As if it wasn't a forgone conclusion already, Lou Piniella seemed to close the door on any possibility of Milton Bradley returning to the Cubs next year.
On ESPN 1000's "Waddle and Silvy" show today, Piniella talked about next year's team. It seems clear that Bradley is not in the plans.
"We needed a big bat to put in the middle part of our lineup, and we thought Milton would be the one. And it just didn't work out, for whatever reason. So we move forward from there and now we try to find somebody else."
Bradley with the Cubs was never a good fit. Whether they should have known that beforehand is irrelevant at this point. The question is whether or not the Cubs will find a taker for the remaining portion of his contract, and who do is the middle of the order bat the Cubs will take on in his place.
There will be several free agent outfielders available. Jason Bay, Bobby Abreu, and Adam Dunn to name a few.
I believe the Cubs are more than one bat away from beating the Cardinals in the Central in '10. (see http://bleacherreport.com/articles/260424-breaking-up-is-hard-to-lou-cubs-piniella-needs-to-go) They will be in need of an overhaul, and a poor 2010 under new ownership may spark that overhaul.
The highest payroll in the league and two straight underperforming, playoff-less seasons would probably mean a new manager (Piniella's contract will be up) and general manager.
For now, however, both Hendry and Piniella have to hope they can tweak this team back to the playoffs for next season. Certainly sending the hapless Bradley on his way is a start.