Friday, June 12, 2009

Was bringing in Bradley a mistake?

Was the Cubs bringing in Milton Bradley over the last season a mistake?

More and more, it is starting to seem that way. The way this season has gone for him, and by extension for the Cubs, it is becoming more and more obvious that hiring Bradley as the new right fielder was the wrong move.

He wasn't exactly an angel prior to this season, during stints with the Dodgers, Indians, Athletics, and last year, the Rangers. In fact, it was his 2008 campaign in Arlington, where he batted .321 with 22 home runs and 77 RBIs in 126 games, that encouraged Jim Hendry to give him $30 million to play right field much of the time.

But prior to that, he was known as being a hothead and injury-prone. In September 2007 with the Padres, he tore his ACL while arguing with an umpire. Last year with the Rangers, he went after a Royals TV announcer because he didn't like comments the broadcaster was making up about him.

But that could have been overlooked. Chicago is a very forgiving town when it comes to passionate and colorful players (see Dennis Rodman during the 1990s with the Bulls, and to a lesser degree, Carlos Zambrano now with the Cubs).

However, that is dependent on if the player is productive and helps the team win. Big Z, while not getting into fights with teammates (see Michael Barrett incident in June 2008) and destroying Gatorade coolers, is productive, including only giving up three hits in eight innings the other night in Houston (The Cubs lost, though, thanks to that shaky bullpen and no run support, again). Bradley has yet to produce, so far only batting .224 with five home runs in only 45 games.

Today's game against the Twins showed deficiencies in other areas. While he did manage to go 2 for 4 with two RBIs, he lost a fly ball in the sun, didn't catch a blooper that cost the Cubs a run, and made a base-running error.

The biggest gaffe, though, came in the eighth inning, when after catching a fly ball from Twins catcher Joe Mauer, tossed the ball into the right field bleachers despite the catch only making it two outs. He, of course, was booed lustily by the Cubbie faithful.

Do the Cubs cut their losses and let Bradley go, perhaps letting last year's big acquistion, Kosuke Fukudome, tend to right field?

If they're smart, Wrigley Field will be the latest one-year stop for Milton Bradley.

Copyright 2009 - Wait Til Next Century

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