depth in the Cubs’ organization from Double-A down.

The future of the Cubs is coming through Tennessee.

Kenney briefly talked about the Cubs’ off-season and said they would receive more direction next week at the organization meetings. Jim Hendry will have to be creative this winter and Kenney said (and Bruce Levine agreed) that Jim would be at the top of creativity among GMs around the league.

The Cubs are expecting players that did not perform last season to bounce back in 2010. Kenney said they scored 148 less runs in 2009 than in 2008, which accounts for 10-15 wins … if they win 10 more games they are in the playoffs.

The Cubs have looked at the Red Sox business model and must find ways to generate revenue outside of just raising ticket prices. Crane Kenney used the concerts at Wrigley as well as the Winter Classic as examples of how the Cubs can generate revenue that is not shared with the league.

Tom Ricketts is going to hold people accountable in the organization. Kenney said they will be given resources from the Ricketts Family to do their job and if they fail they should lose their job. Jim Hendry is very excited about Tom Ricketts owning the team and Kenney admitted he has not seen Hendry this excited before.

Crane Kenney finished his time on Talkin’ Baseball by saying, “I would say buckle up. We have a lot to do. Will be a lot of change in the next three to four years that hopefully includes a championship.

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Well, that’s the latest … and I’m sticking to it!

Quote of the Day

"You can be a kid for as long as you want when you play baseball." - Cal Ripken Jr.
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