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: Jan 26, 2008
Posted on: January 6, 2009 9:57 am

Reed Johnson, Jody Gatwright get left out

This seems like a tuogh signing. It was clear that the Cubs wanted more power. Alfonso Soriano, Reed Johnson and Kosuke Fukudome wasn't a wealth of power, and Milton Bradley surely adds that. But Reed Johnson is a solid outfielder, and he is now the fourth one they have. He might be on the sending block, because a simply reliable player might not be exactly what they need at the moment. I hope Bradley can fit in well with his teammates, because they have already dealt with guys who believe they should be the center of attention, like Soriano. The other question is Jody Gatwright, who was just signed, and looks to now be the fifth outfielder. 800K appears on its face to be a lot for the fifth outfielder, especially when the team looks relatively young and not likely to need tons of off days. I hope this cements to Cubs line up and gives them the power they need backing up Soriano and Derrek Lee.

Since: Jan 15, 2008
Posted on: January 6, 2009 9:55 am

Cubs land Bradley, address left-handed problem

I really question this mania for a lefthanded batter.  I mean, have the Cubs done enough to fix their crappy bullpen (no), or addressed their rotation needs (no!)?

They sure have done a great job of advertising to every other MLB team that they are desperate for lefthanded hitting.  Bra.  Vo.  Cubs. 

Where is it written that you need more than 1 lefty bat in a lineup?  Where is it written that you even need one?  Last I heard, pitchers still had to throw the ball over the plate to get outs -- unless batters are so impatient that they'll swing at anything (see: Cubs v. Dodgers, 2008).

So, once again, way to go Cubs management!  You "fixed" a problem that is largely a creation of baseball writers and "common sense" fans who otherwise can't understand how a poorly-prepared, undisciplined team could have lost to the Dodgers, and based on that one, tiny little sample, you went out and dumped a huge amount of money (that could have gone to Jake-fricking-Peavy!!) on a walking Band-Aid who happens to be lefthanded.



Since: Jan 21, 2008
Posted on: January 6, 2009 9:52 am

Cubs land Bradley, address left-handed problem

I don't care what Bradley's numbers are, with his attitude and prior history, you're just asking for trouble by bringing him in.  I hope this one doesn't come back to bite us in the butt.  You get rid of the ultimate team guy, DeRosa, and sign one of the ultimate "me" guys, Bradley.  Doesn't make me want to cheer my Cubs as much as before.

Since: Sep 18, 2007
Posted on: January 6, 2009 9:44 am

Cubs land Bradley, address left-handed problem

Well here we go. Signed a player with issues to eliminate our issues? What's wrong with getting a player that is healthy and pay him to be the savior? Bradley is an excellent hitter but thats only when he's on the field!!

Since: Apr 10, 2008
Posted on: January 6, 2009 1:28 am

Cubs land Bradley, address left-handed problem

Oh brother.  Thats all they need.  Another injury waiting to happen. 

Since: Jan 27, 2008
Posted on: January 6, 2009 1:20 am

Cubs land Bradley, address left-handed problem

Right-on Hurricane. Nothing wrong with attitude, an attitude to WIn. Milton will not let apathy happen in '09. He's a nut-but he's our nut . Go Cubs in '09. Finally a player with attitude.

Since: Jan 27, 2008
Posted on: January 6, 2009 1:13 am

Cubs land Bradley, address left-handed problem

Milton will bring the "Fire" that the Cubs missed so much last year. Can't wait till he puts Soriano in his place when they accept losing. Bradley won't let it happen. He may be a nut job, but he's our nut job now. Go cubs, finally a player with some attidude. 

Since: Aug 18, 2006
Posted on: January 6, 2009 1:10 am
This comment has been removed.

Post Deleted by Administrator

Since: Oct 5, 2006
Posted on: January 6, 2009 1:04 am

Cubs land Bradley, address left-handed problem

The only comment that I know to make is that when milton was on the A's look at his playoff numbers when he played in the series against the twins and tigers not sure what the actual numbers were but he was making solid contact almost every at bat. I was at two of the games boy was raking. That is based on fact so not sure how all the other stuff will play out injuries attitude, just have to wait and see.

Since: Sep 13, 2006
Posted on: January 6, 2009 12:17 am

Cubs land Bradley, address left-handed problem

Dude, they wanted a left handed bat. Burrell is right handed and can't play right.

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