Millwood or Burrell for Bradley … or None of the Above for the Cubs

Zack Grienke became the first Kansas City Royal since Brett Saberhagen in 1985 to win the AL Cy Young award on Tuesday. The NL and AL Managers of the Year will be announced on Wednesday.

In between the debate and the rumors surrounding Curtis Granderson there is Milton Bradley. By all accounts Milton Bradley’s time with the Cubs is over but Jim Hendry must find a way out of the more than $21 million owed to Bradley over the next two years. Most feel Bradley will be dealt to either the Rangers or the Rays, as those teams are rumored to be the most interested in Bradley.

Rumblings began a few weeks back that Kevin Millwood could be the player Jim Hendry is trying to acquire for Milton Bradley … and that rumor, among others, were reiterated on Tuesday.

Here is the latest from the mill, including a little snag in Millwood’s contract that could benefit the Cubs …

From the Mill

Bruce Levine chatted a little about the Cubs’ Tuesday afternoon. Here are the highlights in bullet point format:

  • Bruce Levine thought Milton Bradley would have been traded by now.
  • If the Cubs trade Bradley to the Rangers, Kevin Millwood would become a Cub. If a deal is made with the Rays for Bradley, Pat Burrell would come the Cubs way … with the Cubs hopefully able to flip Burrell to another team
  • Derrek Leewas approached last off-season by the Cubs to see if he would be interested in being dealt to a California team. His answer was a firm no.” Levine thinks Lee will receive an extension before he is traded from the Cubs.
  • John Grabow should be signed soon to a two-year contract worth around $7 – $7.5 million.
  • Don’t expect Starlin Castro and Andrew Cashnerto be included in any off-season deals.” The only way Cashner is traded would be as a part of a blockbuster deal
  • The odds of the Cubs re-signing Rich Harden are zero. The Cubs are looking for more than the 25 starts per season that Rich Harden can give them.
  • Ben Sheets? “That’s a good name. After being out one year and having surgery he fits into the prototype of the tough Cajun who the Cubs always have a fondness for.
  • Carlos Marmol and John Grabow will be 1-2 in the backend of the Cubs bullpen next season.
  • It is “questionable” if Aaron Heilman and Sean Marshall will be a part of the Cubs’ pen in 2010.
  • Esmailin Caridad will get a shot at making the team as a reliever out of spring training.
  • John Gaub could make the bullpen out of spring training as well.
  • Second base “seems to be up in the air at the moment” for the Cubs with Jeff Baker and Mike Fontenot both arbitration eligible.
  • Koyie Hill will back-up Geovany Soto as of now. Levine tossed out Ivan ‘Pudge’ Rodriguez’s name but without any explanation.
  • Levine does not see how Mark DeRosa would fit with the Cubs in 2010.

Kevin Millwood

Bruce Levine mentioned on Tuesday if the Cubs trade Milton Bradley to the Rangers then it appears Kevin Millwoodwould be coming back from Texas.

Most know Kevin Millwood, big guy, pitched for the Braves for many years, then with the Phillies before signing a one-year deal with the Indians in January of 2005. Millwood put up good numbers in Cleveland (9-11 in 30 starts with a 2.86 ERA and a 1.22 WHIP) then signed a huge contract with the Rangers prior to the 2006 season.

The Cubs were rumored to have interest in Kevin Millwood four years ago … and Jim Hendry might get his chance once again.

Millwood signed a five-year, $60 million contract in December of 2005 that ends after the 2010 season. Millwood is slated to earn $12 million next season and has a limited no-trade clause. But here’s the little snag in his contract.

Millwood is owed a $15 million signing bonus that is paid out from 2011 – 2015. So Millwood is owed $27 million, not $12 million by the cash-strapped Texas Rangers. Could this be the way Jim Hendry is able to deal Milton Bradley without “eating” as much as $16 million of Bradley’s contract?

Millwood’s $12 million salary in 2010 would not give the Cubs in payroll relief in 2010 … but the signing bonus owed to Millwood could keep the Ricketts family from sending a $15 – $16 million check to insert team name here. This is not an ideal solution but this is not an ideal situation.

Kevin Millwood posted a 13-10 record in 2009 with a 3.67 ERA and a 1.34 WHIP. In 31 games, 198 2/3 innings he struck out 123, walked 71 and served up 26 home runs. Outside of Arlington, 5-7 in 16 starts with a 4.15 ERA and a 1.32 WHIP.

Millwood has started 34, 31, 29 and 31 games for the Rangers in his four seasons with Texas and has completed eight games (six in the last two years).

Millwood’s Career Stats Versus the Central:

  • Reds – 6-4 in 10 starts with a 4.47 ERA and a 1.30 WHIP
  • At Great American – 2-2 in four starts with a 6.33 ERA and a 1.55 WHIP
  • Astros – 7-4 in 12 starts with a 3.87 ERA and a 1.23 WHIP
  • At Minute Maid – 4-1 in six starts with a 3.20 ERA and a 1.17 WHIP
  • Brewers – 4-3 in 12 starts with a 5.17 ERA and a 1.38 WHIP
  • At Miller Park – 0-0 in three starts with a 6.91 ERA and a 1.47 WHIP
  • Pirates – 4-5 in 11 starts with a 4.20 ERA and a 1.23 WHIP
  • At PNC – 1-3 in four starts with a 5.48 ERA and a 1.55 WHIP
  • Cardinals – 3-2 in 12 starts with a 3.98 ERA and a 1.20 WHIP
  • At Busch Stadium – No Starts at the New Busch Stadium

Kevin Millwood is 2-2 in six career starts at Wrigley Field with a 3.74 ERA and a 1.25 WHIP in 33 2/3 innings, three home runs allowed.

Curtis Granderson

Bruce Levine has remained consistent on the fact the Curtis Granderson situation is real. The Tigers must cut payroll and they have too many high-priced veterans that cannot be moved. This is where Curtis Granderson comes in. Dave Dombrowski can replenish some missing parts in his farm system and help his 2010 club by trading Granderson … and not only get quality he could acquire quantity in return as well.

According to Bruce Levine, the Tigers “are not interested in backup players” for Curtis Granderson. The Tigers are looking for young talent and Levine thinks Josh Vitters would have to be included in a deal for Curtis Granderson.

Billy Wagner

The Cubs are likely one of three anonymous teams interested in Billy Wagner according to a report from Billy Wagner is a Type-A free agent.

Jim Duquette mentioned during Baseball This Morning (XM Radio) that if the Cubs and Braves are interested in Wagner he thinks the southpaw should sign with one of those two teams. Duquette explained both situations would give Wagner a chance to pitch for a contending team.

Duquette sees Wagner as a closer but would only sign him for one year with possibly an option … Duquette would not ink Wagner to the multi-year contract he is looking for this winter.


Final Word

A.J. Pierzynski joined Dave Kaplan during Sports Central Tuesday night. Kaplan asked the Sox catcher if he would ever sign with the Cubs. Pierzynski replied, “If they were the last team, I would consider. I’ve known Jim Hendry for a longtime, he scouted me in high school.” After thinking about it, A.J. admitted it would be very, very hard to put on the blue and red of the Chicago Cubs.

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

Quote of the Day

"There are places I remember. All my life though some have changed. Some forever not for better. Some have gone and some remain. All these places have their moments ... " John Lennon/Paul McCartney