Goatriders of the Apocalypse

Throwin' Good Money at the Bad

I for some reason just can't seem to understand this immediate need to throw $30M+ at a right fielder.

I don't see Milton Bradley as the answer to any of the lineup's problems, as Bradley has only been able to play in about 60% his teams' games since he came into the big leagues and he spent one full season (last season) as a DH.  If everyone is so unhappy with Fukudome, his performance and his contract, I don't see how adding another player with just as many unknowns to a similar contract is a good idea.  The prospect of not knowing what to expect from CF or RF for the next 3 years, while paying $60M+ for the two doesn't seem like a good investment to me.

I understand the team just cleared payroll space by trading Marquis and DeRosa, but at the same time I don't see what the immediate need to spend it is either.  I think the team could do much better in investing $10M for 2009 than settling for Milton Bradley.  That money could be used to help complete a trade for Jake Peavy, if that is possible, or it could be held until a better opportunity presents itself.  Adding one player based on their handedness doesn't even balance out the order, and thats even given the assumption that Fontenot will start at 2nd and Fuku in CF.  The cub's lineup is going to be right-handed dominant because 5 starters are RH hitters (Soriano, Soto, Ramirez, Lee, Theriot) before you even determine who plays the other positions, so if you really want to balance out the lineup one of them needs to be moved for a LH hitter at that same position.  The point I am making is that adding Bradley doesn't add much to the threat the cubs pose from the left-handed batters box, and it really won't change the approach of other teams facing the cub's lineup.  So my question is, what's the rush to throw $30M at the guy and lock him up for 3 years?  If money is so tight, why is the team paying a premium for an unproven, questionable character?

But then again adding the player that led the league in OBP and putting him in the cleanup spot would be exactly what I would expect from an organization that takes their second best run producer and slots him to lead-off.  The team is taking good money, that was hard to come by, where players had to be traded to get it; and they're using it to enter into another bad contract - which is what got them into the problem of not having money to work with in the first place.  So the cycle continues: the team overpays for another player that won't play up to their pay, and it gives management something to talk about at the cubs convention coming up - which we all know is extremely important.

Colin has addressed this

Colin has addressed this pretty well elsewhere ...

Even if you take into account that Bradley might get hurt, he still plays so well when healthy that he actually is more valuable than many of the other options regardless.

Besides ... you saw the playoffs last year, my friend. The Cubs could benefit from a lefty bat in the heart of the order, and Bradley would bring that.

I'm not convinced he is the best option

Manny Ramirez is the best option, but admittedly not a likely acquisition. Beyond Manny I think you have to look at Bobby Abreu as the best man for RF. After him its a close race between Bradley and Dunn for 2nd. But simply because someone is the best fit out of a small group of guys I don't see a reason to throw $10M per season at the guy, if they aren't worth it. I really don't see a big difference between Bradley and DeRosa's production, which is why it would be hard for me to get excited about signing Bradley for 3 yrs $30M, when the team already had DeRosa signed for half that price in 2009. Bradley made a little over $5M last season, which is closer to being on par with the type of production you can expect from him. The cubs are going to take a guy that will be playing on his 7th team in 10 seasons, who has never stayed healthy in those 9 years, and they are going to double his annual salary from his breakout year and give him that money over a 3 year deal. I don't view that as a good gamble, especially since the team already has Russian Roulette Fukudome locked up for another 3 years. Why would you want to double your exposure to that type of risk and have two high-risk, high-paid outifielders signed for multiple years? To me, that sounds similar to a person having a migraine and asking someone to shoot them in the forehead with a paintball gun - it just doesn't make any sense.

So your stance is

to keep DeRosa, block Fontenot, not add a power LHB, and acquire a luxury item like Peavy to an already strong rotation? I have no idea what you want to do with Fukudome but it seems unless he stops doing his tiny dancer routine at the plate, the Cubs would have a sometimes LHB in the lineup in CF and 2B.

Don't misunderstand me, Peavy would be welcome no doubt, but I doubt acquiring a Cy Young pitcher was anywhere near the top of the Cubs priorities to improve the team this off season.

When you look at last year's World Series participants, you notice two teams that had a power LHB in the middle of the order as well as at least two other starters that hit left handed. That's not even taking into the account the LHB's they could bring off the bench.

