Will Big Z Stay or Will Big Z Go?

“A likely target” … Three little words from Bill Madden in the New York Daily News that caused all of baseball to ask, will Carlos Zambrano be traded to the New York Yankees?

Last winter there were rumblings that Brian Cashman asked Jim Hendry about Carlos Zambrano. Those rumors were quickly squashed but in the wake of Cliff Lee choosing the Phillies over the Yankees and Rangers, the Zambrano to the Yankees talk has resurfaced a year later.

Here’s the update … including more on Zambrano, the rumor mill and the Cubs bid farewell to a former Rule 5 pick.

Carlos Zambrano
There is a different angle this time around thanks to Larry Rothschild leaving for New York last month but many feel if the Cubs ask Zambrano to waive his no-trade clause that he would veto a trade and stay with the Cubs.

One paragraph by Bill Madden had many speculating Wednesday whether or not Carlos Zambrano would agree to be traded to the New York Yankees.

From the New York Daily News:

“In the meantime, look for Cashman to spend his saved money on shoring up the bullpen, with re-signing Kerry Wood a new priority. And in addition to re-signing Pettitte, he’ll still be exploring the trade market with the Cubs’ Carlos Zambrano, who experienced a turnaround both in temperament and results under the tutelage of new Yankee pitching coach Larry Rothschild the last six weeks of last season, a likely target.”

A report from Bruce Levine stated the talk of the Cubs trading Zambrano to the Yankees “is all just conjecture” according to Zambrano’s agent, Barry Praver.

Praver told Levine that “there is nothing new under the sun” when asked about the Yankees possible interest in his client. The Cubs have not asked Zambrano about a trade and Z has not asked to be traded.

Carlos Zambrano has said he would like to remain a Cub until his contract expires following the 2012 season (Z’s contract includes a vesting option that can turn into a player option worth $19.25 million in 2013, Zambrano is owed $17.875 million in 2011 and $18 million in 2012).

The Sun-Times mentioned that Zambrano could require a renegotiated deal to waive his no-trade clause or ask for his 2013 option to be picked up.

No word, except for possible salary relief and being out from under the remainder of the contract, on what the Cubs could receive in a possible deal for Zambrano.

Many feel the Yankees should pass on Z and the rest think that Z would not approve a trade … so it appears Zambrano will be reporting to Fitch Park in February and will take the hill at Wrigley on either April 1 or April 2 against the Pirates.

Matt Garza and the Rotation
According to Ken Rosenthal, the Cubs “boast enough staring-pitching depth in the minors to put together a package for a veteran such as Matt Garza.”

Rosenthal explained that if the Cubs were able to pull off a trade for Garza and “combined” it with moving Andrew Cashner to the rotation, that would free up pitchers such as Tom Gorzelanny, Randy Wells and possibly Carlos Silva to be traded.

Rosenthal thinks the Cubs “could put all of those moving parts in motion.”

Miscellanous Notes
The Cubs finally cut ties with David Patton on Wednesday. The Cubs took Patton in the Rule 5 Draft back in the winter of 2008 and dealt with the Rule 5 guy for all of the 2009 season just to release him and sign him to a minor league contract.

The Cubs released Patton on Wednesday after he spent 2010 in A-ball … more confusing roster management from the Cubs front office.

The Cubs remain willing to trade Kosuke Fukudome. According to Ken Rosenthal, trading Kosuke Fukudome would compromise the Cubs outfield depth and “actually could do more harm than good.”

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Well, there’s the update … and I’m sticking to it.

Quote of the Day

"Don’t ever permit the pressure to exceed the pleasure." - Joe Maddon