The Yankees are in town. For the first time since 2003, the Cubs and Yankees will be playing a 3 game series in Wrigley Field. There are endless storylines to follow in this series. The return of Larry Rothschild, the possibility that Yankees general manager Brian Cashman could be a possible successor to Cubs general manager Jim Hendry, and many more. But most importantly, the most prominent storyline will be the possibility of Cubs starting pitcher Carlos Zambrano being traded to the New York Yankees.
If ESPN Chicago’s Bruce Levine had his wish, Zambrano would have been traded to the Yankees a long time ago. Though all the rumors of the Yankees being interested in Zambrano have been purely speculative. That is, until yesterday. Levine reported that the Yankees had their top advisers follow Zambrano, and the Cubs on their recent 10-game road trip. It is worth repeating what Levine mentioned, and that is these were not the advanced scouts for the Yankees who report on the Yankees next opponent, these were the top advisers who report directly to Cashman.
The fact that the Yankees have their top advisers following Zambrano, shows their hand that they are interested in Zambrano. The Yankees may eventually have to add a starting pitcher if they want to compete with the Red Sox, and Zambrano would be an ideal option for them. Though, sources have indicated that up to this point no team has come to the Cubs about Zambrano’s availability or willingness to waive his no trade clause. Also, the Cubs have given no indication that they are ready to shop Zambrano. But realistically, the Cubs will likely try and trade Zambrano at some point before the trade deadline.
Zambrano’s trade value varies. If the Cubs are willing to absorb most of Zambrano’s remaining salary, then Zambrano may net them a good package of prospects. Though, if the Yankees take on majority of Zambrano’s contract, then the less likely it is that the Cubs will get a top level prospect in exchange for Zambrano. Meaning the more the Cubs absorb, the better package of prospects they would get for Zambrano. Either way, trading Zambrano would be a win-win.
If the Yankees were to take on most of Zambrano’s remaining salary, that would give the Cubs added financial flexibility this winter. Especially, when the Cubs flexibility has already been questioned, trading Zambrano would relieve all of those concerns. In fact, that may be the most realistic scenario. With the exception of the Carlos Silva release, the Cubs have not been willing to absorb money from veterans they wish to trade. But, it takes two to make a trade. Meaning the Yankees would have to be willing to take on most of Zambrano’s contract. They certainly have the resources to do so, though, that does not mean that they will. However, the interest in Zambrano is there for the Yankees.