Bad Contracts, Milton Bradley and Other Cub Related Links

- Nick Steiner takes a look at Milton Bradley using Pitch F/X data and comes away impressed.

The fact that Bradley has such a bad year - and it wasn't even that bad
- can be placed solely on a huge drop in ISO from his previously
established norms. His plate discipline and contact skills were just as
good as they were in 08 and the year before that, and there is no
evidence that the drop in ISO is anything "real". Despite the
personality problems, teams are apparently lining up to try and steal
Bradley away from Jim Hendry because he is still a very good player.

You'll make no friends around here Mr. Steiner with that sort of reasoned analysis.

- Speaking of Bradley, he makes MLBTR's list of bad contracts along with Soriano and Aaron Miles. All the hype to date has been that the Cubs will have to take on one of those (or something similar) to move Bradley.

- Bruce Miles says the Cubs should pass on Gary Matthews Jr. and responds to my inquiry in the comments that there are indeed clubs interested in Bradley.

- Bruce Levine concurs with Chris DeLuca that a payroll around $140M for 2010 should be expected and save up for another ticket price increase. He also says the Cubs are in talks with "Tampa, Toronto and three or four other clubs with players with big contracts that they would like to move."

- Dave Cameron at Fangraphs is thinking about bad contracts as well and suggests a ratings bonanza would follow a GM summit where each team brought one bad contract and threw them into a pile. Then each team picks one from the pile and has to go home with it in what he has dubbed Bad Contract White Elephant.

- This one isn't so much Cub-centric from Geoff Young, but I thought an interesting look at how K/9 rates have increased over time and then contextualizing them for each era.

So, Lincecum had a much higher strikeout rate (by 1.71) in 2009 than
Gooden did in 1985. But taking context into account, we see that the
entire league had a much higher strikeout rate (by 1.53) in 2009 than
in 1985. In today's environment, Gooden's 8.72 K/9 from 1985 would
translate to 11.15 (i.e., 8.72/5.50*7.03), which looks more impressive
and gives us a more proper appreciation of his accomplishments.

- You can vote for the 2009 This Year in Baseball awards at MLB.com. Carlos Marmol is up for set-up man of the year (I guess), so is Michael Wuertz (whoops). Milton Bradley forgetting how many outs is up in the Oddity category along with Mr. T's 7th Inning Stretch which I don't recall and after watching, I'm not sure what was that odd about it other than another pseudeo-celeb butchering the lyrics. A little surprised not to see Randy Wells in the Rookie category(Casey McGehee is though, another whoops) or Derrek Lee in the hitter category but neither would have won anyway. You'll be shocked to learn Hendry and Lou didn't get nominations either.

- A Q&A with Cubs Minor League Player of the Year Kyler Burke at Inside the Ivy (Subscription required)

Really the biggest thing was confidence; I got
my confidence back and tweaked a few things here and there with my
swing. I worked a lot on my mental approach and just went out, relaxed
and had a good time and stayed consistent throughout the whole year.
For me, I think the mental part was huge. There are guys that can play
with the talent but you have to figure out for yourself how to take
failure and also success. You can’t get too high or too low, and that’s
a big thing. It’s nothing you can really do to get there; it just kind
of has to happen. For me, I got a lot of confidence back this year and
things went smoothly.

Burke also says he tweaked his batting stance a bit at the beginning of the year.

- For all I know, this Cubs minor league blog has been around forever, but it's new to me - Wrigley Bound.

- George Castle had an article earlier this month saying that Geovany Soto is determined to get back in shape and will be teaming up with workout fiend Ryan Dempster to do so...the article and comments also have some good things to say about Koyie Hill. Castle more recently discussed potential Wrigley Field renovations and seems to be in favor of rebuilding the entire grandstand area.

