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Cubs find Bradley hard to deal

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McClatchy Tribune
December 10, 2009
— At the rate things are going this winter, the Cubs soon may be asking the government for a Milton Bradley bailout.

Any movement toward a deal dissipated at the winter meetings Wednesday, apparently leaving the Cubs where they started when the off-season began.


One reporter facetiously asked Hendry about rumors “new clubs (were) being added in, new leagues—one from the Negro League is in there now.”


Hendry didn’t laugh and said he hasn’t paid attention to the rumors.


The Cubs don’t want to turn the Bradley situation into a farce, but until they pull the trigger on a deal, no one will know for sure whether there is any serious interest at all in the outfielder. One team official said he hopes the Cubs can make something happen by Christmas, in stark contrast to Tuesday’s rumors that a deal would be done in 24 hours.


Here are some of the teams the Cubs have spoken to this winter, and where they may stand on Bradley:


Rays: Still offering Pat Burrell, but only if the Cubs eat almost all of the $12 million difference in the two contracts. The Rays are close to acquiring Braves reliever Rafael Soriano, which likely will prevent them from being able to afford Bradley unless the Cubs pay the freight.
Red Sox: Top officials from both teams refused to deny rumors of a proposed Bradley-for-Mike Lowell deal, as ridiculous as it sounds.
Rangers: They are on the verge of signing Rich Harden and have traded Kevin Millwood to the Orioles. After early interest, one official said the Rangers “have moved past” Bradley.
Tigers: Bradley has a .443 career average at Comerica Park, but manager Jim Leyland is unlikely to tolerate his shenanigans.
A’s: They were brought up in the conversation because GM Billy Beane is one of Hendry’s favorite trading partners, and admitted to MLB.com Bradley “was pretty happy here” in 2006.

One A’s source said bringing back Bradley is “about as improbable as it gets.”


Mets: They were rumored originally to be looking at a three-way deal that had Luis Castillo going to the Cubs and Bradley to the Rays. As far as a straight-up Bradley-for-Castillo deal, one Mets employee laughed.


So the Cubs figure to leave the meetings without a deal, but Hendry said he wouldn’t be disappointed “if the equation took longer than normal,” adding, “I do have a sense a lot of teams are going to be leaving town without doing anything else.”


Extra innings: Talks with Mike Cameron’s agents are in the preliminary stage, but sources said the Cubs won’t bring in a center fielder until they know for sure how much of Bradley’s contract they’ll have to eat. Marlon Byrd is also on the Cubs radar, and Rick Ankiel is a long shot. … Hendry said the Cubs had no interest in re-signing Harden as a free agent.



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