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 16, 2006
Posted on: January 5, 2009 7:02 pm

Cubs land Bradley, address left-handed problem

Bradley =  nut.  Oh, he's a strong character type that'll lead the Cubs to another... hmmmmm.... ignominious finish.

Since: Jul 11, 2008
Posted on: January 5, 2009 7:00 pm

Cubs land Bradley, address left-handed problem

Here is a perfect example of what matters more to fans...wins or the players they love.  Are Cub fans willing to sacrifice their souls to support one of the biggest jerks who has ever played the game if it means winning?  If there is a Hall of Fame of MLB jerks Bradley would be a first ballot entrant.  He can hit, hit for power, field, run, he can do it all but be a decent human being.  How is it that people who make millions of dollars a year to play a game have such a chip on their shoulder?  What does he have to be so angry about all the time?  I'm a Cubs fan but I don't know about this one.  I don't think I am willing to support this clown just to win some more games.

Since: Dec 9, 2006
Posted on: January 5, 2009 6:59 pm

Cubs land Bradley, address left-handed problem

This signing stinks. According to the article, Hendry checked into Bradley's health history before signing him. WHAT history????? Bradley has played over 120 games ONCE in his life, and has spent most of his career as a DH. What in hell makes Hendry think now all of a sudden that he can stay healthy? This signing sucks. This whole offseason has sucked. I really hope Hendry has something else up his sleeve, with trading DeRosa basically for Miles...??? Hendry betteer turn things around and quick...

Since: Dec 9, 2006
Posted on: January 5, 2009 6:57 pm

Cubs land Bradley, address left-handed problem

maybe, but burrell is a 33 year old righty who hit .250 with 33 hrs, with 86 rbis and while bradley is a  31 year oldLEFTY who hit .321 with 22 hrs and 77 rbis and had a better obp and ops, and has better speed.

while i am not saying the cubs overpaid a bit, they had to. they have enough righties who can hit over .250 and drive in more runs. they needed a lefty (key in this righty dominant lineup) who could hit and have some pop. was a must for this lineup so unfortunately, you have to overpay sometimes.

Since: Jan 19, 2007
Posted on: January 5, 2009 6:56 pm

Cubs land Bradley, address left-handed problem

I agree, he was the best hitter in the league last year, but he couldn't stay healthy.  Three/30mm for an AL team would have been a risk, for a NL team it seems way out of line.  He really had a good year here though and was well liked by teammates, so I hope I'm wrong and he continues to improve as a person anddd stays healthy.

Since: Oct 24, 2006
Posted on: January 5, 2009 6:50 pm

10 million dollar DH in the NL????

Seems like a terrible fit. The guy can rake, but can't stay healthy if he has to play the field. I like Milton, but this move makes little sense.

Since: Dec 28, 2006
Posted on: January 5, 2009 6:47 pm

Cubs land Bradley, address left-handed problem

$10 million a year for Milton Bradley (an almost $5 million dollar raise a year) to play for the Cubs compared with Pat Burrell at $8 million a year for 2 years (an almost $6 million dollar paycut) to play for the Rays. Just my opinion but I think the Cubs overpaid.

Since: Aug 18, 2006
Posted on: January 5, 2009 6:16 pm

What's with all the free swinging

I have heard this comment over and over about the Cubs.  Did anyone watch the regular season?  They were 2nd in the league (to Boston) in both walks and OBP.  They did look impatient in the Dodgers series, one of the leading factors in their choke job, but this was a team that could take a walk.  Sosa and Alou are not on the team anymore.

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