- A blast from the past as Sharapova's Thigh looks at the most undeserving Starting LIneup action figures...four Cubs make the list including the acceptable Jerome Walton, Rick WIlkins and Damon Berryhill. A Luis Salazar action figure though is a head scratcher. Supposedly there's a Marvell Wynne one as well in 1989, but not sure if that's as a Cub or Padre.

- Sam Zell says goodbye.

"I think the team should be owned by somebody who is local, somebody
who is really passionate about baseball," Zell said. "I happen to be
local. I'm not passionate about baseball, so I wish them all the best
of luck. And maybe we'll break the 101-year curse." 

- I obviously don't get the print versions of the Chicago newspapers, so apparently the Tribune debuted a new layout recently. One of the reasons is that they've fallen behind the Sun-Times in sports coverage, which is hard for me to fathom.  More importantly, Steve Rosenbloom is the grand plan to overtake them?

- This is horrible...cubs.com is having a vote for the best single season by position but only lists the standard set of BA, HR, R, RBI and SB. At the very least you have to include a column for OBP and I sure would have at least liked to have seen OPS or OPS+. They even put Sosa's 1998 up there instead of his 2001 season. I think I'll have to examine that list in a future post with a more discerning eye.

- Cubs convention tickets go on sale on November 4th and the convention will take place January 15-17.

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Comments

"His plate discipline and contact skills were just as good as they were in 08 and the year before that"

what crack are they smoking?

bradley spent off/on the entire season swinging VERY noticeably (even to a novice) on top of a lot of stuff. it's one thing to smack a grounder down the lines or the middle, but he took stuff he'd drive and turned it into worm killing grounders.

that's a weird ass conclusion to draw that his contact skills were just as good when he was unbalanced for a significant period of time...it's not like it was just a few weeks or a month or 2 in one single period.

that's just...retarded. he had the plate discipline, but his contact was far from good and nearly incomparable to what he did in 08.

I'm sure he was just referring to quantity of contact as his K% actually went down in 2009. He should have probably looked at his LD and GB% rates, along with the rest of his batted ball types to see that indeed it was of lower quality contact.

BUT FUCK YEAH....RETARD!!! (grabs pitchfork and torch)

retardation is retardation.

thanks for the explanation, though.

all im saying is it doesn't take a rocket scientist to see milton's contact woes last year...it was on display almost all season aside from a few "woah" periods.

...also, g'bye zell. he stayed out of the way and gave the cubs the highest payroll ever during his tenure. he turned out to be a good one. go figure.

Woah, wait. The Cubs are being sold?

The 1989 Wynne is a Padre.

But how the 1989 Cubs Curtis Wilkerson (which I still have) did not make the list is beyond me.

The earlier years have far more "bad" players because they actually did a starting lineup (thus their name) with 9 players for every team. In later years, Kenner just made figures for good players - although even then their are some misses. As you can imagine, predicting a team's starting lineup in the winter before the season started was difficult. In fact, I believe they had Wilkerson pegged to be a Cubs starting outfielder in 1989, not of course predicting the rise of Walton and Smith. The 1989 Starting Lineup Cubs were:

Sutcliffe
Berryhill
Grace
Sandberg
Dunston
Law
Dawson
Webster
Wilkerson

Wilkerson, Webster...(Points and laughs)

A glasses wearing Vance Law figure would be awesome...

The bad contract thing is not a bad idea. But I would modify it a little.

All teams get involved and are slotted by previous year's payroll from smallest to largest. The first team (Florida) could either pass a contract on to the next team or pass. Then that next team either passes that contract, a different contract or passes again, and so on until the Yankees get stuck with another bad deal.

I'm less and less convinced that the Cubs will be able to move Bradley, even for a bad contract. With a Wells or a Burrell, you know what you're getting. They're not volatile, like our guy. Nobody wants to get tethered to a guy for two years whom they may have to release or suspend on any given day. So I think Bradley will be a Cub for one more year, at least.

Careful what you wish for, Neal.

