The Chicago Cubs have traded underperforming, disgruntled outfielder Milton Bradley to the Seattle Mariners for starting pitcher Carlos Silva. It’s basically exchanging one bad contract for another (the Mariners will actually give the Cubs $6 million because Silva is owed $25 million over the next 2 years while Bradley is owed $21 million over the next 2 years), but at least they get Bradley out of the locker room. Bradley didn’t perform on the field and he let it get the best of him by coming up with excuses for why the Chicago Cubs are a losing organization. Bradley refused to let others in and refused to be a team player, and he was ultimately suspended for the final 15 games of the season because of his insubordination. Cubs fans can finally rejoice.
Bradley hit just .257 in 124 games for the Cubs in 2009. Bradley’s .378 on-base percentage was exceptional, but the Cubs did not sign Bradley to a lucrative 3-year deal in the off-season to watch him walk a lot. They signed him to add a left-handed bat to a right-heavy lineup, and they expected him to add a little pop and drive in some runs. He did neither, hitting just 12 HR’s and knocking in 40 RBI’s in 393 at-bats. How pathetic is that? To put it in perspective, Jake Fox in limited play (82 games and 230 at-bats) hit 11 HR’s and drove in 45 runs. What a joke. Throw in the fact that Bradley was a “cancer” in the locker room and it turned into one of GM Jim Hendry’s worst signings.
Now the Cubs are forced to take on another bad deal – Silva’s 4-year, $48 million deal signed right before the 2008 MLB season – just to make sure they don’t have to deal with Bradley’s theatrics for 2 more years. The Cubs will be on the hook for the $11.5 million owed to Silva in each of 2010 and 2011. There is a $2 million buyout on a 2012 option for the Cubs which they will certainly not exercise. Silva is known to be a very smart pitcher who has good control of the strike zone. He won’t walk a lot of batters, but he won’t strike out a lot of batters either. He puts the ball in play and relies on his defense to make the routine plays. Given the fact that Ted Lilly will not be ready to start the season in April because of his off-season surgery and a lack of dependable 5th starter penciled in, Silva could serve that role. Silva made only 6 starts in 2009 because of injuries. He made 28 starts in 2008, but had a hefty 6.46 ERA with a 1.60 WHIP. Silva’s 2 best years were with the Twins in 2004 (14-8, 203 innings pitched, 4.21 ERA and 1.43 WHIP) and in 2007 (13-14, 202 innings pitched, 4.19 ERA and 1.31 WHIP), so he does have the potential to turn it around.
Guess we’ll just have to wait and see how it all works out. We knew moving Bradley would be a lose-lose situation, but at least he is gone and now maybe Hendry will be able to focus on acquiring or signing that center fielder and/or relief pitcher that the Cubs so desperately need. Plus, keep in mind that given the following 2 statements by Hendry and starter Ryan Dempster, there was really no choice in the matter – Bradley had to go regardless of the cost…
Hendry: “The bottom line is he got off to such a bad start, and the expectations were so high for all of us, and when the expectations weren’t met and the criticism started in his direction, I don’t think he handled it well. Once you go down that path, we’re playing on the big stage, and if you want the big stage you have to be able to perform on the big stage.”
Dempster: “It’s unfortunate. At the end of the day, he was provided a great opportunity to come over here and be a part of a really great organization with a lot of really good guys, and it just didn’t seem to make him happy or anything.”
Boy oh boy…