Tag Archive | "Milton Bradley"

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Ice Rink Back @ Wrigley Field — Gimme a Break!?!? Wrigley Field 11/30/10

Posted on 30 November 2010 by Lou

Driving by Wrigley Field this morning, I saw the ice rink construction already underway.  What went through my mind – disgust, frustration, anger?  Pretty much all of the above.  We continue to hear how the Ricketts Family needs the city and state to help fund the renovation of Wrigley Field to keep baseball on the north side.  We also see the Ricketts family raking in thousands of dollars with the Northwestern-Illinois Allstate Wrigleyville Classic 2 weeks ago.  Now we’re seeing another money-maker grace the Friendly Confines of Wrigley Field with the ice skating rink going up.  At the same time, we continue to hear how the Cubs need to slash payroll and keep the total salary more in the $130-135 million range instead of the $140-145 million range.  Gimme a freaking break.  This is turning into the Chicago Tribune all over again in just one year of ownership by the Ricketts Family.  Now I know that GM Jim Hendry has screwed the Ricketts with several bad contracts (Alfonso Soriano, Carlos Zambrano, Ryan Dempster, Milton Bradley-Carlos Silva, Kosuke Fukudome), but at this point, what’s another $10 million?  That extra $10 million could be used to land the likes of an Adam Dunn instead who would man 1st base for the next 3 years and slug around 40 home runs out onto Sheffield or Waveland each season.  Instead we’re going to end up with a Xavier Nady-Tyler Colvin-??? platoon.  This is a complete joke.

The Ricketts Family better right this ship soon, or we’re going to see even more people trying to hawk their tickets on the streets of Clark and Addison for pennies on the dollar in 2011 and beyond.  I wonder how many “Holiday Pax” the Cubs actually sold in the last 2 weeks.  My guess is that I can count the number on one hand…

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Quade Quotes & His Thoughts on Ryne Sandberg – Mike Quade Wrigley Field 10/21/10

Posted on 21 October 2010 by Lou

Just a few days after the Cubs hiring of Mike Quade as their new manager, I’m learning more and more about the guy that I like.  I like that he’s down to earth.  I like that he expects accountability, from himself AND his players.  I like that the players respect him and have come out to support the hire.  I like that he will rely upon the numbers and statistics, but will also manage with his gut and instincts.  An example – he told a story of how they were looking at Sean Marshall’s numbers against a particular batter late in the season.  The overall numbers were bad, but Quade decided to look deeper into the numbers and he found that Marshall had retired the batter each of the last 9 times he faced him and that most of the bad numbers occurred years ago when Marshall was used as a starting pitcher every so often.  So Quade went with his gut, used Marshall in the situation and he got the guy out again.  It’s stories like that that make you think he’s going to lead the 2011 Cubs team in a way that we haven’t seen a manager do since Lou Pinella did back during the 2nd half of 2007 and in all of 2008.  Pinella essentially gave up after that – during the Milton Bradley fiasco of a year in 2009 and when he decided to leave the team in August 2010 after an atrocious 2010 MLB season.  Something tells me that this Mike Quade guy won’t quit on the job like that – he can’t afford to if he expects to make the most of this golden opportunity.

Here are a few other quotes from Quade — “I’d loved the game and wanted to manage at this level, yeah. But when you get done playing and you’re young and you’re fired up and you’re going, ‘OK, three years, four years. I’ll start moving up the ladder and I’ll be there.’ And then, five years go by. You’re still staying after it. You love what you do. You’re teaching, working and then 10 years go by. You change your goals. All of a sudden, you’re going, ‘Wow, this is a tough gig,’ but all the while getting to do what I love to do… I talk so much about the process with the ballclub and it’s probably the same for me. If it ever get to a point where I said, ‘Gosh, am I going to get it?’ I probably would have walked away.”

Asked how he felt about the negative Cubs history — “But I’ve lived here and I was raised here. I get it. You’re totally aware of it. But it’s not going to do us any good at all as a ballclub or me as a manager or me as a person, to have that anywhere near my thoughts on a daily basis.”  That is the perfect response – let’s just hope he means it and can implement it.

As for his feelings about Ryne Sandberg potentially joining his staff at the major league level – “Having Sandberg join the staff is not impossible, that’s for sure… That would be a unique circumstance, but I’m telling you, everybody is on the table.  I would never say anybody is not available…  That would be a unique situation that Ryne and I would have to talk about. And look, by the way, he’s got other opportunities from what I understand. It’s not only what I want, necessarily, he’s got a lot of things to deal with as well. But we’ll have to see.”  That was a polite and professional way of saying, “not a chance in hell and I hope he goes elsewhere”, but what else was he supposed to say given how badly Sandberg campaigned for the job the last 4 season as he toiled and earned his stripes in the minor leagues.

