Friday, October 2, 2009

Milton Bradley in San Francisco Sounds Great, but Move Is Game Giants Can't Play

From Bleacher Report

On Sept. 26, the Chicago Tribune reported that the San Francisco Giants may be one of three teams interested in the services of talented, but troubled switch-hitting outfielder Milton Bradley.

Tribune reporter Paul Sullivan, claimed the best option for the Cubs could be a straight-up swap for Giants outfielder Aaron Rowand.

Rowand, a solid clubhouse veteran, has struggled to make a dent in his two years so far in San Francisco, especially this year.

While Rowand has hit 15 home runs and drove in 60 RBI, he leads the team with 123 strikeouts, and has only drawn 29 walks.

To make matters worse, Rowand has three years, $36 million remaining on the big contract he signed in 2008.

With better and cheaper outfielder options available such as Andres Torres and even Eugenio Velez, the Giants may be better off if they could get rid of the popular, but declining center fielder.

Getting Bradley in return though is not the solution, even if it means getting rid of somebody as unproductive as Rowand.

On paper, Bradley makes sense for the Giants. The Giants struggled mightily with OBP and OPS this season, as evidenced by their team .310 OBP and .700 OPS, which both rank last in the National League.

Even though his .378 OBP and .775 OPS are significantly down from last year, he would actually rank second on this Giants team in OBP (behind only Pablo Sandoval) and fourth in OPS.

Furthermore, his 66 walks (which would be second on the Giants) would also help a squad that most likely will finish last in the Major Leagues in walks with 384.

Yet as most baseball fans all now, while Bradley can fill a need in terms of filling statistical holes for the Giants, his personality and attitude is too much of a risk for Giants general manager Brian Sabean to take.

Bradley has worn out his welcome in almost every stop in his Major League career, despite his solid numbers.

He was pretty much booted out of Cleveland, despite hitting .321 and having a .421 OBP in his last season as an Indian in 2003.

His hometown Los Angeles Dodgers got sick of his act and let him walk after two seasons, even though he hit 19 home runs and drove in 67 RBI in 2004.

Despite having a career year in 2008 in Texas where he hit 22 home runs, had 77 RBI and sported a .436 OBP, the Rangers still didn't deem it worthwhile to make an effort to resign him to a new contract.

Unfortunately for the city of Chicago, the Cubs did give him a contract, and already, after one year, they want him gone.

You could point to Bradley's decline in almost every statistical category as the reason why Cubs fans want him out of Chicago.

However, all players have bad seasons, and with two more years remaining on his contract, you think Cubs fans would at least give him one more season to redeem his mediocre performance in 2009.

Bradley though is an exception to that kind of common thinking.

Already in one season he has proved to be a distraction. He doesn't get along with his teammates. He doesn't get along with Cubs manager Lou Piniella. And lastly, he doesn't seem to mesh with the Chicago media or fans.

This is a city where Ozzie "I can't say 10 words without insulting someone" Guillen is still managing, mind you.

I know it is tempting for the Giants to make a trade for Bradley. The change of scenery, a new, more temperate manager, and a more relaxed media scene may be able to coax a big season out of the disgruntled outfielder like it did in Texas in 2008.

When you look at the whole picture though, there are just too many question marks with Bradley. And when you consider his declining slugging numbers (his slugging percentage dropped from .563 in 2008 to .397 in 2009), and the fact that AT&T Park isn't necessarily a hitter's park like Progressive Field in Cleveland or The Ballpark in Arlington, Bradley simply isn't as enticing a commodity as he was a couple of years ago.

I sympathize with many Giants fans out there. I agree with them when it comes to trading Rowand, and acquiring a big bat to make the playoffs next season.

That being said, anybody who thinks Bradley is going to kill two birds with one stone is out of their mind. I guarantee you, if Bradley comes to San Francisco, he will only accomplish one of those "wishes" for Giants fans.

I think they can figure out which one it is.

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