On Jan. 6, 2009, Chicago Cubs GM Jim Hendry signed outfielder Milton Bradley to a three-year, $30 million contract.
At that point everyone screamed “Nooooooooooooo!!!” This was a disaster waiting to happen, and it did happen.
Not only did Bradley grossly underperform in a Cubs’ uniform, but on Sept. 20, Bradley was suspended for the rest of the season because of conduct detrimental to the team.
“Recently, it’s become intolerable to hear Milton talk about our great fans the way he has,” Hendry said. “We pride ourselves on having the greatest fans in baseball, so at this time we felt it was best to send him home for the rest of the season.”
Now, almost one year later, Hendry is looking to ship Bradley out of town. Who would possibly take on Bradley and his contract?
Let’s take a look at the pros and the cons of Bradley and what teams would be interested in trading for the beleaguered outfielder.
If there is one thing that has been consistent with Bradley’s play on the field throughout his career, it’s that the man knows how to work the count.
Bradley had a .378 on base percentage in 2009, which ranked him fifth amongst all major league right fielders. For his career, Bradley has a .377 OBP including leading the American League in OBP with a .436 mark with the Texas Rangers in 2008.
And while Bradley’s overall numbers were down in 2009, there was a period in the season where Bradley was doing what he was brought in to do—hit the baseball. From May 1 through Aug. 31, Bradley hit .281 with a .402 OBP.
He had his best month in August when he hit .308 with a .911 OPS.
Bradley is also only 31 years old, doesn’t it seem like Bradley should be older than that? I feel like he has been around forever.
But at 31, Bradley should still have a lot left in the tank.
Where do I begin? Outside of his one year in Texas, Bradley has been a problem everywhere he has been.
You name the place and you can name an incident where Bradley has costs himself a long-term contract. There is a reason why this guy hasn’t been on a team for longer than two years.
Not only does Bradley have a tough time staying on one team, but he has a hard time staying on the field once he is on that team. The most games he has played in one season is 141 with the Los Angeles Dodgers back in 2004.
He is an injury waiting to happen and of course, there is the issue of his contract. Bradley has two years and $21 million remaining on his contract. Is a team really going to take on that salary and have the risk of Bradley losing his mind 50 games into the season?
Now that we looked at the pros and cons of Bradley, let’s take a look at what teams would be interested in trading for the former Expo, Indian, Dodger, A, Padre, and Ranger.
Texas Rangers: The one place where Bradley really thrived was Texas. There has been a lot of talk recently of a reunion between Bradley and the Rangers.
Texas is a perfect place for Bradley. There is no pressure, the fans really don’t care, and Bradley can just come to the ball park and attempt to play baseball.
Bradley could serve as the Rangers’ DH, while Nelson Cruz plays left, Julio Borbon plays center, and Josh Hamilton plays right.
Tampa Bay Rays: There was talk earlier in this offseason of a Bradley for Pat Burrell swap. Outside of trading down year for down year, I really didn’t understand the trade for either team.
Burrell is less of a headache than Bradley and is more than capable of having a bounce-back-year in 2010.
And while Tampa is another good spot for Bradley to go (see Rangers above), Bradley would also present an upgrade in right field over Gabe Gross, but I just don’t see it happening.
Outside of those two destinations, I am not sure what team would have an interest in Bradley. Hendry has really dug himself a hole with Bradley.
However, I am going to say there is a 75 percent chance of the Cubs trading him just because they have to. I don’t think there is any way they can bring him back in 2010.
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