Well the were nearing the end of baseball season, and the hot stove has started to heat up. The big trade discussion for the Cubs is where will Milton Bradley go and what will we get in return. I have heard many possible destinations including Tampa Bay, San Diego, Texas, and Toronto. The big rumor a few weeks ago was a Bradley for Burrell deal with the Cubs still eating a significant amount of salary. I am not a huge Pat Burrell fan but i would perfer just about anybody over Bradley. The latest rumor which was recently denied by Cubs officials was a Bradley for Vernon Wells trade. Now thats an interesting one, i want to take a closer look at that one. One source had confirmed that this rumor had some legs but as i said it was later denied that the Cubs had looked at Wells. But the rumor was that the Cubs and Blue Jays would split the contracts and each eat $43 million. So the Cubs would eat more money and take on a longer term contract for a player who put up similar numbers. But if you take a look its not a bad trade. Lets analyize these 2 players and see which team has the edge.
Milton Bradley- Over his 9 year career he has shown to be injury prone, accumulating over 500 AB in only 1 season. He has a career .277/.371/.450 stat line, which isnt bad he hits for decent contact and is a very patient hitter although that was his undoing this season. He had some speed early in his career but knee injuries go rid of that, and he has become an average to below average fielder. From what i watched of him this past season he would try sometimes but he made a lot of mental errors (throwing a ball in the stands with only 2 outs, losing balls in the sun etc...). But he did post career numbers in 2008 with hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo (read previous blog post to hear praise of Jaramillo) and posted a .321/.436/.563 stat line. So it makes you wonder should the Cubs try to work out their differences with Bradley. But he openly insulted the entire Cubs fan base, he got into physical arguments with Pinella and even other players said he was a distraction. But if you look at his statistical value based on Fan Graphs dollar value system he was worth $5.1 mill last season, but he earned $9 mill. So he did not earn his paycheck last season but could he next season? What is he worth for a trade? Those are all questions that we will find out over the next few months.
Vernon Wells- Over his 9 year career he has shown that he is the opposite of Bradley when it comes to health, in the past 8 years he has only accumulated less than 500 AB once and had accumulated over 600 AB 5 times in that 8 year span. Over his career he has put up a .280/.329/.470 stat line, he isnt as patient as Bradley but he has more pop and hits for simlar contact. He still has some speed, swiping 17 bags last season. but has proved to be a liability in the outfield the past 2 years. He does play CF though which is a position the Cubs are looking to improve. He struggled last season hitting his 2nd lowest batting average of his career (.260). According to Fan Graphs he was woth negative dollars last season, mostly due to his fielding, and over the past 3 years the most he has been worth is $5.5 mill. But it seems that if the Blue Jays want to move on from what is now considered a bad contract this could be a possibly good move. It would let them free up some money, and they would get a player who could potentialy hit over .300 and 20 HR. For the Cubs, he could be moved to RF to help his defense and if he works with new hitting Coach Rudy Jaramillo, plus the general boost that AL hitters get coming to the NL (excluding Milton Bradley) he could be an excelent addition. He would provide another middle of the order hitter to go with Lee, Ramirez, and Soriano. I would love to see a lineup that went
The only problem is that the whole reason the Cubs signed Bradley was to add a left handed hitter to the middle of the order to provide a balanced attack. Wells is a righty and would then cause the lineup to be 7-1 righty. So basicaly if Hendry makes this trade it defeats the whole purpose of why we got him in the first place. But Wells has a better history (3 gold gloves, 1 silver slugger, not many injuries) but he is more expensive, and has a longer contract.
I would take this trade and hope Wells plays better, i think he would offensivly but our outfield defense is shakey enough without adding Wells. If we moved him to right that could work. But this would be one of those signature trades for a GM, it can make our break you reputation. If we trade Bradley and then he does amazing the next season it makes Hendry seem impatient. And if Wells dosnt perform your stuck with another Soriano situation. But if Wells plays well and Bradley stays the same it seems like a steal. If i am Hendry i sit on this one to see if there arnt any less risky trades, although with Bradley's performance and attitude almost all the trade offers will have risk. But i think if you really need to get rid of Bradley and this is the best offer you take it. Im just not 100% sure Bradley has to go. I kind of want to see him here for 1 more year then if its bad trade him, because with one year left on his contract he would seem less of a risk and more teams would want him. At the end of discussing this im not sure what i wold do with Bradley, thats why im a fan and Hendry is GM.