Cocktail Napkin Trading
My how the sports writers love to speculate. They don't start a rumor mind you, they get a few out of context quotes to make it seem like it's from a real "the trade's just about ready to be completed" source. We all know Captain Wrongway Phil Rogers loves to do this stuff in his Sunday 'mlb whispers' column. The newest wanna-be GM rumor comes from Paul Sullivan, the Cubs beat specialist from the currently bankrupt (can I count the ways) Chicago Tribune.
Pseudo GM, 'Paul Sully-My-Reputation' pulls out the two martini cocktail napkin and draws up trade possibilities for Milton Bradley this offseason. On a bigger picture level he categorizes two "how to unload Bradley scenerios". Then he paints a classic bad contract for bad contract, real dollar salary swap with the Giants that oddly makes some sense (accent on odd).
Sully Scenerio #1:
A reverse salary dump or more accurately a salary eat and swallow (definitely not tasty). The team that will take on Bradley and the $20+ million remaining on his deal has no "bad" contracts of near equal value (because their inherently low payroll doesn't have any big contracts of similar value). Kansas City and San Diego get mentions here. KC will have 2 years remaining on Gil Meche's 5/55 deal but Meche has let everyone know he doesn't like the big market spotlight. He was a passing consideration during the 2006 off-season where the Cubs rightly preferred to sign Bulldog Teddy Roosevelt Lilly. A deal with these teams would essentially be the Cubs unloading Bradley but still paying the rest of his contract for minimal minor league talent in exchange. I'm not sure if it's worth discussing this since it's probably about the same as just releasing him and eating the collard "green"(s). The Cubs have done this before and gotten Jerry Hairston Jr., Mike Fontenot and Jose Ceda level value as players on previous trades to get bigger salary players out of town. So current GM Hendry has gotten something out of that situation before with the most value extracted from the unloading of Todd Hundley's big contract (2 years remained on a 4/24 deal) for Eric Karros and Mark Grudzielanek.
ESPN even got Padres GM, Kevin Towers to add this nearly tampering quote:
"I haven't had any calls from Jim about him," Towers told ESPN.com.
"But I think people kind of know what players we target. We have to take chances sometimes."
"We took a chance on Milton the first time we had him, and he actually played pretty well [before his knee injury].We could be in the market for an outfielder. I'm not saying it's necessarily Milton. But our experience with him was rather a positive one. It wasn't really a negative one."
So it looks like Towers is trying to 'target' ex-Cubs in a paint-by-numbers fashion, starting at #22. That makes Bradley his obvious next target. I'm thinking Ryne Sandberg will be the Padres next manager based on this logic.
Here's the inside poop from KC:
According to Royals insiders, upper management still considers Bradley a talented hitter who could thrive in a low-key environment such as the one in Kansas City.
Sully Scenerio #2:
Finding a trading partner with an ugly contract that makes a bigger financial committment than the current Bradley deal...and Sullivan seems to have found one!
So here's the punch line:
Aaron Rowand for Milton Bradley. Doing the math it's a 3/36 vs 2/21 swap. The Cubs would be on the hook for an albeit deferred, $15 million more. Hey, everybody likes Rowand and we all knows how laid back things are in northern California. Bradley would look a bit small (but comfy) in the Barry Bonds barkalounger. Hitting in front of happy go lucky Kung Fu Panda just might work for Milton.
If the Cubs want to swap bad contracts, as they did in the Hundley deal, the Giants may be Hendry's best option. Center fielder Aaron Rowand has not put up the kind of numbers expected in San Francisco and has three years remaining for $36 million.
Rowand is two years removed from a 27-homer, 89-RBI season for the Phillies and would be a good fit in the Cubs clubhouse.
(addition: and Bradley would be two years removed from a 22-homer, .321/.436/.663/.999 line in Texas)
I hope that Paul Sullivan uses the napkin on that blue cheese (from the olives) dribbling down his chin. A deal like this would make Hendry's biblical acquisitions: 3 Aaron's and 1 Moses...shouldn't the counter move really be a Pharoah Ramses II? That should get the Cubs a player who can really provide "protection" for the middle of the order (of course, that depends on how well the late Yul Brynner can hit).
One last thing...
As suspended Milton Bradley isn't with the team, I'm thinking I should be looking for him under the bus. Shouldn't players (in this case Reed Johnson) just keep their mouths shut rather than putting broken feet in them?
"Cubs fans would fall in love with him (Rowand), for sure," Cubs outfielder Reed
Johnson said. "He did well on the other side of town, and I know people
... appreciate the way he plays the game."
"But he (Rowand) takes responsibility for stuff," Johnson said. "If you ask him, he'll tell you he could be playing better than he is now."
