The best idea for a Cubs trade that you will read over the course of this offseason.
I'm going to cut to the chase on this one because I think it's such a good idea.
Milton Bradley and Ryan Theriot, for Curtis Granderson and Dontrelle Willis.
Boom. Absorb that gem of amazingness for a second while I tell you about how awesome it is.
Before we try to decide which baseball numbers are most relevant, let's talk cash for a minute here.
As you well know, MB is owed $9mil in '10, and $12mil in '11 (guh).
Ryan Theriot is in his first year of arbitration eligibility, so it's hard to say what he'll be owed. Let's just call it $2mil every year til 2013 when he becomes a free agent.
As for the Tigers, Dontrelle Willis is owed $12mil next year (!), and Granderson is owed $5.5mil, $8.25mil, and $10mil over each of the next three seasons, with an option in 2013.
SUMMARY: Cubs would pay MB and RT about $27mil over the next three seasons, Tigers would pay CG and DW a combined $36mil.
Let's move beyond business, to baseball.
The Cubs are (still, even after trading away Mark DeRosa,) too right-handed. They've got a right-handed shortstop that plays league average defense there -- surely, a commodity, but not necessarily an automatic keeper, either.
They need a center fielder, and they could use a lefty. Oh yeah, there's also the whole get-rid-of-Milton deal.
Granderson bats lefty and plays center. And even though he's traditionally led off, his .453 slugging percentage would put him behind only Lee and A-Ram of the Cubs' everyday players in the category -- as in, perhaps could be that middle-of-the-order lefty RBI guy.
The Tigers' starting shortstop, according to their depth chart, is some guy with a last name starting with D that I have never heard of. As in, they could use an unterrible shortstop. And given the state of the Detroit economy, they'd thank God if Hendry called and offered to take D-Train off their hands.
Would taking on Dontrelle be a complete waste of money? Maybe. But aside from the amount owed him in 2010 being exactly equivalent to MB's 2011 requirement, the NL is an easier place to pitch than the AL.
The Cubs get rid of Milton. They lose Theriot, who is a player with positive value, but they have Andres Blanco's glove on the roster, and Starlin Castro on the fast track. They'd also get a quality left-handed bat to man center field for them.
The Tigers get a good shortstop, a guy that's proven he can mash at the DH spot, and the chance to erase the $12 million owed to Dontrelle from their books.
One potential challenge: convincing Dombrowski, who's wanting to get Granderson's contract off the books, to take on Milton's 2011 commitment (the 2010 pill should be easier to swallow given the savings the deal generates on D-Train's deal).
To that end, I'd be willing to spend a few million 2011 dollars on getting Milt's contract within a workable range to make the deal happen. That's how much value I think the trade adds to the Cubs.
Beyond that reason, tell me why this isn't a great idea.