Christopher Reina. 5th January, 2009 - 6:00 pm
Milton Bradley led the American League in OPS in 2008 with a mark of .999, but he was a 1.145 hitter in Arlington and .872 on the road. Beyond the park benefits, Bradley also hit behind Josh Hamilton and was primarily their designated hitter, where he wouldn't be so frequently exposed to injury; something that has always been an issue for Bradley, whether it comes from chasing down a fly ball or arguing with an umpire.
The Cubs desperately needed a formidable left handed bat, and Bradley will deliver Lou Piniella a very good one although he has always been much better from the right side of the plate.
I think the trade of versatile Mark DeRosa, followed by the signings of Aaron Miles and Bradley have collectively weakened the Cubs. Surely they sold high on DeRosa, but they subsequently bought high (and also long) on Bradley. He has really had only one healthy season -- in 2004 with the Dodgers -- so the Cubs will be lucky to get 100 games out of him. Remaining in the American League as a designated hitter would have been good for Bradley, and $30 million over three years would look a lot better for the Rays than it does for the Cubs, who will need him to battle the wind and ivy.
Bradley was ranked 116th in FIC during the 2008 season and 'deserved' to make $8M, despite having just 414 at bats.
This market that had many good bats but with baggage defensively made things difficult for Chicago. There is tremendous upside to this move, and the franchise can withstand this kind of money, but I doubt it ends well.
Grade for Cubs: C-