With Joshua gone and Jaramillo on board, there is already a welcoming committee. Lou won't like it, of course, but at this point I suspect that Lou can take a hike as far as Hendry is concerned.

As far as GMs returning Hendry's calls about Bradley, it's not surprising that they're interested in talking to him at times like these, when he's painted himself into a corner. "Give us Castro or Vitters, and we'll take Bradley off your hands and pay most of his salary." Then they can just throw Bradley in the trash whenever they feel like it.

I believe Hendry's somewhat exact words were, "as long as I'm GM and he wants the job, Lou will be the manager of the Cubs."

If they were the exact words or if even some of the phrases were close, I might be able to google this successfully. So far no luck. (Also, this seems like a dumb thing even for Hendry to say.) A little help?

it was on XM radio doing an interview on Rob Dibble's show, they repeated it about 10,000 times in a promo.

VO says something to the effect of you when you want the scoop, you go straight to the source

Dibble asks Hendry if Lou is in trouble after this year and that was Hendry's response...

I've never made up anything I've written on here before and do my best to not misrepresent anything, I wasn't going to start changing my ways today.

It occurred to me later that it must have been on radio. Usually if I miss the radio stuff, it gets reported here. TCR is great for that sort of thing. I can get all the news here. And the stuff you say, Rob, I can take to the bank.

I was just surprised to hear Hendry puffing himself up ("as long as I'm GM, etc.") what with the various contract messes he has created and a new owner addressing fans and media tomorrow.

well for all I know, right after that he said, but I could get fired tomorrow, but that's what they edited into the promo...

Lou and Hendry seem to get along quite well as did Hendry and Baker until Baker was at the helm of 90-loss season.

I'm less and less convinced that the Cubs will be able to move Bradley,
even for a bad contract. With a Wells or a Burrell, you know what
you're getting. They're not volatile, like our guy. Nobody wants to get
tethered to a guy for two years whom they may have to release or
suspend on any given day. So I think Bradley will be a Cub for one more
year, at least.

that's kind of my feeling too but I would say a team that could save substantial money (like Wells for example) would be far more open to the idea. But the Cubs of course probably don't want to take on more money...

The more I think about it, the more I get that feeling as well.

Or at least the more I am willing to give Milton Bradley another year. Especially if the alternative is a millstone contract like Rowand or Wells.

It's impossible for a team to be good with Milton Bradley in the clubhouse.

Lol...well said TRN..we all knew you'd come around.

Maybe the rest of the clubhouse is the problem. If DeRosa and Wood were the leaders, and they get replaced by Bradley who's sullen, and then they all begin to have a bad time, obviously Bradley played a part in that, but if that's what really happened it makes the rest of the guys sound like sheep.

there's an extremely unfair assumption that batting/pitching leaders are clubhouse leaders.

griffey jr. was never one in SEA and he wasn't one in CIN. that clubhouse turned into pure venom over the years culminating in dave miley having his ass handed to him and manhandled by guys like adam dunn who had about as much respect for him and his role on the club as rkelly does for a 14 year old girl.

that said, some people aren't clubhouse leaders even though their numbers and history lead clubs to wins.

dero's function for the cubs last season with the media and doing things like taking nearly all the media pressure off DLee by feeding reporters a story and 1/2 every time he opened his mouth might have been just as important as what he did with a bat...well, not that important, but dero-the-media-go-to-guy wasn't replaced by anyone in that lockerroom.

http://m.torontosun.com/11588066.1

Toronto Sun on Vernon Wells for Bradley, early but deal has legs.

Also a mention in Rotoworld:
"It's early on, but we think this one has some legs," said one Cubs official. "But they aren't the only team we are talking with." The Cubs' idea is to split the difference on Wells' $107 million over six years and Bradley's $21 million the next two years, with each team absorbing $43 million. It would take a lot of work to make a deal happen, but it may be the only way Toronto can wiggle out of the Wells contract.

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