Did Cubs Make the Right (Field) Choice?

I did the bulk of the research for this article with the idea this would be a preview on whom the Cubs should prefer as their new right fielder. Then the signing became imminent and eventually a reality, so I decided to turn this into an analysis of the newest Cub outfielder, Milton Bradley. You've probably already seen a lot of these numbers in one way or another, but why let the work go to waste?

Let's start with a look at their offensive numbers...in beautiful table form. Their ages are their 2009 baseball ages, in other words using the July 1st cutoff for their birthday. The 3-year WARP averages are a simple average, just taking the last three seasons and dividing by three, rather than weighting it by games played or anything like that. Considering it's a cumulative stat, I actually believe that's kosher.  I went with 2009 Bill James projections, but you can find MARCEL or CHONE on their fangraphs pages. Bold indicates the leader in that category.

Player
Age
2008 WARP1
3-Year WARP1
2008 OPS 3-Year OPS 2009 Bill James OPS Projection
A. Dunn 29 6.3 4.77 .899 .897 .913
M. Bradley 31 7.0 4.57 .999 .9231 .879
B. Abreu 35 5.2 6.1 .842 .847 .844
R. Ibanez 37 7.4 5.93 .846  .846 .791
N. Swisher 28 3.5 6.03 .742 .8172 .810
J. Hermida 25 3.0 2.67 .729 .771 .822
G. Anderson 37 3.5 3.27 .758 .776 .753

There's also the 39-year old Ken Griffey Jr. still out there and the right-handed Pat Burrell was out there, but there didn't seem to be the remotest of rumors on either of them with the Cubs. 

Bobby Abreu looks promising when you see the best 3-year WARP1 average, but then you see that starting from 2006 it was 7.3, 5.8 and then 5.2 last year and you have what the experts like to call a downward trend. You sell that stock, you don't buy, especially at age 353. Dunn looks to be the safest with the bat going forward, but then you look at his WARP1 scores and you can see how much his defense kills his overall value.

Defense

UZR, or Ultimate Zone Rating is now on Fangraphs and was created by Mitchell Lichtman5. RAA is Clay Davenport's system that can be found on Baseball Prospectus, which I hear will come out with a major revision this spring in the new Baseball Prospectus book. Plus/Minus system from ACTA Sports was taken from this BP article, if anyone has the Bill James Handbook, I can fill in the gaps.

Player
Age
UZR
UZR/150 3-Year UZR average RAA
3-Year RAA Average
 +/-
A. Dunn (LF) 29 -10.1  -16.3 -14 -1 -12  -23
M. Bradley 31 1.2 7.0  3.83 3 -0.3 1.2
B. Abreu 35 -25.2 -25.9 -15 -14 -8 -24
R. Ibanez 37 -12.6 -11.0 -13 1  -7.33 -18
N. Swisher 28 -1.3 -2.4 1.63 -3 2.33 Missing
J. Hermida 25 -2.6 -3 -3.77 -3 -4.67 Missing

Bradley has only played 172 games in the outfield over the last three years, but he's the only one that is a positive with the glove.   You can see just how poor Abreu's become defensively and rumors swirled that Abreu was scared of the wall at Yankee Stadium, which would only be exasperated with Wrigley's brick facade.  I think Swisher's defensive numbers get roughed up by being misplaced as a center fielder and 
Adam Dunn needs to accept his life as a DH. It worked just fine for Frank Thomas and David Ortiz (not that Dunn is quite that good a hitter).

Temperament

Much has been made of Bradley's volatile past, and for good reason, it's part of the package the Cubs are getting for the next 2-3 years. From the ESPN highlights and blurbs we're all exposed to, I'm sure a
lot of fans think Bradley is ready to go berserk on them if you just
look at him the wrong way. But this isn't a guy picking fights with
everyone he crosses paths with, rather a guy with serious anger
management issues. 
And for all the people ready to condemn him for his past, there always seems to be someone there to let us know there's more to Bradley than the "Angry Black Man". And as that ESPN.com article states, "He just thinks it's time people understand the three-dimensional person living behind the one-dimensional image."

Now the Cubs are pretty dumb at times6, but I think it's safe to assume they did their due diligence checking in with past managers, players and other acquaintences of Bradley and know exactly what they're getting themselves into. Don't forget that Dusty made a special trip back in 2005 to visit Bradley and see if the Cubs might be interested, so he's been on the Cubs radar for quite awhile. By all accounts, he gets along just fine with his teammates7 and no one seems to have ever questioned his effort between the lines. It's that effort and talent that has given him a second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth and now seventh chance...this time with the Cubs. That is not to condone his past actions, for he has crossed lines that shouldn't have been passed, but it is to forgive and move forward. Yes, when you're talking tens of millions of dollars and your favorite ballclub, it's understandable to be wary, but people do grow up and they can change and well, there are players that have probably done far worse things on the Cubs or in the league that just aren't as public.

