Trade Moon Rising?
It's been a tumultuous week to be a Cubs fan: a 1-3 start to the road trip, an offense that can't score, and the "ace" off the staff being relegated to set-up duties. To add more fuel to the fire during the Cubs Post-Game Show, Dave Kaplan stated that his sources have told him the Cubs are discussing "major trades."
At this time it isn't clear who the Cubs are talking to or about, but it would be safe to bet that any trade talks involve bolstering the club's largely inexperience and (so far) ineffective bullpen. It has been made somewhat clear that moving Zambrano to the pen is only a temporary fix until the club can promote or trade for a solid bullpen arm. For now, Z (hypothetically) provides the 'pen with the experience and effectiveness that has lacked through the first 16 games of the season.
So who might some of these mystery trades involve? In my mind, one player that makes sense for so many reasons for the Cubs is Kerry Wood. Here's why:
The Indians have been trying to move Wood's contract since the GM meetings ($10.5 MM this season with an $11 MM vesting option if he finishes 55 games). With Wood starting the season on the DL the option is unlikely to vest. However, for the Indians it doesn't make much sense to pay that much money for a closer when the team has two younger and cheaper future closers already on their roster in Jensen Lewis and Chris Perez. If the Cubs come to the table willing to take on all of Wood's contract the Indians may be satisfied with a low prospect in return. Thus, the Indians make logical trading partners at this point simply for their desire to engage in a salary dump.
Moreover, Kid K makes a lot of sense for the Cubs bullpen situation. Big Z was demoted to the pen because Lou wanted a power righty that brought experience as well as the ability to get hitters out. Kerry Wood is a power righty that has more experience in the pen than Z and has proven that he can not only get hitters out, but do so under the Chicago microscope. Oh, that and the entire fan base is in love with him.
Wood has always been a wild card when it comes to his durability and health. A second tour in Chicago would be no different, especially as he is recovering from a back injury suffered in spring training at the moment. However, the Cubs should take a long look Wood's way when assessing the logical pieces that could help resolve the bullpen shortcomings.