CHICAGO -- The Cubs are trying hard to dump the perennially malcontented
"I don't think they dislike him. But Milton's a unique guy who doesn't fit in, like the oddball kid in class,'' one Cubs-connected person said.
"He doesn't try to fit in. The other guys tried to take him in, but he's one of those kids that simply doesn't want to be part of anything,'' one Cubs person said.
"They're going to get rid of him,'' one NL exec said. "No way he can go back.''
The question is: Who'll take him?
The prime candidates could be the Rangers and Rays, though the Giants are mentioned as a possibility, as well. Bradley thrived his one year in Texas, when he got along with manager
"[Bradley] needs to go to some place small, like Kansas City or San Diego,'' one GM said.
The Rangers, who seek a right-handed hitter and are the most obvious team to have had a positive experience with Bradley, would probably take the 31-year-old outfielder if the Cubs paid a vast majority of the $21 million remaining on his crazy contract. Texas appeared willing to give Bradley $6 million for one year last winter, but if they are would pay $5 million for two now, that would mean the Cubs would only have to eat $16 million of the $21 million.
The Cubs are looking at other teams that have players with similarly bad contracts, such as the Rays (
While the Mets need an outfielder, one Mets person wisely said they could never take Bradley in New York.
One rumor had Bradley being talked about in a three-way deal with Castillo and Toronto's
Baseball people seem to believe that of the two superstar players available in trade --
1) He's eligible for free agency after this year, whereas the Padres have Gonzalez for two more years.
2) He makes $16 million to only about $5 million for Gonzalez, who has $10.25 mil over two remaining.
3) He wants out of Toronto.
In an especially weak free-agent starting-pitching market, Halladay, 31, would draw interest from several teams, and with a new GM in Toronto (
But Hoyer didn't sound in any hurry to trade Gonzalez, saying, "He's a great player with a great contract who's a fan favorite.''
While many competing executives see the Red Sox as the favorites to retain star left fielder
The Red Sox are known for being among the most aggressive procurers of talent, especially young talent. But Epstein said on Monday that they weren't necessarily motivated to try to match the Yankees' vaunted lineup, and pointed out that they still finished third in runs (behind the Yankees and Angels). Some see Halladay as a logical target for them instead.
The Red Sox are also thought to have made the best offer for Halladay last summer -- one Red Sox exec suggested they believe now that they may have actually offered "too much'' -- but many people here at the GM meetings point out that the price tag should be lower with Halladay a half year closer to free agency. Boston is believed to have offered
It's no surprise that the Mets could join the Red Sox as teams looking at both Halladay and Gonzalez. Either would fill a major need. While they have considered finding a right-handed hitter to platoon with
They could also use Halladay, as their pitching is "in shambles,'' one competing exec said. However, yet another exec said, "the price will be higher on Halladay than it was on [
The Dodgers and Mariners were among other teams to take a look at Gonzalez in the summer. Meanwhile, the Phillies, Dodgers, Rangers, Brewers and Angels are among teams that could be candidates for Halladay, though the Dodgers and Rangers currently have ownership issues and it can't be known how they may impact their winter pursuits.
The National League champion Phillies will definitely take another look at Halladay, according to the
One superstar who isn't going anywhere soon is pitcher
The Yankees are expected to make a play for top free-agent pitcher
Beyond Lackey plus outfielders
The starting pitching drop-off is steep after the 31-year-old Lackey. Some executives see a continuation of last year's market -- only worse. After some very good contracts to top players, some players were deeply disappointed by a lack of interest, especially late.
While baseball is thriving, most teams don't seem anxious to spend big bucks on non-superstar players.
"It's going to be a very, very, very bad market,'' one GM said. "The top guys will get paid -- Lackey will get paid, Bay will get paid, Holliday will get paid. The other guys will take a hit.''
Several more free agents in the "second tier'' will do fine, too, said another executive, as the teams that lose out for the big three free agents, will look to compensate. But beyond that next group, it could be a tight market for the bulk of the free agents.
The Mets, who are in dire need of at least one more starting pitcher, really don't seem to like the free-agent pitching list. One competing exec said, "They should go for Lackey.'' But Mets people are suggesting that they are leery of Lackey's alleged arm issues (though this doesn't seem to be a major issue to others).
The Mets do seem like
But, as one competing exec said of Pineiro, 31, "He's a completely different pitcher than he used to be. If you look at him and
They also like
The Angels are trying to keep free agent and leadoff man extraordinaire
Reagins said he doesn't expect to make a quick deal with free agent
• The Phillies are expected to try to lock up
• While the Phillies declined the option on defensively adept third baseman
• The Red Sox will still consider
• The Mets have some interest in free-agent catcher
• Most people expect
• Good for the Twins to run their payroll into the high $80 millions by exercising the $10 million option on