"Judge not, that ye be not judged" 


Projections

As for the ballplayer the Cubs are getting, I think it's obvious that they went out and got the best talent available for the perceived need they had, that of a left-handed hitting right fielder. The talent that culminated in an AL leading .999 OPS last year. And before we write that off as just a passing fad on a career year, take a look at the history of players to lead the league in OPS over the year.

Go ahead and give it a scan...I'll wait a minute.

Pretty impressive list isn't it? There's not a player on there that a team wouldn't want to have in their lineup, not a fluke to be seen. It's not to say he'll ever repeat it, but it is to say that he's a pretty damn good hitter in pretty good historical company.

Of course, he's not quite that good. His projections on his fangraphs page all point to him having an OPS south of .900. There's a few good reasons for that. First, last year's .999 OPS was by far a career high and much of it was aided by a league-leading and completely unstainable .396 BABIP. How unsustainable you ask? Well, if you look at three-year averages the top three are Jeter(.367), Holliday(.365) and Chipper Jones (.361), so at the very least you're talking a 30 point drop in his average stats and it's far more likely to drop even further. Also, when he hit a flyball, 21.2% of the time it went out of the park last year. That's another career high and well above his career mark of 15.4%. It was also good for 8th in the league, mixed in with names like Ryan Howard, Alex Rodriguez, Adam Dunn, Manny Ramirez and Jim Thome and I don't think anyone is going to confuse Bradley for that type of power hitter. 

There's also of course the Ballpark effect, often cited as the Coors of the American League. It is quite kind to left-handed hitters over the years, but so has Wrigley Field. The chart below using Baseball Reference Multi-Year Park Factors seems to indicate Bradley will actually get a boost this year.

 Year Wrigley
The Ballpark
2008 106 100
2007 104 100
2006 103 101
2005 104 106
2004 103 108
2003 101 111
2002 98 106
2001 95 104
2000 97 102

 

Of course, park factors aren't all that reliable and it's best to break them up for left-handed and right-handed hitters. I believe the Bill James Handbook does that, of which I do not own a copy, but my understanding is that The Ballpark or whatever they call it these days has always been quite friendly to left-handed hitters, particularly in aiding home runs and might be a reason for that career 21.2% HR/FB rate. But Wrigley isn't too bad itself and the switch of where he plays the majority of his games won't make as much a difference as sheer rebalancing of the luck he enjoyed last season.

So yes, his numbers will most likely drop from 2008, it's actually pretty much a guarantee. But an OPS around the .900 mark would still be good for the best on the Cubs last year - Ramirez led with .898 -  and did I mention we're adding this to the best scoring offense in the NL last year?

Injury History

Moreso than his past anger issues and altercations, his past injuries should be of greatest concern. This is a player with only 500 plus plate appearances twice in his career (2004 and 2008). Leg, knee, back and I believe even a ribcage injury have all sidelined Bradley over his career. Now the Cubs of course checked his medical records and did all the appropriate tests, even so far as stating his injured right knee is stronger than his left knee.That doesn't mean it will hold up playing the field on a regular basis or another body part will fail him. But what is interesting is that even if Bradley misses half the season, he'll be worth his contract this year that pays him $7M. 

Oh, how you ask?

Well it's a bit of a leap, but the fine folks at Fangraphs have been putting together something called Value Wins and assigning a dollar value to a players performance. Here is what Milton Bradley's page looks like:

Year
GP
Dollar Value in Millions
2003 101  $12.5
2004 141 $11.0
2005 75 $6.8
2006 96  $10.3
2007 61 $10.0
2008 126 $19.4

 

The dude is so good that even when hurt he's worth more than most of the major league hitters. Let's add an extra column with a mystery players value.

Year
GP
Dollar Value in Millions
Mystery Player Value
2003 101 $12.5 $17.0
2004 141 $11.0 $17.8
2005 75 $6.8 $14.1
2006 96 $10.3 $12.5
2007 61 $10.0 $11.5
2008 126 $19.4 $5.7

Well that mystery player is the guy that I think a lot of Cubs fans felt was the safe bet, one Bobby Abreu. Once again, we clearly see the decline is skills and when you're 35 - compared to Bradley's 31 years of age - there's little hope it will improve.

So I'll give the Cubs credit on this one, for once they went with a baseball decision instead of a public relations one. They added a potential impact bat to a lineup that was already the best at scoring runs rather than a fading star or one-dimensional slugger. And while there will be a million people coiled to spring an "I told you so" the moment he hits the disabled list or a reporter, I think the Cubs are in the precarious 100-year-drought position of having to take some chances. 

