With forty games remaining on the schedule and staring up at an eight-game deficit in the division, many have begun looking at 2010 for the Chicago Cubs … one of those apparently counting the season over and done with is Alfonso Soriano. Soriano, who is one of the main reasons for the Cubs’ underachieving season, recently told the Sun-Times that Lou Piniella is a great manager and taking a team to the playoffs two out of three years isn’t bad … and this just a few days after conceding the division to the Cardinals hoping his team could win the NL Wild Card. But that is another subject for a different day …
Will the Cubs try to keep Rich Harden after this season? What about Milton Bradley? Several players figure not to be retained once the season is over … and the Ricketts Family takes control of the organization. Kevin Gregg will not be back according to Dave Kaplan on Sports Central Monday night. Both Kaplan and Gordon Wittenmyer feel the Cubs will try to deal Milton Bradley in the off-season.
The Cubs owe Milton Bradley $9 million for 2010 and $12 million in 2011 after the option for the third year of his contract vested a few weeks back. Kaplan and Wittenmyer stated the Cubs will have to ‘eat‘ a portion of his contract but should be able to trade him over the winter. Neither Kaplan nor Wittenmyer mentioned a specific team that would be interested in acquiring Milton Bradley.
Bradley’s contract does not include a no-trade clause and the money owed is a lot less than the $18 million Alfonso Soriano is due over the final five years of the contract he signed in 2006 (Soriano is owed $18 million per year with a full no-trade clause, a total of $90 million remains of the 8-year, $136 million contract). Wittenmyer added that the ability to trade Bradley without his permission and the amount he is still owed makes him a viable option to deal in the off-season.
As for Rich Harden, when healthy he is one of the best in the game. But that is the problem, when healthy. Paul Sullivan brought up on Monday night that Harden is “in line for a long-term deal approaching $60 million“. The report in the Tribune indicated a possible four-year deal worth between $50-$60 million.
That is a large contract for a pitcher that could make 29 starts this season … the most he has made since starting 31 for the Oakland A’s in 2004.
The Cubs have too many large, long-term deals on the books. Rich Harden on a short-term contract would be a good move but giving another long-term contract to a pitcher with a history of injuries … hasn’t Jim Hendry been down that road before?
This winter should be very interesting, once the Ricketts Family is in place. They want to win and depending on the report they will either be taking a conservative approach or more of an aggressive one. The truth is no one knows how the Cubs’ new owners will approach the tough task they have ahead of them, and no one will until they have the ‘keys to the front door‘.
Stay Tuned …