While Jim Hendry did not make a big splash in free agency, he did create a little wave in the Water as he signed Carlos Pena to a one year, $10 million contract last week. The most interesting part about that contract is that the payment of the $10MM is split up over the next three years. That’s right, somehow Jim Hendry managed to back-load a one year contract. The belief is that the Cubs will pay Pena $2MM in 2011, $5MM in 2012, and $3MM in 2013. Meaning, Jim Hendry has about $8MM remaining to spend on improving the Cubs for the 2011 season. We have probably seen the last of Hendry making a significant addition through the free agent market this winter, as he is expected to be focused on improving the Cubs through trades.
With this in mind, Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports takes a look at some of the scenarios that the Cubs are discussing at the moment.
- As we already know by now, the Chicago Cubs are focused on trying to trade for Rays Starting Pitcher Matt Garza. Rosenthal believes that the Cubs have enough minor league pitching depth to entice the Rays into making a deal with them. As I mentioned yesterday, there is a strong possibility Cubs pitching prospect Jay Jackson is a part of the Cubs offer along with Robinson Chirinos and Hak-Ju Lee. It remains to be seen how serious the Rangers or Yankees are on Garza. The Cubs intention is to acquire Garza, and also move Andrew Cashner into the rotation. By doing this, the Cubs would then be able to trade Tom Gorzelanny without the risk of losing a starter. The Tigers have already expressed interest in Gorzelanny, but it remains to be seen if they have talked with the Cubs since the Winter Meetings.
- Rosenthal also states that the Chicago Cubs are willing to trade Starter Carlos Silva and outfielder Kosuke Fukudome. Fukudome is owed $13.5 in the final year of his contract, whereas Silva is only owed $6MM from the Cubs ( The Mariners are already paying the other $5.5MM). The issue with trading Silva, is that he is a big risk to whoever trades for him. As throughout the second half last season he dealt with heart problems, that eventually sidelined him for the season. Fukudome is a different story, as he could be a valuable member to any team, but the issue is that no team will take on all of Fukudome’s $13.5MM that he is owed next season.
- Which ties into the next point made by Rosenthal, and that is the Cubs could be interested in Joe Blanton of the Philadelphia Phillies. The Phillies will probably trade Blanton at some point this winter, as with the addition of Cliff Lee, Blanton and his remaining $17MM over the next two seasons have become expendable. The Phillies would still like to add a platoon outfielder to go in right field, and the Cubs are obviously looking for a starting pitcher. So, there is a possibility that if the Cub do not acquire Matt Garza, they may look at possibly trading for Blanton. However, the Cubs and Phillies would have to try and determine who will pay what between the the two contracts.
There was even more Carlos Zambrano to the Yankees rumors today, as Bill Madden of the New York Time reports that Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman will likely target Cubs pitcher Carlos Zambrano through trade. In recent years, Zambrano has told reporters that he would be willing to waive his no trade clause to go to the Yankees. In addition, Zambrano could be interested in joining former Cubs pitching coach Larry Rothschild on the Yankees.
However, over recent months Zambrano has told reporters on numerous occasions that he is not waiving his no trade clause, and has every intention of staying with the Chicago Cubs. Zambrano’s agent, Barry Praver, told ESPN Chicago today that their is nothing new to report, and Zambrano still wants to remain with the Chicago Cubs.
Though, things are bound to get interesting as the Chicago Cubs are willing to trade Zambrano and the remaining $54.8MM that is left on his contract. If the Cubs do have discussions with the Yankees, it will be interesting to see if they can convince Zambrano to except a trade to the New York Yankees. Jim Hendry did it once with Derrek Lee last season, can he do it again?