Tag Archive | "Milton Bradley"

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Outfield Report Card – Alfonso Soriano – D+

Posted on 07 November 2009 by Lou

Mets Cubs Baseball

Let’s take a look at our outfield – I wish we didn’t have to.  The trio of Alfonso Soriano, Kosuke Fukodome and Milton Bradley left a LOT to be desired…

Alfonso Soriano – Left Field

2009 Report Card Grade – D+ – seriously.  I was tempted to give him an F, but I just don’t think anyone who at least tries a little bit deserves an F (see Milton Bradley in a couple of days).

2009 stats – 117 games; 477 at-bats; .241 batting average; .303 on-base percentage; 20 HR’s, 55 RBI’s; 64 runs scored; 118 K’s; 40 walks.

2008 stats – 109 games; 453 at-bats; .280 batting average; .344 on-base percentage; 29 HR’s, 75 RBI’s; 76 runs scored; 103 K’s; 43 walks.

As bad as we thought 2008 was, 2009 was that much worse.  It’s almost comical.  One of GM Jim Hendry’s best/worst moves in his career.  It was a good move, because Soriano was the most sought-after free agent player at the end of the 2006 MLB schedule. Someone was going to throw a LOT of cash at Soriano and while Hendry made a big splash to get him, he also mortgaged the franchise in one of the worst baseball contracts ever.  Soriano was 31 years old at the start of the 2007 season – to give him an 8-year contract at approximately $17 million per year was a bad business decision.  Did Hendry and the Cubs really think that this guy would be worth $17 million per season at 36, 37, 38, 39?  In just his 3rd year of the contract, Soriano has already started breaking down, and the decline will likely continue.  The guys on-base percentage is barely over .300.  He hit only 20 HR’s.  55 RBI’s?  We could go on and on and we haven’t even started to take about his horrendous fielding.

I just wish Jake Fox was a left-handed hitter – then we could at least platoon Soriano and Fox in the outfield.  Or maybe the Cubs agree to eat half of the $85 million still remaining on Soriano’s contract.  Take that $40 million liability with the $10 million the Cubs will likely have to eat in order to move Bradley, and the Cubs will probably be playing 2 players around $50 million to NOT be on their roster.  That’s more than the team salaries for several major league teams – Pirates, Royals, Padres…

So long story short, Soriano will come back to haunt the Cubs for years to come.  His 2009 D+ grade is deserved.

Let’s hope Hendry can get a little creative over the next few seasons, or else Cubs fans will be forced to watch Soriano patrol left field at the Friendly Confines of Wrigley Field for 5 more years.  Yippee!

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Cubs GM Jim Hendry Asleep at the Wheel Again

Posted on 06 November 2009 by Lou

CHICAGO CUBS JIM HENDRY LOU PINELLA

Tom Ricketts 1st move as Chairman of the Cubs should be to fire GM Jim Hendry.  Enough is enough already.  After saddling the Cubs with bad, enormous contract with the recent signings of Alfonso Soriano, Kosuke Fukudome and Milton Bradley each of the last 3 seasons, now it is his inaction that has cost the Cubs a leg up on the competition.  Over the last 2 seasons, the Cubs have mentioned trying to acquire Mark Teahan from the Kansas City Royals or Jeremy Hermida from the Florida Marlins.  Now, both players are off the market because other more qualified GM’s beat him to the punch.

The Boston Red Sox and GM Theo Epstein acquired Hermida from the Marlins for 2 minor league left-handed pitchers.

The Chicago White Sox and GM Kenny Williams acquired Mark Teahan from the Royals for Chris Getz and Josh Fields.

Pretty light prices to acquire talent like that.  Is it surprising that the Red Sox have won 2 World Series titles under Epstein since 2004 and that Williams delivered a World Series title for the South Side Chicago faithful in 2005?  Not at all.

Hendry must go!!!

CHICAGO CUBS JIM HENDRY LOU PINELLA2

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Cubs Coaching Staff A-OK with Ricketts Family

Posted on 31 October 2009 by Lou

Looks like we won’t have too much change this off-season with the Chicago Cubs coaching staff.  Jim Hendry will remain the Cubs General Manager; Lou Pinella will remain the Cubs Manager; and Matt Sinatro and Mike Quade will still be the Cubs base coaches… Even though Tom Ricketts joked during Friday’s news conference that his brother Todd would be the team’s new 1st base coach, it doesn’t appear that any rash coaching changes will be made before at least 1 full season has been played at Wrigley Field under the tutelage of the Ricketts Family.