Footnotes

1 -.880 OPS from the left side, 1.023 from the right side,

2 - .799 from the left side, .864 from the right side 

3 - If you play in the stock market, heed the words of one of the richest men in the world, Warren Buffet. "Be fearful when others are greedy, and be greedy when others are fearful" 4

4 - Myself, nor TCR are responsible for losing your life savings.

5 - I believe you can find the beginnings of UZR from these BBTF links.

6 - Neifi Perez, Jose Macias, Tony Womack, Freddie Bynum, Glendon Rusch, Jeromy Burnitz, Juan Pierre, Jacque Jones, Wade Miller, César Izturis, Tom Goodwin, Lenny Harris, Shawn Estes, Todd Hundley, Julian Tavarez, Willie Greene, Ismael Valdez, Ty Griffin, Earl Cunningham, etc, etc, etc.

7 - Except that racist Jeff Kent (let's see how Kent's HOF chances fare after that phrase gets a few Google hits).

8 -  Reading between the lines, it just means his left knee is in bad shape. The line for over/under on a left knee injury is officialy set at 04/12/09.

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Comments

Good stuff, Rob.

Well thought out discussion Rob.

Milton Bradley for 90 games vs. Abreu for 150 games, discuss.

I've gotta take Bradley for 90

On top of being the more talented player as of right now, he's also the better investment for the team. If we sign Abreu and he has a poor year, he will be written off as washed up and have no value. If the same happens with Bradley, teams will still be willing to take a chance on him.

Also, I sort of like the idea of Bradley not playing 100 games. Planned off days will give Fukudome more at bats, and as awful as he was post June last year, I think he will turn it around this year. Maybe he won't be as influential as we thought he could be, but if he throws up a .275 next year, he'll no longer be looked at as a bust.

Totally agree.

I just assume that Bradley only plays 90 games. Then we know he will be fresh come October when the Cubs are sitting at home watching the playoffs.

Plus we need to free up the at bats to get "grinders" in there like Aaron Miles and Doug Deeds. Maybe even find some Rf at bats for Paul Bako. He is lefthanded and all.

Abreu is older. So his perennial 300 average and 400 Obp really don't count. He could start to suck at any moment. We need a fiery part time player who is younger.

Man, are you dark about everything.

why do you follow the team at all?

Not being dark. But I'm not a kool-aid drinker either.

I'm just disapointed that we have been on the cusp, and we've taken a step back.

We just signed Cliff Floyd to a 3 year deal.

Wait - you are equating Cliff Floyd to Milton Bradley?

brilliant.

Just out of curiosity, did you read the article?

" if he throws up a .275 next year, he'll no longer be looked at as a bust."

You may be surprised to learn that Fukudome only managed to hit .279 the first half last year when he was "hot." I think it will be a miracle if he can hit .275 this year.

no he was "hot" the first month and a half, where his average flirts with .300

regardless, he sucked. i think he can pull off .275 though

based on what? The excuse for last year was he got tired. But clearly that's just wishful thinking if he already "sucked" after just six weeks.

I had never heard that he was tired

What I heard was pitchers found the hole in his swing and exploited it

The Cubs spent a lot of money on him, I'm sure they are concentrating on getting more out of him

"I think Fukudome is going to bounce back and have a good year for us," Cubs manager Lou Piniella said. "This is what I think -- I think he got tired last year. He didn't play a full season the year before in Japan. -- Lou Piniella

found here (http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20090130&c...)and scores of other sources

Lou is sort of stupid.

sooo that would make that lou's excuse
fukudome denied repeatedly being tired or fatigued

Never trust a guy who had a bad season to come out and tell you, "You know, I wasn't prepared. My bad."

Not saying that fatigue is definitely the problem (that swing is pretty funky), just saying that you don't necessarily trust the athlete to admit what the problem is--or to know what the problem is, for that matter.

How about Abreu to back up Bradley and Soriano? Maybe come February 28 he'll still be looking for a job.

Very nice analysis! I am a fan personally of the Bradley signing; it's a gamble, but what you really do is articulate that the "safe" choice, Abreu, is probably the riskiest.

Maybe GM's know this too, which is why he is still out there 2 weeks before ST.

"the "safe" choice, Abreu, is probably the riskiest."

I think the safe choice would have been pulling the trigger on the Felix Pie+ for Ibanez trade last July.

Perhaps Abreu is still out there because, as the most accomplished, durable, and consistent RF out there, he commands the biggest salary?

While it is possible DB, I just can't imagine Abreu getting anything near the 3/30 we gave to Bradley.