However, you cut it, Quade has his work cut out for him.  The team really isn’t all that good and with payroll concerns in mind, it will be hard for GM Jim Hendry to add more valuable pieces to the puzzle from the outside.  The Cubs should still be able to draw a free agent or too into the mix (Adam Dunn at 1st base, maybe a starting pitcher or maybe a seasoned veteran reliever), but they will primarily place high expectations on some of the young players that will get considerable playing time in 2011 – Starlin Castro, Tyler Colvin, Andrew Cashner, James Russell, Jeff Samardzija, Blake DeWitt and a few others.  If they put the pieces together, and the players continue to buy into the Quade magic, who knows, maybe we’ll see a team still in contention at the end of the summer.  It’s unlikely, but stranger things have happened…

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Should Ricketts Leave Managerial Choice up to Hendry? Cubs to Host Mets in Labor Day Weekend Series – 9/3/10 Wrigley Field

Posted on 03 September 2010 by Lou

Tom Ricketts has made it very clear that GM Jim Hendry is in charge of the managerial search that will ultimately lead to the hiring of a new Cubs Manager for the 2011 MLB schedule.  Now I know that this is typically the General Manager’s job, but in the current situation,  I question whether it is the right move.  You may think this is a dumb question, but my real concerns lie with Hendry as Cubs GM and not Lou Pinella or Mike Quade as manager.  As a new owner, this is the perfect chance for Tom Ricketts to look at everyone’s performance in the organization, and that should include Hendry.  Based on Rickett’s comments though, it is clear that Ricketts has confidence in Hendry’s abilities (despite putting together a 57-win team with the highest payroll in the National League and 3rd highest payroll in all of baseball).  I am worried that Ricketts has simply assumed that Hendry is a capable GM and that there doesn’t need to be a change in that role.  I respectfully beg to differ.  Especially from a financial guy like Ricketts, it boggles my mind why he thinks that mortgaging the future of the team for the next 2-4 years with bad long-term deals constitutes a good job.

For a very long time, I have made the case that the team that Hendry has put together is not capable of being a playoff contender.  I have written numerous posts on why Hendry has not lived up to the high expectations of the Cubs General Manager.  Over the last 3-4 years, Hendry has been responsible for way to many bad deals for me to trust his judgment anymore.  It all started with the Alfonso Soriano deal back at the beginning of 2007.  Inking a “31-year old” to an 8-year deal at roughly $18 million per year over the life of the deal should have been a sign that Hendry was getting desperate.  Sure Soriano was the best free agent out there at the time and sure Hendry wanted to blow Soriano and his agents away with a “huge offer you can’t refuse”, but this was a bit much.  Hendry followed that up with a $48 million deal for a 30-year Japanese outfielder who had never played in the major leagues and then a $30 million deal for Milton Bradley because the Cubs were too “right-handed” in 2008.  The team won an NL-best 97 games in 2008 – do you think they would have won more games if they had a left-handed hitting right fielder instead of Mark DeRosa?  Following the 2009 season, with new ownership in place, Hendry’s hands were tied.  I’ll give him credit for finally moving Milton Bradley although it took a while.  Carlos Silva even turned in a solid season, but then again, when his value was highest around the All-Star Break, Hendry failed to move Silva to a team that needed starting pitching.  Even if it meant eating some one the $10 million to him in 2011, Hendry should have made that move.  He didn’t and Silva had a bad 2nd half and has since been on the disabled list with a heart issue.  During the off-season, Hendry also put a lot of energy into signing Matt Capps as a veteran right-handed reliever in the bullpen.  But when the Nationals told Capps that he would be their closer, he jumped at the chance and left Hendry grasping at straws.  Because of that gaffe (keeping his eggs all in one basket and hoping), Hendry’s Cubs team started the season with 4 rookies in the bullpen.  And with typical injury issues and typical rookie inconsistencies, this was a recipe for disaster.  Hendry always seems to be several steps behind these days, and when you’re trying desperately not to lose 90 games this season, you can’t even afford to be 1 step behind.

