Carlos Zambrano would waive his no-trade clause

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Carlos Zambrano, who re-joined the team today, told Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times that he loves Chicago, but will waive his no-trade clause if the Cubs approach him with a potential trade. That’s awful nice of him given that he’s basically lost whatever minimal trade value he already had.

Here’s the quote, via Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune:

“Yeah,” he said. “If they come to me and say they want to trade me, I
will say ‘yes.’… If they think they need better players and need to
move you…”

Earlier today, Buster Olney of ESPN told us that the Cubs are “resigned” to the fact that if they are able to trade Zambrano, it will happen during the offseason. Even if Big Z wasn’t a headcase, he would be extremely difficult to move. Zambrano is on tap to make $17.9 million in 2011, $18 million in 2012 and has a $19.25 million vesting option for 2013.

Mike Napoli and Rays have “mutual interest” in a deal

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Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times unloaded a lot of interesting news items about the Rays last night, including a report that the Rays might have “mutual interest” in a deal with free agent first baseman/DH Mike Napoli. The Rangers declined Napoli’s $11 million option earlier this month and owe the veteran infielder a $2.5 million buyout.

Napoli, 36, had a strange year in Texas. He turned in 29 home runs, good for 11th-most among AL hitters, but finished the year batting just .193/.285/.428 over 485 plate appearances. According to FanGraphs, his -0.5 fWAR was the worst mark of his career to date, but on the bright side, he should come cheap for a team looking to swap out their veterans come spring.

Of course, the specifics of the Rays’ offseason plan have yet to be divulged — or, by all accounts from Topkin, even decided on. The club could go the refurbishment route, changing out some of their higher-paid veterans for a mix of prospects and cheaper aging players; or they could opt for a full rebuild, which Topkin cautions against as it could have a negative effect on the financing of a new ballpark. Either way, the Rays figure to offload some of their bigger contracts this winter, and will need to decide if they want to retain Alex Colome, Chris Archer, Wilson Ramos, Evan Longoria and others before pursuing any other major free agents.