I think Bradley over Abreu is a huge mistake. Especially when considering

A) our apparent finances will prevent us from procuring a suitable replacement if Bradley goes down with injury ( a VERY real possiblility)

B) We have exacly ZERO legitimate MLB ready prospects to plug into RF in the event that Bradley goes down with injury ( a VERY real possibility)

Conversely I think the Abreu/Bradley age debate is a bunk issue. Bradley has the mileage on his body of a 38 year old. Abreu is still 20 SB fast and athletic enough that he was the smarter/safer play. IMHO

You're preaching to the choir here Dr. Aaron...I absolutely agree.

I hope MB proves me wrong, and he has a good, healthy season in RF.
I am skeptical.

You were skeptical about Mark DeRosa, too, right?

And Fukudome

As a matter of fact...yes, I was skeptical of DeRosa. He was a utility guy for 4 seasons at ATL, then suddenly, at age 31, he breaks out in Texas.

Generally, age 31 is not usually when a player breaks out into previously unheard of performance.
DeRo put together 3 nice seasons in a row, and I wish him luck in Cleveland.

it wasn't sudden if you look beyond the numbers to the human. there were legit and real reasons his hitting turned around and it wasn't casual lockerroom credit or 1-year-magic.

I'm sorry Crunch, was that comment on Bradley or DeRosa?
DeRosa credited working with Texas hitting coach to his turnaround, chnging his timing mechanism and his stance slightly.

Whatever he did, it worked, as his power numbers improved tremendously since 2006.

dero.

him in ATL vs. him in the box in TEX is/was night and day and that don't show up in the numbers...well, eventually it shows a little bit, but it don't tell you what happened.

he isn't now, because no one wants him

he was supposedly asking for 4/60 or something along that range, then happy with something in the Bradley/Burrell range and still no one wants him. He's a terrible defender cleary on the downside of his career.

He's not going to suddenly get better.

 

"A) our apparent finances will prevent us from procuring a suitable replacement if Bradley goes down with injury ( a VERY real possiblility)"

our financial situation is much better than it would have been if we signed abreu

abreu durable?

abreu consistant?

he's barely a RF'r the past 2 years...his arm and the area he covers has been slipping embarrassingly.

So you're arguing that Abreu is (a) not a consistently good hitter (career: .300 AVG, .405 OBP, .902 OPS) and (b) not durable (never fewer than 151 games played since '98)?

What are Sammy Sosa's numbers since '98? I am sure he could be had for less than Abreu.

How good does his range have to be playing at Wrigley? He managed 10 assists with his "slipping" arm. His range isn't what it used to be..um..at 35, most OF's range is slipping....bfd.

Abreu's a player who plays 150 games a year, and consistently puts up
.300/.380/.480, hits 20-30 HR's, steals 20 bases, and scores 100 runs, including last season.

slipping is slipping.

i'm not alone in knocking abreu's D/arm the past couple years and it was already questioned in PHI.

as far as his bat slipping...if you're into numbers i dunno how you got him hitting 20-30HR unless it's the same place you got his D scouting...years ago.

there's nothing abreu can do with a bat that bradley can't match and top in a full season's worth of play...and bradley's 4-5 years younger...not to mention a better defender than abreu even at abreu's peak years ago.

Well that is the whole point of the argument, Crunch.

If we knew that Bradley will stay healthy then obviously he is a better player.

However 10 years of Data shows us that he is 90% likely to miss a good chunk of time every year of his contract.

Mark Prior is a FAR superior pitcher to Sean Marshall or Ryan Dempster when healthy.
I don't see anyone pining for his return?

10 years of data means nothing to 2009.

neither do "ifs"...

bradley is healthy and he's not rehabbing anything. we got what we got. you don't got a guy with a shredded shoulder or someone who needs 5 cortizone shots in his knee a year (abreu, btw, had multiple cortizone shots in his THROWING WRIST in 06 and 07 while debating it at times in 08).

if bradley kept reinjuring 1 thing over and over that'd be more cause for alarm to me.

Like the analysis, thanks, Rob G.

I like the MB signing, even if it is for only 90 games, etc. The only problem I can forsee, is if Lou and him get into a disagreement or two over playing time or anything along those lines. Obviously he is going to leave it all on the field, but I just worry if they get into a time or two it starts to eat away at the team chemistry. Love the signing, love MB's talent, the aforementioned temperment is my only fear.

So the thought that the Cubs new RF is as durable as balsa wood is not a fear?
That the Cubs may have bought high?

Holy shit, did Dusty Baylor actually just use the Reply function? Breaking a 101-year streak seems so much more plausible now.

Doug, kindly go eff yourself, and have a nice day....lol

I mean yes it is. But not the primary fear. I think we will all be shocked if MB plays over 140 games this year. I have the expectation that he will play right around 100 games, and with that in mind, my primary fear is that he messes up the chemistry of the team.

