Blog Entry

Cubs land Bradley, address left-handed problem

Posted on: January 5, 2009 5:45 pm

The Chicago Cubs have landed the left-handed bat they so badly wanted this winter, agreeing to terms with switch-hitting outfielder Milton Bradley on a three-year deal worth $30 million, has learned.

Bradley is due in Chicago this week for a physical examination as one of the final hurdles to finalizing the deal. The contract is expected to be formalized later this week, possibly as early as Thursday.

The move is significant for the Cubs in that a team that breezed through the NL Central and won 97 games last summer was exposed as being too right-handed at the plate during a bitterly disappointing first-round playoff loss to Los Angeles. Dodgers pitchers feasted on the Cubs' steady stream of right-handed hitters during the three-game sweep, holding Chicago to a .240 batting average and six total runs in the three games.

Bradley, whose re-emergence in Texas last season after a significant knee injury in San Diego in 2007, batted .321 with a .436 on-base percentage and a .563 slugging percentage for the Rangers last summer. His patience and selectivity at the plate are exactly what the free-swinging Cubs need.

However, Bradley, 31, also has a checkered injury history and in this, the first multi-year deal of his career, his challenge will be to stay on the field. Among the injuries that have sent Bradley to the disabled list over his seven-year career are knee, oblique, calf, shoulders and hamstrings.

In Texas last season, after serving as the Rangers designated hitter early while recovering from knee surgery last winter, he played only 165 innings in the field.

Nevertheless, by the winter meetings in Las Vegas last month, the Cubs, scouring the market for left-handed hitters, had identified Bradley as their No. 1 target. Hendry and manager Lou Piniella both have researched the volatile Bradley extensively, checking on both his injury history and several controversial incidents in which he's been involved.

Included in those are a very public feud with second baseman Jeff Kent in Los Angeles in 2005 that forced the Dodgers to trade him that winter, a bitter public disagreement with Oakland general manager Billy Beane in 2007 and the knee injury in San Diego late in the '07 season that came when manager Bud Black was attempting to keep Bradley from charging umpire Mike Winters.

Winters was subsequently suspended by major league baseball for provoking Bradley.

In the end, the Cubs decided that Bradley is a risk well worth taking. Aside from the incident with Kent, Bradley mostly has gotten along well with teammates throughout his career and been viewed positively in his clubhouses.

And to that extent, there are those with the Cubs who believe that maybe Bradley's fierce intensity will be beneficial for a clubhouse generally viewed as nice and docile.

The Cubs plan to play Bradley in right field and move Kosuke Fukudome to center. Their hope also is that Fukudome, who faded badly following a hot start last summer, will come back strong in 2008.

Specifically, the Cubs' strength and conditioning people have given Fukudome a workout regimen to follow while he trains in Japan this winter. The club thinks that a major-league season longer than the campaign in Japan caught up to Fukudome, who was in good shape entering 2008 but, in hindsight, maybe wasn't strong enough for the duration of a 162-game season.


Since: Aug 20, 2006
Posted on: January 6, 2009 1:58 pm

Cubs land Bradley, address left-handed problem

Awesome thing to put out - people forget that the Cubs have Lee, Aramis, Soto, (used to have DeRosa).... not just Soriano.

Since: Feb 3, 2007
Posted on: January 6, 2009 1:39 pm

Cubs land Bradley, address left-handed problem

I don't think the Bradley signing completely sucks.  They did address an area where they need help.  Now the DeRosa trade does suck.  The Cubs should've kept DeRosa and moved him to RF and signed Furcal since he signed the exact same contract as Bradley.  A great leadoff hitter is what the Cubs need, and a switch-hitting one is perfect.  The Cubs could then rotate Theriot and Fontenot at second base depending on the pitching matchup. 

Since: Sep 17, 2006
Posted on: January 6, 2009 1:27 pm

Cubs land Bradley, address left-handed problem

Let's give Milton a chance - can he do ANY worse than Fukudome?  No.  Lou has already shown he will sit lil' Kosuke if he is sucking, and I believe that if Reed Johnson is an answer, he may well be the starting CF, salaries be damned.  I like the signing, provided he can stay healthy - there is no guarantee of that with any player.  Harden is brittle as all get out, but the fans are loving all over him.  Give the man a chance before crucifying him.  He brings 5 tools to the table, which is more than most of the lineup.  Let's face it, if Alfonso can knock himself out for a period of time because of his stupid little dance step when he is catching a fly ball, but isn't killed for it, let's be fair.  Left and right are now set in stone, and we have 2, if not 3 guys who should be capable of playing CF - have a competition in a few weeks for that.  And Gathright is far from a waste.  Who was the last guy the Cubbies had who you could put in to pinch run and actually SCARE an opposing pitcher and have a true impact on a game?  And the guy covers more ground as a late inning defensive replacement than Fed Ex.  Now - the Cubs traded DeRosa for 3 minor league P's, presumably to go after Brian Roberts and/or Peavy.  Let Hendry get finished, people.  There is/should be more action forthcoming as spring training gets closer.  And for the record, I take Bradley for $30 mil over 3 years WAY before I take Teixeira and his $180 mil deal.  Bang for the buck is what we need with some immoveable (see Lee, D and Soriano, A) contracts.

Since: Sep 17, 2007
Posted on: January 6, 2009 12:38 pm

Cubs land Bradley, address left-handed problem

nothing makes up for shoddy defense!  NOTHING!  Defense and pitching wins.  Offense wins in the regular season but in the playoffs when 3-2 and 4-3 are common you cannot have "shoddy" defense

Since: Jan 27, 2008
Posted on: January 6, 2009 12:23 pm

Cubs land Bradley, address left-handed problem

Player with "Attitude" to win is all I said, never said he was a "Winner" -yet. But if you have ever heard him in an interview , where he doesn't have to defend himself from the volture writers , you will see he does have the "Fire" inside. He won't sit back and collect a check.

