The Chicago Tribune is reporting the Cubs don't think Luis Vizcaino is going to make their team and are looking to trade him.
I can't say as I blame them.
So what does a below average 34 year old relief pitcher have to do with the Washington Nationals? It was this:
The Cubs' chances of trading Vizcaino are slim because of the overpriced contract, though if they packaged him with a prospect, they could explore a deal with Oakland for shortstop Bobby Crosby, who makes $5.25 million and is being shopped after Orlando Cabrera signed.
"packaged with a prospect"? Wouldn't it be smart to offer to take Vizcaino off the Cubs hands, not send them another dead weight contract and essentially buy a prospect for what is now called one of the worst minor league systems in the game?
Vizcaino is owed $3.5M this year with a club option for '10 at $4m with a $500,000 buyout. The option vests if Vizcaino appears in 135 games in 08-09 or 68 in 09. Basically, $4m (as long as the FO can count!)
So, for about $3.5m (I'm subtracting the salary of the min wage guy who's losing service time because of this financial legerdemain) the Nats can get a prospect. I would also point out that you could grind this figure down a little more if you take into consideration the bonus to sign that the Nats won't have to pay.
Based on the going rate, it would have to be a pretty good one. Although, one could argue that taking a guy who's already been a pro for a year is less of a risk than any amatuer and thus has less of a risk factor reducing his value. Or you could just ask for the two for $1.75 per or three for 1.16 per specials. Here's the shopping list.
Basketball teams do this kind of thing all the time. And, I am not sure of the status of the sale, but I know the Tribue Co is in Chapter 11. I'll bet their creditors would be happy to liquidate a liability like this contract. Or the new owners, I'm sure battered by the economy and the demands of coming up with the financing for the sale, would see it as a smart short term cash flow decision.