ESPN 1000 radio's Bruce Levine (thru Silvy/Waddle) reporting the Rich Hill to Baltimore for PTBNL

WMVP says the Hill to BAL trade is done. For a PTBNL.

I'm not normally the grammar/spelling police, but I've seen the following misuse in a bunch of different places, and the dude will no longer abide:

weary = fatigued
wary or leery = cautious, skeptical, or distrustful

Please don't ban me.

nah thanks, rather late when I was finishing that up...

PTBNL probably a low minor leaguer (duh)

http://masnsports.com/2009/02/as-the-rotation-turn...

Bradley was a better DH than Floyd

Bradley is clearly better than Floyd.

But I imagine Floyd would put up some nice #s in Texas.

Just want to make sue: Not INTERN to Be Named Later?

The "Coors Field of the American League" is 90 percent sitting at 98F degrees average temperature at game time, and it's not a dry heat. That may explain why Ken Washington kept him out of right field a lot here in Texas. The ballpark at Arlington is pretty much protected from the wind, too. MB hit a lot into the crooked wall gap in right center. He is not a free swinger - waits for his pitch. Cubs have been getting better at that since Lou took over (K-Fu's turn this year). Home games should be well suited for Bradley, let's hope he bats third. And winning ball games (as opposed to losing at scores like 13-11 as a Ranger) can go a long way in anger manager-ment. Lou's plan is taking 3 years to take shape but I predict Dempster will not make a prediction this year.

Wonder how he'll adjust to more day games? It's an old, tired and cumbersome subject, but more than a handful of players have said that coming over to Wrigley can take a few months to a year of adjusting to playing more daytime tilts.

Bradley: .280/.370/.457
Floyd: .279/.359/.483

Bradley is better than Floyd NOW....absolutely.
Floyd was a pretty good player.

Nice analysis but has anyone ever really doubted his ability? Nope, me thinks not. The question is, will he give us 120 games a year for three? He's like Ken Griffey Jr. Plays hard, gets hurt.

It's hard to read through the 2-3 people declaring Bradley already dead to the world, a waste of money, and abreu/dunn could have been had for 1yr/5m or something similar.

the team signed the best hitter and best defender (by far) in the lot for 10m a year.

yeesh.

yeah, he's an injury concern but there is nothing anyone can point to right now to say "wow, he's gonna have to not run/sprint/lean/throw/etc. that or he's doomed!"

is he rondell white? ...a guy who could injure a new body part yearly in new and exciting ways until his body/age caught up to him?

is he "over" his injury bug?

we'll find out...until then the club picked up the best defender and hitter (except power) in the lot.

WAIT! you mean that folks would have to wait to see how the player does, FIRST!

HA! Laughable...

I agree, how can you slam someone when they signed the best available player? We'll see how it pans out.

Bradley may be the best defender, provided he plays 120-140 games.
Bradley was the best hitter....last year, for one season. The rest of his career, who knows? He's always hurt.

Is he Rondell White? No..at least Rondell White had 6 seasons of playing 120 games or more.
Bradley has a ton of talent, but until he proves he can play full time in RF, there will be doubters.

Except for last season, he couldn't carry Abreu's jock, btw...

Abreu hit 20 last year and actually had a better year than in '07, at least in terms of HRs, OPS, AVG, OBP and slugging. I'd take that slippage.

brian giles agrees.

Hell, I'd take Brian Giles and his slippage over Milton Bradley over the next 2 years. Get him out of Petco and you've got 150 games of proven production.

http://www.baseball-reference.com/g/gilesbr02.shtml

http://www.baseball-reference.com/b/bradlmi01.shtml

can i buy some weed from you?

Except it would take a court order, or some type of Congressional Resolution to get Giles out of San Diego...

you want a 38 yr-old Giles who prefers to tan and surf over playing for a pennant? Awesome call...

Bradley's a good hitter, there's no doubt about it and besides Dunn and Teixeira, the only left-handed mpact bat the Cubs could have added to an offense that was already really good. Dunn gives most of it back with his glove and Teixeira doesn't play the outfield.

The age thing bothers me alot less than the injury thing.

Bradley is the best player of the group. He just cannot stay healthy.

That is a problem in my humble opinion.

ya know...i dont think bradley is a great fit for a NL team, but you don't get guys that hit AND field like him (CF/RF is a part of his game no matter how ignored) for 10m a year with an "out" on the 3rd year.

guys like him signing contracts like this generally tiered bonuses that could drive their price up considerably paying him over 2 years what he'd make in 3 if healthy.

imo...not only is this contract cubs-favored, but it could turn out to be one hell of a deal for a CF/RF who hits like he does.

...again, IF he hits like he did last season. That was the one full season like that he's managed, over the last 8 seasons, to put together.