Ricketts had this to say about the staff:  “You hire people you trust and give them the opportunity to make the decisions and hold them accountable.  I think we have the right people, the right manager.  Let them do their job.  If it doesn’t happen, then we think about it next year.”

That sigh of relief you heard on the north side was from GM Hendry.  As we have discussed before, Hendry has mortgaged the franchise for the foreseeable future with horrible free agent signings each of the last 3 seasons – see Alfonso Soriano, Kosuke Fukudome and Milton Bradley.  Hendry has to be on a short leash, and he knows it.  If the team doesn’t produce in 2010, look for Hendry to be asked to leave next October.  I hope at least. But for now, it looks like everything will remain the same at Wrigley Field for 2010.  Let’s just hope the quality of play and win-loss record improves from 2009…

chicago cubs win scoreboard

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Bradley Ready to Rock N’ Roll in 2009

Posted on 10 January 2009 by Lou

The health of Milton Bradley should not concern you Cubs fans!

All throughout the Bradley pursuit, critics have questioned 2 things about the 30-year old veteran – his ability to stay healthy and his affinity towards being a “hot-head”. Today, I’ll focus on the latter – his health.

Bradley has played in over 100 games in only 3 of his 9 MLB seasons. 2 of those came in back-to-back years in 2003 and 2004 for the Cleveland Indians (his next best year to his 2008 career year) and the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (when he only hit .267 with 19 home runs and 123 strikeouts). He has reached the 500 at-bat plateau only once – in that 2004 MLB season. During the 2007 MLB season, his season was cut short after only 61 games after a bizarre incident in which he tore his ACL in an altercation with an umpire and a cooler in the dugout. And while he was ready to go for the 2008 MLB season, he played in 126 games amassing 414 at-bats. His numbers were phenomenal – .321 batting average, .436 on-base percentage, 22 home runs, 77 RBI’s and 80 walks. He credits Frank Thomas with teaching him patience at the plate during the 2006 MLB season. That has helped Bradley increase his on-base percentage in each of the last 4 baseball seasons. The only concern from 2008 was that he only played 20 games in the outfield, with the rest of his playing time coming at DH.

In the National League, there is no designated hitter. So if Bradley wants to get at-bats (obviously), then he needs to play the outfield. How many games will he play? That is a great question. The Cubs say they have done their due diligence on his health. Cubs athletic trainer Mark O’Neal examined and tested Bradley over a 2-day period in California. He passed all those tests with flying colors. The Cubs have gotten assurances from both Bradley and the Rangers (his former team) that his knee injury was a think of the past by the middle of the 2008 MLB season.

Bradley has undertaken a rigorous off-season regimen that is focused on mimicking the stresses and actions a player goes through on a daily basis during a competitive baseball game. Bradley has lost 15 pounds in the process and has strengthened his entire body. The Cubs also have depth in the outfield. Bradley will primarily play in right field, but can also play all 3 outfield positions. Kosuke Fukodome and Joey Gathright will be able to spell Bradley from time to time. And it won’t be a surprise to see Pinella go with a Fukodome / Bradley combo every once in a while to get 2 left-handed bats in the lineup against a righty. From all indications, Bradley is already ready to go for 2009. I know we’ve all heard that before, but I guess we should give him the benefit of the doubt – - at least until that first injury sidelines Bradley for a game or 2.

Let’s hope he limits his extracurricular activities (like the one shown below) too – we’d hate to see another freak Bradley injury all because he didn’t like the strike called against him in the 3rd inning of a cold game in April…

milton bradley mess.jpg

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Cubs Sign Milton Bradley To 3-Year Deal

Posted on 09 January 2009 by Lou

The Cubs have filled a big void in the middle of their lineup – finally.

Milton Bradley completed a successful physical this week to make it official. He signed a 3-year, $30 million deal, which is believed to include incentives for number of games played during the contract. As a switch-hitter, Bradley will split up the Cubs predominantly right-handed hitting lineup and will fit in just fine right in the middle of the lineup as either the 4th, 5th or 6th hitter. Bradley will also wear the “lucky #21″ – previously worn by another right fielder who left on poor terms with Cubs management, players and fans alike – the infamous Sammy Sosa.

