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.
AZ Phil, has Nathan showed up in Mesa yet? Thanks.
Eickhoff looks like a good young pitcher. Lets steal him!
Manny Rondon faced 13 batters ... and got 10 to K. Not a bad day's work.
With several other Cubs hitters bailing out on curves today I think overall it wasn't being seen well. It for sure looked silly but a good breaking pitch coming at you and then breaking down isn't the easiest thing to see and has made many hitters look silly. Also Soler should have more walks this year but for quite a few called strikes that were actual balls and even the called strike he bailed on was borderline.
it's not like we're talking about a guy who's never had issues with pitch selection and seeing the ball over here. we're talking about a guy who has some rather legendary swing-and-misses at breaking stuff who's been exploited low. going forward it's worth paying attention to seeing if he can be exploited inside, too. he seriously bailed out of the box on a called strike. sure it was a good curve, but he obviously didn't see that well at all.
It would seem like he is figuring it out now and it's really coming together. Really happy for him. Joe was really protecting him from the 3rd time through the order, but as you allude to, he is earning trust to go deeper.
Wondering if has potential to become a #3 pitcher? His current stats certainly support it.
That doesn't count b/c CRUNCH didn't see it on his 60" HDTV 5 times in replay.
I have seen many players "bail out" when the ball looked like it was gonna hit them.
Especially with the advent of the splitter and pitchers that can really get the ball to dance. Marmol, Sutter, Pedro Martinez, Curt Schilling, Derek Lowe, Smoltz, Arrietta...
These guys have made the best bail out only for the ball to come over the plate and be called a strike.
No shame in that. The same way players whiff hard enough to cause them to drill a hole in the ground from spinning.
a 60" TV with slow-motion replay and multiple looks on that replay helps...a lot...
it's one thing to shy away like he did the 2nd time, it's another to bail out of the box on a called strike. that happened in the 1st one he pulled away from. he misjudged that one by a foot or so...
Good Hendricks sure is fun to watch. He was hitting all his corners today and the Phillies couldn't do anything with his changeup.
Bryant and I believe Zobrist both did that too.
Soler BB acumen and plate awareness is excellent. Not unusual for even the best players to react as if they were about to hit them, "even though they weren't that close" from your vantage point sitting on your deck, or wherever.
soler vs inside breaking balls is scary.
he's had 2 inside curve balls today where he reacted as if they were about to hit him even though they weren't that close...one he bailed out of the box on, it was a called strike.
j.urias optioned back to AAA...guess we wont be seeing him in the LAD series.
so is him actually getting 2 hits in a game (2 doubles!)...first time he's even been on base 2 times in a game since 9 games ago on his 3/4, 1bb day.
im ready for him to at least look like a 2-slot hitter since he's gonna be slotted there no matter what he does.
That Heyward move to avoid Bryant's ball hit at him was a thing of beauty too.
9 pitches in and this game already rules.
HR, double...bryant's turn (who came out to a Kris Kross song for some horrible, horrible reason).
...2 run inning...zoobrest hitting streak at 14.