Now that the Peavy-to-Cubs Saga is finally over, the Cubs can turn their attention to the more immediate task at hand – namely landing a solid left-handed hitter for the middle of the lineup.
As we have previously discussed, GM Jim Hendry and the Cubs are focused on Milton Bradley. Once you get past his past injury issues and temper-management issues with players, coached and fans, you find a productive out-fielder that can hit for power and get on-base at a high clip. The questions is, can you get past those aforementioned “issues”.
Bradley played in over 120 games last season for the Texas Rangers, so that should eliminate any concerns about his ability to remain productive through an entire MLB season. The Cubs also have depth in the clubhouse, so Lou Pinella has always been good at getting his starters needed rest from time to time during the season. With Alfonso Soriano, Reed Johnson and Kosuke Fukodome already set in the outfield, and Mark DeRosa able to spell some time there as well, it should be easy for Pinella to keep his outfielders fresh during the long, hot Chicago summer.
As for his temper, Bradley has been better of late. Cubs scouts have already had numerous conversations about Bradley with Rangers’ Manager Ron Washington. In addition, current Cubs hitting coach Gerald Perry knows Bradley from his days as a coach with the Oakland A’s. If the Cubs did sign Bradley, one might be concerned that he and Pinella might clash, but it would probably be worth the risk.
Now that Hendry can turn his attention to matters beyond Peavy, let’s hope they get a deal done with a left-handed hitter very soon. Raul Ibanez, a player in which the Cubs expressed some interest a few weeks back, just signed a 3-year, $30 million deal with the Philadelphia Phillies today, so time is of the essence.