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Wells for Bradley trade “has some legs”

While the Blue Jays lost pitching coach Brad Arnsberg to the Astros on Friday night, things are looking up with the rumors of a possible Vernon Wells-for-Milton Bradley trade.

According to the Toronto Sun, Chicago would be willing to split the difference on the monies owed to the two players -- Wells’ $107 million and Bradley’s $21 million -- for a difference of $86 million. Each side would absorb $43 million.

It sounds far-fetched right now, especially since the Cubs are believed to be talking to a few teams, but according to one Cubs official, the idea “has some legs.”

At least Wells played in 158 games in 2009 (most since 2003), but he turned in a lowly .260/.311/.400 line with 15 home runs, 66 RBI and 17 stolen bases. His .711 OPS was sixth from the bottom among outfielders with at least 500 plate appearances. Also, according to UZR/150, Wells has been one of the worst defensive center fielders in the sport over the past two seasons. Bradley, of course, was suspended for the rest of the season on September 20 after putting up a disappointing .257/.378/.397 line.

The clear winner here would be the Blue Jays, who would only have to pay for two years of the volatile Bradley, while Wells still has six years left on his deal. It would also give the Cubs one of the more expensive outfields in the sport, with Alfonso Soriano owed $90 million over the next five seasons and Kosuke Fukudome owed $26.5 million over the next two seasons. Each have full no-trade clauses.

It sounds improbable right now, but if the Cubs are this desperate for suitors, it would make more sense for Jim Hendry to swallow some pride and eat the $21 million owed to Bradley instead of taking on an increasingly unproductive and aging Wells. It’s not like Bradley’s is a Barry Zito-type contract. They could find a find a far more productive player than Wells for a fraction of the price.