The Cubs are still "not close" to dealing talented yet troubled outfielder Milton Bradley to the Rays or Rangers, the two teams thought to be most interested, sources say.
The Cubs, according to a league official, are so far offering to include only about $5 million to offset the $21 million left on Bradley's deal. While one Cubs official said Bradley "has to go," the talks haven't reflected that sort of urgency.
Discussions with the Rays involved the Cubs getting underproducing DH Pat Burrell for Bradley. But that would still stick Tampa with Bradley's 2011 salary, and the Cubs really have no use for Burrell so they'd most likely have to find a place to flip him. There's been mention of a three-way including the Mets and Luis Castillo but that's apparently brought the sides no closer.
The Rangers are believed willing to pay Bradley about $3-4 million over two years, but if the Cubs send only $5 million to Texas, that would still leave a gap of at least $10 million. The Rangers don't have much money to spend, and until their ownership siuation is resolved they may not be able to make any trade in which they'd take on salary.
The Giants and Padres have been mentioned as other possibilities for Bradley. The most obvious way to move Bradley is to match him with a similarly regrettable contract such as those for Gary Matthews Jr. (Angels), Aaron Rowand (Giants), Jose Guillen (Royals) or Castillo.
Mets officials say they cannot bring Bradley to New York because they feel it's a combustible mix.
There's another issue regarding Bradley. Said one NL exec, "He just didn't produce (in 2009)."