So while my concerns clearly don’t seem to be concerns of Tom Ricketts, I really hope he decides to take a closer look at Hendry’s job performance this off-season.  And I really hope that Ricketts plays a large role in the hiring of the new Cubs manager.  And while the new skipper won’t (can’t with the current roster assembled by Hendry) lead the Cubs to a World Series title in 2011, the new skipper will get to lay the groundwork for what kind of team he expects to lead for the next 5-10 years.  So it is a big decision.

Today, Randy Wells will take on R.A. Dickey and the Mets at Wrigley Field.  Wells is just 6-12 on the season with a 4.50 ERA.  He did pitch 6 great innings against the Reds in Cincinnati last Saturday for his 1st win since July 23rd, so he is looking to build off of that good outing and finish strong in 2010.

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Should Ryan Dempster Plunk Milton Bradley Tonight in Cubs-Mariners Game – 6/22/2010?

Posted on 22 June 2010 by Lou

Ah – the $10 million dollar question – should Ryan Dempster plunk Milton Bradley tonight in his 1st at-bat given everything t hat has transpired since the Cubs acquired Bradley in free agency during the 2009 off-season?  GM Jim Hendry made one of the worst moves of his career when he signed the troubled Bradley to a 3-year contract worth $30 million before the start of the 2009 MLB schedule.  Bradley was coming off of a career-year with the Texas Rangers(.321 batting average; .436 on-base percentage; 22 HR’s; 77 RBI’s), so the stats looked enticing.  But given the fact that he was 31 years old and given his past “issues”, it would only be a matter of time before Bradley started causing problems in the Cubs locker room and before his on-field production would start to decline because of his age.

Bradley had a horrendous season for the Cubs — .257 batting average; .378 on-base percentage; 12 HR’s; 44 RBI’s.  Some part-time players (Jake Fox) had better offensive numbers than Bradley did.  What made it worse, however, was the toll his presence took on Bradley’s teammates.  The Cubs haven’t had a player who teammates didn’t like this much since Sammy Sosa spent his days blasting his music in the Cubs locker room before each and every game.  Bradley didn’t seem to try very hard.  He never took any responsibility for his poor play.  He blamed the city for being racist and he blamed the fans for saying obscene things to him from the right field bleachers.  He never endeared himself to the city and he finally forced Cubs management to suspend him during September 2009 after he made comments that were detrimental to the team.  Later that off-season, the Cubs moved Bradley in exchange for Carlos Silva who himself had underperformed in Seattle and was under an expensive contract that no team wanted.

But back to my initial question.  While I would love for the Cubs to take it to Bradley (with a pitch right at his chest or back), it doesn’t seem to me that that would even really do anything.  If anything, it would actually help to give some life to the “lies” that Bradley has stated about the Cubs organization and the city of Chicago in general.  Bradley – at this point in another rough season for the Cubs – is an after-thought.  The Cubs have more important things to consider than what Bradley is doing during his stint with his 9th team in 11 years.  It would be better for Dempster to go out and strike Bradley out 3 or 4 times, than give him the ability to charge the mound after getting plunked by a Dempster heater.  I’d love to see Bradley swing for the fences, and then shrug his shoulders or break his bat over his thigh after he pulled off the golden sombrero of striking out for the 3rd or 4th time in the game.

Now Waddle and Silvy discussed this to the point of overkill on ESPN Radio 1000 this morning.  “Meathead” Silvy wants Dempster to plunk Bradley.  Waddle, on the other hand, was firmly against it.  So it looks like Waddle is 100% in my corner.  The Cubs need to focus on putting together a winning streak against a bad Mariners team before they return home to take on the White Sox in round 2 of the crosstown classic over the weekend on the south side.  The Cubs need to use the “Bradley factor” as a motivating force for bringing the team together in order to get back into the NL Central race – a race that is far from over as the Cards and Reds continue to plod through the dog days of summer.  Maybe this will be the 2007 Carlos Zambrano-Michael Barrett moment for this 2010 squad that will bring a team together as they make an improbable run to an NL Central title.  After Big Z popped Barrett a few times in the locker room during a game that sent the catcher to the ER (and eventually out of town in a trade a few weeks later), the Cubs bonded and played amazing team baseball for the duration of the season.  Keeping Bradley in check and getting Aramis Ramirez back on Wednesday night could be just what the cubs ordered in order to get them back on track in 2010.  Guess we’ll just have to wait and see how it all plays out…

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Milton Bradley Continues Feud with Chicago Cubs

Posted on 11 March 2010 by Lou

Milton Bradley really needs to let this go – Bradley continues to berate the Cubs and the city of Chicago in a recent interview with Colleen Dominguez of ESPN.  Bradley was a complete failure for the Cubs after signing a 3-year, $30 million deal.  Instead of being a steady run-producer that the Cubs expected he would be, he performed horribly at the plate and in the field, and became a cancer in the club house.  The Cubs finally had enough of Bradley’s antics towards the end of the season, enough so that GM Jim Hendry suspended Bradley on September 20, 2009 for the rest of the season.  Hendry invoked the suspension because of Bradley’s conduct that was deemed to be detrimental to the team.