After an injury-riddled 2007 MLB season in which Bradley only played in 61 games, Bradley out up career numbers. In 126 games and 414 plate appearances, Bradley hit .321 with 22 home runs and 77 RBI’s. More importantly, Bradley led the major leagues in on-base percentage with a whopping .436. He drew 80 walks with 112 strikeouts. One negative – he played only 20 games in the outfield, with the majority of his at-bats coming as the Rangers’ designated hitter.

How many games will Bradley play during the 2009 MLB season? It is unclear. With depth in the outfield with Kosuke Fukodome and Joey Gathright, Manager Lou Pinella may elect to rest Bradley in the late innings to keep him fresh during the long MLB season. That should allow Bradley to avoid the risk of injury that seems to follow him around.

The Bradley signing should wrap up most of the moves for the Cubs heading into spring training. There is the possibility that the Cubs look for another starter in the rotation, and that could also lead to more Jake Peavy trade rumors, but for now, the Cubs look ready to defend their NL Central Division title for the second straight year, and hope to fare better in the 2009 playoffs this fall.

milton bradley cubs.jpg

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Cubs Still Looking to Complete Moves by Week End

Posted on 05 January 2009 by Lou

After a year-end flurry of moves with the trade of Mark DeRosa and the signing of utility infielder Aaron Miles, the Chicago Cubs still plan to complete a few deals over the next few days. Both Cubs GM Jim Hendry and Manager Lou Pinella have been extremely focused on bringing in a left-handed power bat to break up all the right-handed hitters in the middle of the Cubs lineup. It looks like the Cubs have set their sights on free agent Milton Bradley – a switch-hitter who played a little bit of right field and a lot of “Designated Hitter” for the Texas rangers in 2008. His high on-base percentage and his ability to hit from both sides of the plate are attractive to the Cubs. On the other hand, he has played 100 games in the field only twice in his career and his on-field and off-field tirades give pause for concern that he could be a negative factor in the Cubs locker room. The last thing we need is another Sammy Sosa-type to bring tension to one of the best locker rooms in the major leagues. Apparently, Cubs management and players are comfortable with bringing in the fiery Bradley – as one former manager put it – Bradley’s biggest issue is that he cares too much”.

In addition to the Bradley deal, the Cubs are still shopping starting pitcher Jason Marquis. While the Dodgers have recently entered the mix to trade for Marquis, the Rockies still remain the favorites to land Marquis.

Stay tuned Cubs fans – we should have a little more information for you over the next few days…

milton bradley signs.jpg

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Cubs Set Sights on Milton Bradley

Posted on 10 December 2008 by Lou

Jake Peavy to the Cubs isn’t the only story gripping Cubs fans on the north side of Chicago.

Cubs fans are also eagerly awaiting the left-handed hitter that Cubs GM Jim Hendry is expected to sign or trade for this off-season. Several names have been mentioned, but right now, the Cubs are currently focused on free agent right fielder Milton Bradley.

Bradley is an interesting choice. He has a .280 career batting average. At the age of 30, he had his best year as a pro this past season – hitting .321 with 22 home runs and 77 RBI’s. Bradley also had the best on-base percentage in baseball in 2008 – .436 with 80 walks.

But injuries and personality have always been Bradley’s biggest issues. He has played in over 100 games in a season only 3 times in his 9-year career and he has had over 400 at-bats in only 2 seasons as a pro. In addition, he has had run-ins with players, managers and fans throughout his career, calling into question his ability to control his emotions and focus on the task at hand – playing baseball.

Some view the addition of Bradly as a positive influence in the locker room – ready to liven things up a little. But with the loss of Kerry Wood to free agency and the potential loss of Mark DeRosa in a trade for Jake Peavy, the Cubs and Lou Pinella will need to make sure they don’t lose that camaraderie in the clubhouse (a la the Sammy Sosa years). One would think that Pinella and Bradley could clash from time to time, and the question is, how will the rest of the team react. Since the Michael Barrett/Carlos Zambrano fight at the beginning of the 2007 season and Barrett’s subsequent trade to the San Diego Padres, the Cubs clubhouse has been as loose and fun as it has ever been (except for a few days in October in each of the last 2 years). With the departure of a Wood and a DeRosa and the addition of a Bradley shake up that positive atmosphere in a negative way? Is Bradley too old or injury prone? Only time will tell.

No word yet on the Peavy front, although ESPN Radio 1000′s Bruce Levine reported that a potential trade with the Padres and Phillies is as close as it has ever been. Stay tuned and bookmark MyCubsToday right now!

milton bradley.jpg

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