Todd Walker Rumors
A reader emailed me saying that WSCR The Score (George Ofman) and ESPN Sports Radio 1000 (Bruce Levine) are reporting that the Cubs are talking again about a Milton Bradley for Todd Walker trade, to happen within the next day or two. Levine reported this same rumor on November 29th.
Thanks to Alex
As we approach the winter meetings, all kinds of crazy rumors are making the rounds. First and foremost is a possible three-way deal between the Rangers, A's, and Cubs as reported by Sunday's edition of the Chicago Tribune. WSCR, a radio station in Chicago, has cited tomorrow's Phil Rogers column about the trade.
The details: The Cubs send Kerry Wood and $6MM to the Rangers for Kevin Mench. The Cubs would also surrender Todd Walker and prospects and would receive Barry Zito from Oakland. It's unclear what prospects would go Oakland's way, although it's fair to speculate Beane would ask for #1 prospect Felix Pie. Thanks to Alex and Mike for passing it along, and you can read a message board thread on the deal here.
My opinion? Doesn't sound valid in the proposed form. As mentioned on the Inside The Ivy message board, it sounds more like a Phil Rogers opinion column. Rogers can't be reached to confirm the rumor. The Cubs have plenty of starting pitcher and outfielder options on the table, and can make a deal without surrendering Pie. Given that Beane holds the cards with six starters, only the Cubs' very best could entice him. I don't think this deal happens.
I've also been informed that George Ofman from WSCR is reporting that Rafael Furcal will make his final decision by noon CST on December 4th. It's still unknown which way he's leaning. It's well-known that the Dodgers have put in a three-year, $39MM bid for the shortstop. The offer is a smart one and mitigates L.A.'s risk nicely. Given that it could bring Furcal more money in both the short and long term, the Dodgers must be a serious option.
A source in the Red Sox organization mentions that the Cubs have interest in 31 year-old right fielder Trot Nixon. Nixon hasn't had 500 at-bats since 2002, but he's hit well when healthy. Nixon mashes right-handers but struggles mightily with southpaws. The Red Sox are rumored to have interest in Corey Patterson.
Thanks to Alex, Mike, Nick, and Cody
According to Bruce Levine on ESPN Radio 1000, the Cubs are talking to the Dodgers about swapping Todd Walker for Milton Bradley. Considering the devaluing of Bradley around baseball, the proposed trade sounds plausible.
If the deal were to go through, it's most likely that Walker would play third base for Los Angeles. It's also possible that Jeff Kent moves to first and Walker remains at second base.
Walker has played 60 games at third base in his career, and Kent has spent 105 games playing first.
Thanks to John
I've noticed various outlets claiming the rumored Todd Walker for Aaron Heilman trade was fabricated. While I'm not sure if the deal will ultimately go through, I can guarantee that the rumor is on the level.
According to Kevin Burkhardt of WFAN in New York, the Mets have been dangling Heilman in front of the Cubs in an attempt to acquire Walker. The rumor originally aired on November 12th, and I've contacted Burkhardt in an attempt to get more info.
A new trade rumor has been floated from New York today. We all know Todd Walker is on the trading block; it seems the Mets are interested.
Word is that the Cubs will deal Walker to the Mets for Aaron Heilman, straight up. If the rumor holds up, this could help both teams.
Strangely, the Mets still seem to have little faith in Heilman despite his breakout 2005. Heilman just turned 27, and he misses bats. He has yet to settle into his role as a pitcher. Heilman could serve in the swing role for the Cubs if Glendon Rusch becomes a permanent rotation fixture. Having a pitcher versatile enough to start, close, and do everything in-between may be a new trend in baseball.
Walker is what he is - all hit, no glove. He's definitely an above average hitter for a second baseman. You'll see that Walker was the 20th best 2B in 2005 once you consider fielding. If he can stay healthy for 550 at-bats, however, he might crack the top ten in 2006 despite the poor defense.
The move would take the Mets out of their dance with Rafael Furcal and increase the chances the Cubs sign him.
Heilman wasn't seen as an integral part of the proposed Manny Ramirez trade, so those talks would stay alive.
Thanks to Brian from Edison for the tip.