Bradley was coming off a career year with the Texas Rangers – .321 batting average, .436 on-base percentage, 22 HR’s 77 RBI’s and 78 runs scored – when the Cubs lured him to the city of Chicago.  Right from the start, Bradley deflected questions about prior stories of his “bad attitude” problems and he often blamed other people for those outbursts and tirades.  Bradley started off the season hitting poorly and struggling with an injury and his overall offensive numbers were atrocious – 12 HR’s, 40 RBI’s, 61 runs scored and a .257 batting average in 393 at-bats.  Bradley never once took responsibility for his poor play.

After his indefinite suspension, the Cubs ultimately traded Bradley to the Seattle Mariners for Carlos Silva.  The Cubs put Bradley in their rearview mirror, but Bradley just couldn’t let it go at that.  In spring training this week, Bradley sat down with ESPN’s Colleen Dominguez and gave a scathing report on the Cubs organization and the city of Chicago as a whole.  Here are some pertinent quotes: “It was pretty bad.  I would have rather tore my knee up and gone through rehab all over again then have to deal with that… When you get paid a lot of money to play this game, they expect miracles.  And when you don’t go out there and perform like that, then people don’t like it.  People don’t want to see a guy that’s brash and cocky and a little arrogant and kind of does his own thing making a lot of money. They were like, ‘He doesn’t deserve that.'”

Bradley said race played a role.  He said he was often racially taunted when in the field and he implied that he received hate mail from within the Cubs organization – “I could see from the envelope.  I could just tell, you get an envelope, no address on it, no postmark. it’s just in your mail.  How does that get in your cubby hole? I don’t know how that happens.”  Bradley went on to express his fears for himself and his family: “I was worried about my family, about my kids.  The worst part of it all, the last straw is when I found out that my kid has been called a derogatory name at school… I was a prisoner in my own home.  I pretty much stayed at home, ordered in every day, never went anywhere.”

Bradley clearly has some issues.  The Mariners are his 8th team in 11 years.  There is a reason clubs decide to part ways with Bradley after only a short time on their squad.  We’ve also confirmed with the Cubs that fans/individuals can drop off mail to the players at Wrigley Field without any postage or return address on the mail.  Assuming the letter/package does not seem threatening, the Cubs do pass that mail onto the players.  So the fact that Bradley got letters without postage and without a return address is not all that uncommon.  And it doesn’t mean that it came from someone within the Cubs organization.  Hearing slurs at Wrigley Field is obviously inappropriate, but as an athlete, they have to accept that fans are going to do stupid things at the ballpark.  I’m sure Bradly has heard similar things in all 29 other major league cities in which he has played games.  It’s unfortunate that this occurs, but racism clearly does still exist in our country, and it doesn’t necessarily make that city “bad” as a whole.  It’s just a few “bad apples” that give the city a bad name.

The Cubs had been trying to stay clear of the Milton Bradley subject this spring, but his latest comments forced GM Jim Hendry’s hand.  He called Bradley’s assertions that the Cubs sent Bradley hate mail “absolutely ridiculous.”  He went on to say the following – “That couldn’t be farther from the truth.  I think it’s time maybe Milton looked at himself in the mirror.  It is what it is.  He didn’t swing the bat; he didn’t get the job done.  His production was the only negative, or lack of… We have a long hsitory of quality people who want to play here.  I don’t believe in the last seven or eight years, under this regime, we lost a free-agent player we wanted to keep.  And that still is the case.”  Hendry pointed out that Derrek Lee and Aramis Ramirez have both indicated that they want to end their careers here in Chicago.  The Cubs also signed 2 players this off-season – Marlon Byrd and Kevin Millar – who are represented by the Levinson brothers – Bradley’s agents.  Hendry made it clear if things were really as bad as Bradley said, it would be highly unlikely that the Levinson brothers would advocate their clients signing deals with the Cubs to play in the city of Chicago.

This is a complete waste of time.  I’m sick to my stomach writing this post – it’s probably the longest post I’ve written in about 6 months.  Hearing Bradley’s response to Hendry’s statement today just goes to show how lost Bradley is.  I can’t believe the guy even said this – wait, yes I can: “I have nothing bad to say about Jim Hendry.  He gave me $30 million.  God bless Jim Hendry and his family.”