Until he puts together a couple of seasons like that, 2008 screams outlier.

While Crunch is soliciting weed, I'm still waiting to hear how Abreu is not consistent or durable. Opinons on who's better/a better fit aside...

he's consistently declining...

http://www.fangraphs.com/statss.aspx?playerid=945&...

his HR/FB rate use to be in the 17-18% range in Philly, it dropped to 9% in 2007 and creeped up to 13% in 2008.  At best he can keep it up in that range, more likely at his range it starts to slip (philly and yankee stadium also kind to lefties of course). His defense is near Adam Dunn levels now.

2004-2008 UZR/150  ratings:  -10.4, -6.9, -15.4, -3.9, -25.4

Um....range wise maybe, but i'd take 2 errors and 10 assists out of RF for the Cubs, even if Abreu's range isn't what it used to be.
Abreu's power is down. Ok. He still managed 20 HR's, he still hit 39 doubles, still stole 20 bases, still scored 100 runs, still drove in 100 runs.

Please list all seasons in which Milton Bradley did any of those things?
I give you the 22 HR in 2008. Then?

Well, He did have 516 at bats in 2004

And he only made 3 errors in 20 games in the OF last year.

so we know he is an awesome fielder

well yes, if I was playing a baseball classic simulator and could plug in Abreu's 2004 season, we'd call it a day. What are they going to do going forward?

Abreu is declining...badly. If anything Bradley is getting better and is still within an age range that you should expect him to maintain that. He's not gonna be a 1.000 OPS guy, but he'll easily be a .900 OPS guy and not give it all back with his glove.

Are the Cubs rolling the dice a bit? Sure, but they were already the best offense in the league last year, they can afford the risk even when Bradley goes down for awhile.

I really do hope it's the case Rob. We are ultimately all fans here. I just want the cubs to be giving themselves the best possible chance to win.

I hope Bradley holds up and is all that he can be. But you have to understand the skeptics when you see that since 2004, Bradley has played

73
94
58
and 20 games in the Outfield. I sure as hell hope that were getting Milton in RF for more than the 61 games per year that he averages. Obviously time will tell.

"Bradley will easily be a .900 OPS guy."

Rob, I am encouraged by your enthusiasm. Exactly what suggests Bradley can repeat last year's performance, which was much better than his career numbers would project him to be? I understand that he may be better than his .280/.370/.457 career line..which projects to .824 OPS btw...but why should he be expected to hit that way again? He hasn't done it before over a full season, so why expect it now.

Abreu is declining badly. His "declining badly" season of 2008 is better than any season MB had prior to 2008. His OBP is down...to averaging .370 over the last 2 seasons...and slugging about .465. Yep...terrible.

I wouldn't have paid Abreu $16 million again, but I'd have sure looked into what he'd have taken.

Trust me, I hope that I am dead wrong, that MB plays 150 games in RF, puts up
.290/.370/.490, with 25 HR's and 90 RBI's. But I will not just expect that of him since he had a career year DH'ing in 126 games last season.

a .900 OPS is a considerable dropoff for Bradley from 2008...but it's still damn good.

As for Abreu's decline, try reading the article or looking at his BP or Fangraphs page...or listening to everyone who says he can barely play the outfield anymore. If there were no concerns, he'd have a job by now.

If Bradley plays 100 games, he'll be just as valuable than Abreu's 150. If he plays more, this won't even be close.

Yes, and a .900 OPS is a long way from his career OPS of .827 isn't it?

Why doesn't MB's 2008 strike anyone else as a career season?

If the economy wasn't in the toilet, Abreu would have a job. He will not get anywhere near $16 million again, and would be foolish to expect it. He can barely play the OF anymore....ok. His range has deteriorated, at age 35. Shocker there...but he only made 2 errors, and still somehow managed to get 10 assists. If he put up the #'s from last year, and managed to not embarrass himself in RF, I'd take Abreu 7 days of the week over Bradley.

I am obviously not going to be swayed, and neither are you Rob.
I will admit I'm wrong when Bradley plays 140 games or so in RF, and is putting up a reasonable .290/.370/.450, which is more in line with his career numbers.
But to expect another .320/.436/.563? Without the benefit of DH'ing full time?

"Why doesn't MB's 2008 strike anyone else as a career season?"

I have this concern too, but I'm hoping that my silence on the subject, which will begin again immediately after this post, will help to ward off bad mojo.

I also thought DeRo was coming off a career year when the Cubs signed him, and shutting up about that worked out well for me.

Why doesn't MB's 2008 strike anyone else as a career season?

try reading the article I wrote, it pretty clear states that he won't likely repeat his 2008 numbers, no one should be expecting that.

what I'm confident is that he'll outperform Abreu on both sides of the diamond. 

