A new Cubs trade rumor found its way into my inbox this morning courtesy of loyal reader Derek. Yesterday, Jim Williams wrote a column for the Washington Examiner suggesting the Cubs might deal Kerry Wood for Jose Vidro and Ryan Church this spring.
He mentions the health issues surrounding both Wood and Vidro and that both players would have to be ready to play. Williams also says Wood’s huge contract could be a concern. Looking at the numbers, Wood makes $11MM in 2006 and has a $13.5MM option for 2007 with a $3MM buyout attached. Vidro will make $7MM in ’06, $7.5MM in ’07, and $8.5MM in ’08. Church makes the minimum, having played just 132 games in the bigs.
I talked to three of my Cubs sources to see if they thought this rumor had any validity. One called it "totally absurd." The another said that given Wood’s blanket no-trade clause, the rumor’s not feasible. I haven’t been able to find Jim Williams’s email address to ask him about that aspect of the deal. A third source called the rumor sounded "shaky," saying that Wood would probably approve a deal to the Astros or Rangers, but not the Nationals. He mentioned that Wood will need more than spring training to prove his shoulder is healthy, and a July trade wouldn’t be a surprise.
My thoughts on the players: Vidro’s decline is coming on fast and he may never be completely healthy again. Church will be a solid Major Leaguer if he gets the opportunity. Wood seems destined for the bullpen in the long-term, perhaps with a Gagne-like run in the cards.