Good riddance Milton.  We look forward to plenty of strikeouts from you in June when the Cubs visit the Mariners in Seattle.  Better keep a close eye at the plate -we wouldn’t want you to get hit…

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Shocker – Alfonso Soriano Still Dealing with Sore Knee; Hendry Must Go…

Posted on 22 February 2010 by Lou

Not sure why I’m even surprised by this, but it looks like Alfonso Soriano is still dealing with a sore knee that bothered him in 2009.  That nagging knee injury caused him to put forth one of the worst offensive years of his career – .241 batting average, .303 on-base percentage, 20 HR’s, 55 RBI’s and 64 runs.  What great production from the Cubs $18 million-dollar man.

Soriano still hasn’t run 100% on his surgically repaired knee and the left fielder has said that he is only running about 75-80% on the knee.  The Cubs opted to have Soriano hold back a little in the off-season so that he could fully test it with Cubs medical staff present during Spring Training in Mesa.  That means Soriano will need an uneventful spring in order to ensure that he is ready by opening day.  WOW!

Soriano had this to say about the situation – “I’m not running 100 percent.  That’s why I said I don’t feel 100 percent, because I’m not running 100 percent… We’ll see in one week when I test my knee running in the field.  My knee will tell me how I feel.”

Soriano also says that he is looking forward to working with Cubs hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo who mentored Soriano when he was with the Texas Rangers back in 2004.  Let’s hope the new role of being the Cubs 6th or 7th hitter will also help him relax a little more and allow him to drive in runs on a consistent basis.  “It’s a new year.  Whatever happened last year is past.  It’s 2010 now, and we have to concentrate on 2010 and see what 2010 will bring.”  It better be something better than a .303 on-base percentage and 55 RBI’s.  If Soriano doesn’t turn it around in a big way, that could lead to GM Jim Hendry’s ouster as he mortgaged the Cubs future with his Soriano, Kosuke Fukudome and Milton Bradley signings each of the last 3 seasons.  None of the 3 have produced the way Hendry and the Cubs thought they would, and Bradley isn’t even with the team anymore.  But because of the moves, the Ricketts Family has their hands tied because of the long-term nature of the deals.  The Cubs 2010 payroll is expected to top $140 million – the highest in franchise history.  If the Cubs aren’t winning in October, it’s clear that the team that Hendry has assembled isn’t up to par, and when that happens, someone needs to be held accountable.  It’s time for a change – just like the Cubs have new owners – now we need a new GM to run the team and bring a championship to the north side of Chicago!

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Cubs Win Arbitration Hearing with Ryan Theriot

Posted on 21 February 2010 by Lou

The Chicago Cubs “won” their arbitration case with Ryan Theriot, who will now make $2.6 million for the 2010 MLB schedule.  Sure $2.6 million is a lot of cash, but this is a travesty in my humble opinion.  As we argued before, GM Jim Hendry finds it so easy to shell out tons of money to over-rated, under-producing players like Alfonso Soriano, Kosuke Fukudome and Milton Bradley, and then has the nerve to fight over $800,000 with hard-working, reliable, productive players like Ryan Theriot.  The Cubs are going to rely on Theriot to play the all-important shortstop position and to bat lead-off in 2010.  This wasn’t a negotiation for a long-term deal either – it was 1 baseball season.  For the Cubs to push Theriot so hard on his contract demands for 2010 (he sought $3.4 million is his 1st year of being arbitration-eligible) should leave a bad taste in his mouth.

Hendry defended his position: “We’ve always paid players what’s fair.  I think those of you who know us know we would’ve never been in Tampa unless I thought we’d reached the highest level of fairness… I’m not mad at Ryan for wanting to go to arbitration.  He has every right to put himself on the other side of the philosophical midpoint… He’s being compensated what I thought was a fair number to begin with.  He’ll be fine.”

Baseball teams won 5 out of 8 cases heard this year, so it looks like Theriot got stuck with the wrong year to have to plead his case.  Hendry has settled 36 arbitration cases in a row during his tenure as Cubs GM.