I see a .290/.390/.500 line from Bradley myself....20-25 home runs probably, probably play some center field.

Of course Rob, those numbers are still much better than any he has put up in any other season.

I hope you are right...that magically he can stay healthy for 140 games, playing OF full time, putting up numbers better than his career averages..

Remember when Fukudome was sweet for like 5 games?

"After only five games, Fukudome's status among Cubs fans sits somewhere between Ernie Banks and sunshine. His reputation in Chicago is Obama-esque. If he has a good road trip, fans might commission a statue of him, apostrophes and all, by the time he gets back. A good month and Nippon Life Insurance (his personal press conference sponsor) might want to think about naming rights to Wrigley. But let's not get carried away or anything. One thing's for sure -- he's been a great addition.

If it seems like Fukudome (8-for-16 with five RBIs this season) has been a part of every positive Cubs play so far, it's true, and Saturday was no different. "

(One of the two games I've been to at Wrigley in my life, reading the recap dreaming about better days that involved Cubs wins)

This discussion wouldn't be happening if he didn't blow donkey dick.

http://chicago.cubs.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=2...

This discussion wouldn't be happening if he didn't blow donkey dick.

BWAAHAAAHAA-HAAAAA!!!

To say Kent is a racist and Bradley isn't is laughable.

Kent had problems with two of the biggest ass-holes in baseball. Barry Bonds and Milton Bradley....wow shocking.

Meanwhile Milton Bradley has spent his career using race to justify his actions calling Kent, Paul LoDuca, Billy Beane and numerous other people in baseball as racists. I love in the article you put up about Kent where Bradley says this....

"I was told in spring training I was the team leader by Paul DePodesta. By Jim Tracy. By Frank McCourt," Bradley said of the Dodgers' general manager, manager and owner. "Growing up in LA, I know how to deal with all types of people, and I do it on an everyday basis. But some people don't deal with all different types of people every day, and therefore don't know how to handle situations when they arise."

Bradley accused the media of coming to his locker first Tuesday because he is black. Kent had not yet arrived at his locker.

"At no time am I going to let somebody question my hustle, my injury or question my motivation for playing," Bradley said. "I watch him on the field, and I follow in his footsteps and the things he does on the field. As far as off the field, he has no clue about leadership.

"If you're going to be the leader of the team, then the need to mingle with the team and associate with the team. I mean, you can't have your locker in the corner, put your headphones in and sit in the corner reading a motocross magazine. He's in his own world. Everybody else is in this world."

Well except for the white man who is keeping Milton Bradley down. Or that "Uncle Tom" reporter he lashed out to. Its laughable to think the Dodgers wanted Bradley who has been kicked off teams before he arrived in LA would be handed team leader status. That is Bradleys delusional thinking.

But i like what a Dodgers fan had to say...

Oh yes, Milton. You’ve proven yourself to be quite the people person. I particularly like the way that you "dealt with" that speeding ticket you received back in 2003. Driving away from the cops proved a shrewd tactic, as you only had to serve a 3-day jail sentence for that. Throwing your helmet at umpire Bruce Froemming illustrated your ability to "handle situations" quite admirably. Complaining when JD Drew’s signing threatened to take your center field position from you was brilliant. Oh, and getting suspended during the Dodgers’ playoff run last year for assaulting fans with beer bottles was a class act through and through. What a leader!

And Bradleys idea of mingling with his teammates goes something like this..

(after an argument with Paul Lo Duca, Bradley stated, “If you don’t know me and I don’t know you, don’t approach me, and I won’t approach you”) angering many within the game.

But hey lets look into what he said about the A's after he was gone.

Just look at it, you tell me," he said. "It's a mighty coincidence that every black guy who's been there the last three years - you can go back to Jermaine Dye, Terrence Long, Mike Singleton - is gone. When I was with Cleveland, I'd ask guys, 'How do you like it here?' and they'd say, 'We can't get in a game over here, we can't stand it over here.' Then I got there, and I said, 'Man, I don't see any of that.' Then 2007 rolled around, and I started seeing it.

"I don't know how Stew (Shannon Stewart) still does it. When I was there, asking why am I not playing, I was also saying, 'Why is Stew not playing?' He was hitting .300 then, he's the only guy they got hitting .300 now. But he still can't get in there to play every day.

"He's the kind of guy who's not going to say anything, though - he'd whisper it to me - but he's not going to say it out loud. I'm the type of guy who would say it out loud: Are you trying to win around here or are you trying to save a dollar? But I don't have to worry about that now."

Entire A's organization is racist, Milton Bradley a fucking saint. And 2nd Shannon Stewart played 146 games getting 576 AB's. Maybe someone would like to explain to Bradley what playing every day looks like.

