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: Jul 23, 2007
Posted on: January 5, 2009 8:55 pm

Cubs land Bradley, address left-handed problem

Just listened to Eric Nadel, Texas broadcaster being interviewed by Dave Sims and Kevin Kennedy on MLB.xm radio. Essentially, Bradley is still a creep and very moody. Great on the field , but Texas eventually gave up trying to put him into the outfield since he is always injured.Sims and Kennedy tried to softball Nadel, but he came back with some very insightful comments. Milton is a loser, and has never helped a team get into the playoffs. Ask Ted Leitner, Padres broadcaster how he went ballistic when San Diego could least afford it in '07.For crying out loud...Ron Washington could not even make up a line up card, since he didn't know if Milton was ready to go.

Yikes this will be Sweet...Lou and Milton going at it in the friendly confines ;-o


Since: Nov 30, 2008
Posted on: January 5, 2009 8:33 pm

This is going to be horrible

Fukudome was average at best in RF.  Moving him to center will be a defensive nightmare.  Not to mention that once pitchers figured him out (pitch him high and outside) his batting numbers dropped dramatically.  Not to mention him playing next to Sorry-oh-no.  The Cubs best hope that their ptching holds up as well as last year.  And all three OF contracts will make it hard to bench or trade any of them for years to come. 

I don't know much about Miles, but losing DeRosa will mean one less OF reserve.     

Since: Oct 10, 2007
Posted on: January 5, 2009 8:27 pm

Cubs land Bradley, address left-handed problem

I like it.  I'm not worried about the fielding, and I agree that the adding some fire to the clubhouse can only be beneficial.  My one hang up on Bradley was the injury problem.  I've decided I'm OK with it; we've kept everybody important except DeRosa from a 97 win team, and the closest competition in the division lost Sabathia and Sheets.  We should be able to win the division with or without Bradley (and if we can't, we have bigger issues).  That means I don't care if Bradley can "stay on the field." I'll be ecstatic with 100+ regular season games, as long as he's ready to go for the playoffs.  To that end, I think he should be rested probably at least once every series, even when he's healthy.  I feel the same way about Rich Harden: 20ish starts is really all I want to see him make in the regular season, as long as he's ready for the playoffs. Because we are built to be able to win in the regular season without either of these guys, all we need to do is make sure they're ready and loose for prime time.

Since: Apr 1, 2007
Posted on: January 5, 2009 8:01 pm

Cubs land Bradley, address left-handed problem

Three years to a loose cannon? Boy, I sure hope they included an anger management clause in that contract. If he attacked a fan whole threw a plastic water bottle on the field what's he going to do when those balls start coming out of the bleachers in Chicago? What are they thinking by signing this guy? Guess this is just the goat coming back to haunt the Cubbies in the form of Milton Bradley. Yikes!

Since: Oct 30, 2006
Posted on: January 5, 2009 7:56 pm

Cubs land Bradley, address left-handed problem

I typically love Scott Miller's stuff but this?

"was exposed as being too right-handed at the plate during a bitterly disappointing first-round playoff loss to Los Angeles. 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."

C'mon....they were exposed as being crappy in the clutch. Our pitching was exposed as over-rated and we made infield errors giving the Dodgers chance after chance. We had good left handed power numbers from Edmonds last year and Cliff Floyd the year before. I like Bradley's passion but we're even more a lineup of #5 hitters without a leadoff man, solid #2 or #3 guy...and our pitching hasn't improved. If Bradley stays healthy, his biggest contribution would be to add some fire to the long sad faces of D. Lee and A. Ram when they're losing and the "big win" effect the Cubs have shown the past two seasons by showing up small after big wins (i.e. reading their own press clippings).

0 for the last 9 playoff wins makes me sick. Get it done in the playoffs. Good pitching shuts down good hitting. Get Peavy.

Since: Dec 6, 2008
Posted on: January 5, 2009 7:50 pm

Cubs land Bradley, address left-handed problem

This...... is a terrible signing.

a.  I would NOT want that guy in my clubhouse
b.  He never stays healthy.  NEVER

I wouldn't want Bradley on my team for free.
Just wait and see.  He didn't throw any wild tantrums last season because he was up for a deal.
This guy's picture is next to loser in the dictionary.

Since: Dec 29, 2006
Posted on: January 5, 2009 7:41 pm

Cubs land Bradley, address left-handed problem

I concur, I'd rather have Edmonds!

Since: Jun 18, 2008
Posted on: January 5, 2009 7:30 pm

Cubs land Bradley, address left-handed problem

I agree completely. This is going to turn out like the Brewer's/Gagne experience last year. Injuries and fading second half success gets you 10 million bucks? Plus putting Bradley back into a major city like Chicago should create some fireworks. I don't like it.

Since: Nov 30, 2008
Posted on: January 5, 2009 7:30 pm


The injury thing is a concern, but Milton Bradley will bring some great leadership to the Cubs. I'm a Ranger's fan and can say that I was impressed with the relationship he had with the other Ranger players. He probably wears his heart on his sleeve too much, but he was nothing like advertised the previous years by the media. If the Cubs are going to go all the way this time it will be by his bat,...that  is unless he sucumbs to that rampant "shoot yourself in the foot" disease common to Chicago post season play.

Just my opinion.

..........oh, don't think bragging about how my team sucks will justify the Cub's ills. Two wrongs do not make it right.

Since: Aug 22, 2006
Posted on: January 5, 2009 7:21 pm

Cubs land Bradley, address left-handed problem


Did Milton Bradley steal your girlfriend or something?  Do you know him personally?  Other than Jeff Kent, who seemed to beef with a lot of people, and some jackass fan in Oakland, I've always heard he'd gotten along well with teammates, etc.  Sure he has anger issues...but  a HOF jerk?  Come on...

I'm worried about his injury history, but I like the signing as long as he plays in October.  I don't mind the Mark DeRosa trade either, though I really liked his game.  He's a prime candidate to decline this year, so selling high was a good move...though I'm not exactly excited about what the Cubs got back unless they flip some of those pitchers for Jake Peavy (or someone else).  Mike Fotenot needs more AB, and a platoon with Aaron Miles will be at least as productive as DeRosa was last year...

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or