My worst fear this offseason was that Adam Dunn would land in Chicago with the Cubs. He has his flaws, which are widely debated (strike outs, low batting average, poor fielder), but he is remarkably consistent and would have driven in a lot of runs and got on base a lot in that line-up. Luckily, Cubs GM Jim Hendry fell in love with Milton Bradley and overpaid for him. Bradley is obviously a talented player, but his uncontrollable temper, piss poor attitude, frequent injuries and horrible defense was enough to make me smile about the signing at the time. About seven months later, I’m still smiling. The Brewers have not been playing great baseball, but they are still tied for the division lead with the Cardinals, largely thanks to Milton Bradley tearing down the Cubs from the inside.
Bradley’s Chicago sideshow started early with an ejection, a bumped umpire and a suspension, and it has only escalated since. In the last few weeks, his horrible production has been highlighted by a ball thrown into the stands with two outs, some nice blowups and an argument with his manager that led to Piniella asking him to take off his jersey and go home. Awesome. The best part? Bradley is probably going to be right there on the northside for two more years after this one!
So, while the Brewers have just been treading water lately and there are some serious issues that need addressing (namely starting pitching depth), at least we can take a step back, look at our friends to the south and feel a little bit better about our position. I grabbed a few quotes from Chicago news media and blogs about the Cubbies resident hothead for you all to enjoy the meltdown along with me.
- Phil Rogers of the Chicago Tribune — “Is Lou Piniella’s Tough Love the Way to Handle Milton Bradley” (6/27):
Seldom has an off-season strategy blown up louder.
The Cubs should have steered around the injury-prone, volatile Bradley, but he hit so well last season in Texas (.321, 22 homers, a league-best .436 on-base percentage) that it was easy to ignore the “handle with care” label.
The Cubs aren’t going to release him. They can’t trade him. They have to fix him.
Piniella and Hendry know Bradley a lot better than the rest of us. Maybe tough love is the best recipe. But from here it looks like kicking a guy when he’s down.
- Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune — “Milton Bradley uncomfortable with his fit on Chicago Cubs” (6/27):
But it’s too late to turn back now. Bradley is signed for the next 2 1/2 years, and he’s virtually untradeable.
For me, I will not boo Bradley unless he makes an egregious on-field mistake (such as tossing another ball into the stands with less than three outs). I’ll cheer his positive contributions as long as he wears the blue pinstripes. I have no doubt that he wants to win and do well, very badly. The problem is: I don’t think he knows how, how to be part of a team, how to channel that passion and aggressiveness to the team.
And I will expect nothing from him. Because that’s what he has given us so far.
Why Jim Hendry chose to sign Bradley in the face of overwhelming evidence that this was a bad idea is inexplicable.
To all those who said, “100 games of Milton Bradley is worth more than a full season of Adam Dunn“, with all due respect, in this case running the numbers don’t tell the whole story. Not one of you — not anyone — can say to me that the Cubs wouldn’t have been better off with Adam Dunn in right field up to this point in 2009, defense be damned.
The Worst Trade since Brock for Broglio … was clearly when the Cubs traded Mark DeRosa for Milton Bradley. I won’t listen to any arguments regarding this. If you disagree with me, then maybe you should try reading more blogs because you’re an idiot.
Then of course, Bradley can’t buy an extra base hit when it counts to save his life and thinks the entire world is out to get him, when all they really want him to do is hit over .250 with a little pop.
#1: Milton Bradley - from bumping the ump in his first game to tossing the ball into the bleachers with only two outs (Milton’s Boner) - there isn’t alot about Milton that isn’t excruciatingly embarrassing.
What’s for certain is the Cubs’ offseason signing of Bradley was stupidity, plain and simple.
Still, the Cubs could release Bradley and try and swing some type of Fox-Hoffpauir-Other rotation in right.
If there was ever an ill fit for a baseball team or for that matter, a city, Bradley is it. And the fact that Cubs general manager Jim Hendry was not only able to find the mis-fit, but sell it to the organization is sick genius in itself.