The general consensus around baseball seems to be that if the Cubs are willing to trade Carlos Zambrano this winter, then they will have a tough time finding a team willing to take on Zambrano's $18 million salary, let alone give the Cubs any top prospects in return.
So after scouring Cot's Baseball Contracts, we have come up with a number of hypothetical trades for the Cubs and Zambrano this off-season that might, or might not, make sense.
Cubs acquire: Juan Pierre
Dodgers acquire: Carlos Zambrano, cash (to offset some of the salary difference)
Why This Makes Sense for the Cubs
-The Cubs struggled to find a productive leadoff hitter all season, and Pierre would fill that void. In limited playing time, Pierre has put up some amazing numbers this season: .313 batting average, .387 OBP, 26 SB, and stellar defense in left field.
-Pierre is only owed $18.5 million over the next two seasons, which a far cry from the more than $50 million owed to Zambrano through 2012 (or 2013).
Why This Makes Sense for the Dodgers
-Acquire a potential top flight starting pitcher, one who could give the Dodgers one of the best starting rotations in baseball. No matter what you think of Zambrano, pitchers of his caliber are not easily found.
-Clear the logjam in the outfield by dealing Pierre.
Why This Makes No Sense for the Cubs
-Where would Pierre play? With Fukudome, Bradley, and Soriano all signed through next season, the Cubs would need to move one of them in order to give Pierre consistent playing time.
-Who would play center field? The Cubs were a mess this season defensively this season in center field and even though Juan Pierre is a speedster, he's a much better left fielder than center fielder at this point in his career.
-Was the 2009 season a fluke for Juan Pierre?
-Do they really want to pick up some of the tab for Zambrano?
Why This Makes No Sense for the Dodgers
-Carlos Zambrano is inconsistent, injury prone, and a headcase.
-Zambrano is signed through 2012 at least, which is two years more than Juan Pierre. Are the Dodgers willing to make such a commitment to a guy with a volatile and inconsistent history?
-Yes, Juan Pierre is overpaid, but he's still a very useful player that the Dodgers should keep around.
Bottom Line: Not really feeling this trade for the Cubs. Finding a taker for Zambrano is going to be very tough.
Coming up: Hypothetical Carlos Zambrano trade No. 2
Does this trade make any sense? Thoughts?