Bradley loves to flip the race card to make excuses for his actions like it is some sort of free pass. Yet he is the one constantly looking for a new team.

You keep hearing he is a fiery team-mate that just wants to win, but you hear plenty of reports of him not hustling and players getting pissed at him for doing it. Basically Milton plays as hard as he wants to, kinda like Manny Ramirez, and fuck anyone who questions his hustle.

Wait he did question Eric Byrnes...

Milton Bradley says of Eric Byrnes (in Sports Illustrated), "He's an example of what I call false hustle." I have to agree. What's more childish and phony than a major-league ballplayer who runs hard all the time, shows enthusiasm and pretends to actually enjoy playing baseball for millions of dollars? Milton you really are a complete idiot. Thank god Beane shipped your ass out of town! What a douche.

Kent only question Bradley's hustle and in return got called a racist by probably the biggest racist baseball, and his name is Milton Bradley.

bradley called out kent for being a selfish guy who cashes a check and shows up...even bonds didn't call his ass out on it because dustbag always handled that crap (until it boiled over).

jeff kent is one of the most insignificant teammates in the history of the game...if he was an asshole he'd be more notorious, but as it is he just "did his thing" and no one cared (especially the media) to call out this thing everyone knew about. he wasn't a teammate, he was a guy who took the field with you because he was paid to.

bradley wants to lead, but he's not a leader...it don't stop him from calling people out and no matter what we think of him...he's right about a lot of people/things he's calling out about teammates...we just don't like the guy bringing the message.

btw, i think you're taking liberties with the "milton being racist" stuff, esp. in relation to calling players out even if he's hypersensitive, himself.

If my memory serves me, wasn't it Jeff Kent who called out MILTON for not hustling?

That in itself would lead you to believe that Jeff Kent actually cared about the team, and wasn't some selfish "Me" player. If Jeff Kent didn't care about the team then why the hell would he call Milton out.

Milton's reaction was that he didn't like to be called out. The race thing was just Milton being Milton.

Oh, and Jeff Kent is a sure fire HOFer. Milton Bradley never will be.

jeff kent's clubhouse story is a long non-reported one of selfishness.

it's amazing...you can go to almost every team kent has played for and very few of his former teammates can tell you much about him. he don't have many baseball friends and the concesus is he doesn't want any.

jeff kent calling out anyone usually results in people telling jeff kent to mind his own business rather than pretending to care about baseball at random moments.

barry bonds didnt jump all over kent because of 1 single incident and 1 single thing said.

I think maybe Mike C may have been saying, " Hey Milton, look in a freaking mirror, shut your piehole, and play the effing game please."

...or something like that...

you don't get that with milton...just like you don't get a lockerroom teammate with kent or a non-media-whore with Arod.

if milton sees something that bugs him chances are we'll hear about it.

fwiw...for all the lockerroom shaking he's done he's generally come out on top and supported by his teammates.

that said, the cubs lockerroom doesn't seem to be a problem clubhouse, but it has lost 2 vocal semi-leaders in dero and wood. the rearranging of the clubhouse power structure is definitely worth watching in 09.

Very nice blogical, Rob G. I don't see any problem with averaging WARP - it's a season based stat. No mention of him stirring up the clubhouse, which Lou is allegedly looking for, is my only small quibble.

I still think that his HR/FB ratio wasn't that far out of line, considering it's his first chance playing in a 'hitters ballpark.' He hits the ball really hard.

A late thanks for your efforts here, Rob.

ESPN (TV) says the White Sox have offered Abreu a contract.

here is the source of the Abreau rumor

apparently it was 1/8...but who knows how desperate he will get.

not sure it makes sense, Quentin, Dye, Thome...not much room for him unless they have a Dye trade arranged.

http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/baseball/2009/02...

maybe they have a deal for Dye then can make and seeing if they can get Abreu on a cheap deal...not a bad move. It's still more than Bradley will get paid this year.

Yep..it's more than Bradley will get paid this year...because Abreu has shown that he will be there for 150 games a season, and does not have a reputation for being a confrontational hothead.

he does have a reputation for being bad in the outfield, scared of the wall and self-centered, non-team player though...

Yep...I'll take a "self-centered non team player" who shows up every game, posts good numbers, and while his range is diminished in RF, at least he will be there for more than 90 games. Oh...and Abreu also shows that he can still steal bases and take plenty of walks.

Again...I will be the first to admit I'm wrong when Bradley plays 140 games in the OF, hitting somewhere near his career numbers even...

there was a rumor that the Angels would be interested in Dye but the WSox wanted Figgins back. Not sure if that makes sense for the Angels though unless they're going with Brandon Wood at 3B.

fwiw, there's nothing to the WSox rumor...

http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=388191...

 

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