Hide your kids, lock the doors and cross the street and look the other way when Big "Z" and Bradley are coming down, Really -Don't be afraid.

Since: Oct 15, 2008
Posted on: January 6, 2009 12:01 pm

Cubs land Bradley, address left-handed problem

Great lineup shaping up to go with that insane rotation. Bradley's offense will make up for the shoddy defense.

Since: Jun 27, 2007
Posted on: January 6, 2009 11:22 am

Cubs land Bradley

Bradley adds a lefty bat with power, average and can knock in some runs.  I see him hitting 2nd behind Soriano.  For those that think Fukodome cannot play CF, you are nuts.  He was the top RF in the game last year in my opinion.  He has a cannon and can cover ground.  We added that Jody dude from KC to go in and play any position out there.  And Reed will get his ABs. So we have 5 OF, with Miles and Cedeno filling in on occasion in a pinch.  Mike F will get some ABs at 2nd base this yr. Miles can play SS as well to get Ryan some rest. We lost Derosa's versatility on Def, but gain it back with Miles, who hit .317. We lost Derosa's power, but got it back with Milton.  Lou will run the line up correctly and get the guys some rest.  Micah H will make the team, play some 1B and spell D Lee, and also DH a little against the AL.  Pitching, for those that say the Cubs staff was are crazy.  They pitched great until game one, where Ryan D walked like 7 dudes.  Just crazy stuff. We got the closer from FL, and lost Kerry Wood.  Yes a big loss. Could he really close for the full yr?  Cubs took a chance and said no, we will go and get Gregg from FL and have him pitch the 8th and sometimes 9th.  Marshall as the 5th starter is a big improvement over Jason M, and cheaper.  I think the team is better now than last year.  Their main competetion is Milwaukee, who lost their 1 and 2 starters.  We might see St Louis come back, but I think they are a yr away at least.  Cincy still young and not consistent.  Cubs can win 95 to 100 games easy and make the playoffs.  I think they might add one pitcher before 31 July.  Yes, Bradley is intense and hot tempered.  I see him adding alot to the team and if he steps out of line, Big Z will slap him in the face a few times like he did with Barrett....So, Cubs vs Yanks in the WS.  Mark it down.  Hey, could happen.

Since: Jun 27, 2007
Posted on: January 6, 2009 11:01 am

Cubs land Bradley, address left-handed problem

As a big Cubs fan, I share your concerns.  However, I think signing Bradley is an excellent move. He is a five tool player and yes, maybe a little volatile.  But, he is a guy who wants to win.  He will energize the club house and if he gets out of line, Big Z will slap him in the head and settle him down.  We now have two left hand hitting outfielders to complement Soriano who led the team in HR's, despite missing 30 or 40 games.  Fukodome will rebound and play better and with Reed Johnson to play all positions as well, there is no reason that all 4 outfielders cannot be very productive. Bradley will not have to play every day, maybe 4 or 5 days a week. We need Johnson to get some swings.  As far as the infield, agree about Derosa with the other writer.  Solid stud, but he is 33 and coming off of a career year.  We essentially replaced his power numbers with Milton, and replaced his versatility with Miles, who will play 2nd and short and 3B and he hit .317 last year. Mike F will play more at 2nd base as well.  Lee and Ramirez will play good D and anchor the corners.  Theriot hit .317 last year and I see them hitting 7th and 8th in the line up.  Two .300 hitters at the bottom to turn it over to the top.  I see Bradley hitting 2nd behind Soriano.  So...good move if not great.  Get rid of Jason and free up some money, let Marshall in as the #5 pitcher.  We need one more bull pen guy maybe. We got 3 guys from Cleveland to help at the big league or triple A level.  We still have Cedeno and we also signed that kid from KC who also plays all OF positions and can play good D, and runs well.  The team is really as good as they can be, unless we land Jake Peavy.  And never too late to think about what moves the Cubs make before 31 July.  I say Cubs and Yankees in the World Series.  Go Cubs.

Since: Oct 23, 2008
Posted on: January 6, 2009 10:54 am

Cubs land Bradley, address left-handed problem

I agree, he'll be inducted into the MLB jerk HOF immediately upon retirement.  He'll only end up playing around 120 games for you guys this year too.  He'll miss at least 30 games due to some random injury(s)  and another 10-12 games for suspensions.  Hell, you'll be lucky to get 120 games from him.  There is no way he stays with the Cubs for all 3 years either.  He'll wear out his welcome by the end of the first year.  Enjoy...Cubs fans.

Since: Sep 17, 2007
Posted on: January 6, 2009 10:35 am

Cubs land Bradley, address left-handed problem

This is not a good signing.  How quickly we forget the cancer he was in many clubhouses before.  Remember he was suspended during a Dodgers playoff run for throwing beer bottles at fans.  He tried to out run cops in a speeding ticket incident in 2003.  He criticized the signing of JD Drew because he was concerned about his playing time. Called a reporter Uncle Tom.  Accused Jeff Kent of inability to deal with black players.  Do you treat black players differently than white, hispanic or Asian?  Was traded to Dodgers because he confronted his manager for not running out a ground ball.  Was going to confront the Royal Play by Play for making comments he didn't like.  Gm had to physically stop him...This is what you are getting.  He is always injured and when healthy I would say his leadership skills are slim and none with slim on vacation.  Someone posted that the cubs are finally bringing in a winner with attitude...What has he won?  This is a bad signing that will rip apart the clubhouse before the season is over...mark my words

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