I sure hope this doesn’t affect Theriot’s play during the upcoming season.  The Cubs need Theriot to play at the highest level right from the get-go, so hopefully he can clear his mind in Mesa during Spring Training and be ready to tackle the big leagues at Wrigley Field come April…

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Cubs Headed to Arbitration Hearing with Ryan Theriot – More Hednry Shenanigans

Posted on 17 February 2010 by Lou

It looks like the Chicago Cubs and Ryan Theriot will go through with an arbitration hearing at some point this weekend.  GM Jim Hendry is headed to St. Petersburg, Florida where it is likely that the 2 sides will have to argue the arbitration case for Theriot’s 2010 salary.  It would be the 1st time that Hendry has had to go to arbitration with a player during his tenure as the Cubs GM.

This seems so ridiculous to me.  After all the millions of dollars that Hendry was willing to shell out to busts like Alfonso Soriano, Kosuke Fukudome and Milton Bradley, why is he now fighting for a measly $800,000 (Theriot wants $3.4 million and the Cubs have offered $2.6 million)?  It doesn’t make any sense.  The guy plays every day, he hustles everyday and he is actually productive – one of the few position players that you can say that about.  This sends a really bad message from the Cubs and Hendry to other players.  I can’t believe someone hasn’t stepped in (Tom Ricketts are you there?) and told Hendry to pay Theriot (his shortstop and Manager Lou Pinella’s lead-off hitter) his money.

I really hope Theriot wins the arbitration case – he deserves it!  I can’t wait to hear Cubs fans cheer Theriot on Opening Day at Wrigley Field on April 12th against the Milwaukee Brewers…

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Milton Bradley – Chicago Nightmare Keeps on Ticking

Posted on 20 January 2010 by Lou

Even though the Cubs traded Milton Bradley a few weeks ago, he is still wreaking havoc on the city of Chicago.  Allegedly Bradley hasn’t paid rent on his luxury Mag Mile condo since October, and now his landlord and realty company are suing him to make good on what he owes.  Can you believe this?!

Bradley plays like ass all year long, despite signing a $30 million, 3-year deal at the beginning of 2009 – that works out to an approximate $43,000 per game paycheck.  To date, he owes approximately $44,100 in back rent and late fees through the month of January and he can’t find the money to pay up?  What a moron.  The landlord has vowed to pursue the damages and to keep assessing rent through the 1-year term of the lease (at $15,000 per month).  The property is located on the 24th of the Park Hyatt at 800 North Michigan Avenue.  How this guy continues to act the way he does is mind-boggling.  Does he have any agents or “handlers” to help him with these things?  It is just unconscionable…

Bradley batted .257 in 124 games for the Cubs in 2009 before GM Jim Hendry and the Cubs front office suspended him in September for conduct detrimental to the team.  At the time, the Cubs owed Bradley $20 million under the final 2 years of his contract which runs through 2011.  Bradley struck out 95 times in 393 at-bats, but he did walk 66 times to help get his on-base percentage all the way up to .378.  His 12 home runs and 40 RBI’s were a joke, however, and the Cubs had no choice but to move Bradley as far away from Chicago as possible.

Good riddance Milton – the city of Chicago and Wrigley Field are all better places now that you are now longer here…

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Jaramillo Excited to Have Byrd on Cubs in 2010

Posted on 04 January 2010 by Lou

chicago cubs marlon byrd texas rangers3

While most Cubs fans are thrilled to have a solid center fielder for the 2010 MLB schedule, new hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo may be the most excited.  Having coached Marlon Byrd in each of the last 3 seasons in Texas (his average numbers during that span are .295 batting average, .352 on-base percentage and .468 slugging percentage), Jaramillo knows exactly what Byrd brings to the table each and every day.

Here’s what Jaramillo had to say about GM Jim Hendry’s latest signing: “He made a lot of adjustments.  Every year, he got better. I’m real excited about him coming over there.  He brings a lot of energy and leadership.  He wants to win. Those are things that are going to help me out.  I talked to him the other day and I told him we’ve got our work cut out for us…  Our park was a big park with big gaps and he was outstanding covering those gaps.  He threw the ball well and accurately.  It’s what he brings to the club – his energy, he’s always working hard and playing hard.  It’s going to be good.”

Byrd set career highs in several categories during the 2009 MLB schedule – 155 hits, 20 HR’s, 89 RBI’s, 43 doubles and 146 games played.  Hendry rewarded that output with a 3-year deal worth $15 million.  Let’s hope Byrd performs well on the field in 2010 for the Cubs.  If Byrd turns out to be another one of those players who Hendry signs at the downward turn of their careers – Alfonso Soriano, Kosuke Fukudome, Milton Bradley, etc. – it could mean the end of the Hendry era as we know it following the 2010 campaign.  And that might not be a bad thing…

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