**The Grand (where's) Waldo Hotel Bus**
Oddly, if they do get Rowand, it might just mean Reed Johnson might not be affordable as a 4th outfielder with Sam Fuld as a much cheaper option for that roster spot. With Fuld, the Cubs would be one player closer to a minyon, so that prayers for a World Series win could possibly get answered.
Well said. On one hand, I thought the HBP was a bad baseball play -- down 4 runs, put a runner on for a red-hot Fowler. On the other hand, they needed to do something -- I hadn't thought about the warning/pitching inside point. Is Hurdle that smart? He does not strike me that way. By the way -- not clear which fan base you are referring to in your "first" 3rd point.
My unsolicited opinions on topics covered in this thread:
1. I hate the fact that after 162 games, a team could be out after 1 game. However, I think the system is pretty close to perfect right now. 2 of 3 isn't feasible unless they shorten the regular season, and it ices the division winners for way too long. This creates excitement, and rewards the division winners.
Personally, I think the game could have had a very different look had the Pirates held onto the ball and tagged Fowler out on the steal in the first. Cole was clearly frazzled, but if they took that runner off the base, it could have relaxed him a lot.
Football games are played once a week. There are 16 games a year. I'm not even remotely following at all how you can compare the two leagues and playoff systems. It is physically impossible to play a home and away series. The idea of not having any road games in baseball playoffs is certainly a head scratcher.
How is not having the first and last game at home a benefit for the division winners and team with the best record? How is it not an incentive to win the division when a WC team has to blow their top pitcher?
Call me lost.
Two 97+ win teams in a do-or-die, great bullpens, overpowering starters, plenty of pop--hard to believe that game wouldn't be tense. A 4-0 lead is not a blowout, especially in that situation and with the Cubs' young bullpen. Not only would a defensive play here or there make a difference, but you get the win there also on the home plate umps strike zone (generous strike calls for Arrieta, including a couple Ks), and on Schwarber sitting on the right pitch at the right time.
I just noticed the Dodger's payroll today. It is just absurd. $300,000,000+!!
Here is where just some of their money is for 2015:
Carl Crawford $20MM
Brandon McCarthy $17MM
Bronson Arroyo $3.5MM
Darwin B $2.2MM
Dan Haren $10MM
Matt Kemp $18MM
Brian Wilson $10MM
Ryan Webb $2.2MM
Dee Gordon $2.5MM
So I think tomorrow will be the most important test of how far we can go. We can win it all with two pitchers since Arietta has shown he can carry over his success to the post season. If Lester can be dominant also then I think we can go far no matter how Hendricks or Hammel do.
And in terms of pitching just went through to see how we could maximize Lester and Arietta and came up with this (Lester would be going on 4 days rest three times and Arietta twice):
i still can't believe that crawford contract (7/142). all that loot and years for a LF'r who's entire hitting game revolves around his legs and line-drive power. those triples that raised his value are deceptive as hell to his true power, but it helped him get paid.
there's also pause about a guy who's ob% is almost totally driven by hits rather than walks. BOS got lucky unloading that crap deal.
I think the Cubs take Berry and Soler off playoff roster and add Hammel & Ramirez. Believe Maddon will find Denorfia & Jackson defense too hard to lose.
O & B: I like the one-game Wild Card heart attack game, but I'd actually like to see a best two-out-of-three LDS played in the home parks of the two division winners with the best records, and then the LCS as a best two-out-of-three in the home park of the division winner left standing with the best record, and then let's get to the World Series already.
I...don't know. If chanting would help the Cubs beat the Cardinals in the next series or ultimately the World Series I think I'd be ok with it lol. I'm not supportive of saying insulting things to opposing fans or throwing things but loud noise and chanting seems appropriate to me.
I also grew up in France though and that kind of thing is par for the course at soccer and rugby matches and I love it. I find crowds too passive here.
Enjoyable read on David Ross.
Er, they won the first one. My bad. Carry on.
With last night's win in Pittsburgh, the Cubs have tied the Pirates with 98 wins, and are only 2-1/2 games behind the Cardinals. No reason why the Cubs can't finish the post-season with the best winning percentage in baseball (regular season & post-season combined).
BOB: I doubt very much that Matt Szczur will be on the Cubs LDS roster.
If he wasn't on the Wild Card roster (when the Cubs went with 15 position players), he won't be on the LDS roster (when the Cubs will go with 13 or 14 position players).
As it is, at least one of the three RH hitting outfielders who were on the Cubs WC roster (Denorfia, Jackson, and Soler) could get bumped off the LDS roster (probably Soler).