The point is that trading DeRosa and playing a younger, cheaper, viable option for 2B is not only cost saving, but gets maximum value for a player that is coming off a career year that is considerably older than his replacement. The money available from the savings to acquire Bradley, helps but does not totally address the balanced lineup for sure, but to make a case against signing Bradley because the lineup still won't be perfectly balanced is like saying because I can't pay off all my credits cards, I'll just use that money to buy another plasma tv for the bathroom.

If the money spent on Bradley is your main point however, I don't know who will come cheaper out there presently.

If the injury history of Bradley is your main point, consider all that were clamouring for the Cubs to sign Wood for the same money. Wood had at least as checkered an injury history as Bradley and the Cubs were certainly more in need of a power LHB in the middle of the order than they were in need of a closer.

Should the Cubs add a stud SS or proven lead off man? Of course they should, but what stud SS is out there that is a lead off man, or a LHB for that matter? There is a proven lead off man that is a switch hitter that plays 2B, but unless the crazed owner of the Orioles comes to his senses, I doubt Roberts is really available either.

The Cubs are a big market team and if they have $10M in payroll available, they need to fill their biggest need with the best player available and that is Bradley.

As far as entering the M Ramirez sweepstakes goes let me just say, although Bradley may be a little bat shit crazy, he has never been known to quit on his team just because his panties got all in a bunch.

No actually

My stance is that everyone thinks that Milton Bradley is the cure-all and that he is going to play right field as well as Saint Christopher would, and I simply don't agree. Everyone seems to have a hard time realizing that Milton Bradley is a huge risk, just as big of a risk as what Kosuke Fukudome represents to the team already. Honestly I look at this quest to find a LH RF as a little ridiculous, and I personally don't see how Milton Bradley is that much better than Mark DeRosa. Yes Bradley bats LH, and yes he can hit 3-5 in the order, but aside from those things he isn't likely to produce on a level much higher than DeRo. Milton Bradley is not a power bat, so if fans expect that from him you can expect another performance similar to D-Lee in the 3 hole. I completely understand that Bradley is a gifted baseball player, but I also don't think that him not being able to stay healthy for nine consecutive seasons is a coincidence. If the guy couldn't even stay healthy as a DH last season, where he was only able to play in about 80% of the team's games AS A DH, then what in the world would give you the confidence that he can remain healthy in a situation where he has to play the field everyday?

And adding Jake Peavy to the team is a far different scenario, but one that would impact the team much more than adding Milton Bradley. Anytime a team has a chance to add a pitcher of Peavy's caliber, when he is already signed to a bargain contract for the next 5 years the team has to consider it. Pitching dictates the speed of the game and ultimately the long-term success of a team. If the cubs added Peavy tomorrow he is easily the 2nd best pitcher the team has on the roster, so anytime you can add a proven #1 starter to a team that already has one then I would say that team has a good chance to be successful with those 2 guys starting 60 games out of 162. If you can spend $8M on Jake Peavy in 2009 or $10M on Milton Bradley, then unless hell froze over last night I would assume that most would take Jake Peavy over big baby Bradley. Had the team not overspent to keep Ryan Dempster in town, they could have acquired Peavy first and cleared DeRosa and Marquis' contracts to free up money to sign Dempster. Had the team not signed Demptser so early I would have to believe he would still be out there right now just because of the state of the overall market (Demp may not have been available all the way up to Jan 3rd, but I think the team had much more time to negotiate than what they used).

I honestly have no biases in who this team adds to the mix for 2009, I simply would like to see the organization make smart baseball decisions that won't handcuff the team for years to come.

Also

There is little need to argue Manny Ramirez. We both know he isn't going play for the Cubs. That was a pipe-dream, fantasy-land post on my part, but its how I think. A once in a lifetime opportunity is there to add one of the best hitters that we've ever seen play the game, with very limited competition in negotiations. For my money, I simply would rather have Manny Ramirez on the team for 2009 than Ryan Dempster, Milton Bradley and Aaron Miles. In my opinion Manny has a bigger impact on a team alone than the other 3 have together, especially with the cub's pitching depth. Everyone knew who was available going into the off-season, but the cubs went in a different direction. Its a lot easier to sit in my seat than Hendry's; I only have opinions while he is making decisions.

What?

I don't think everyone is claiming Bradley is the Cubs' savior, but most fans realize they need a left handed hitter. Right field seems to be a question mark, so naturally management is looking for a lefty right fielder. Pickings are slim and Milton is the most likely player to plug in, if one listens to all the hot stove reports. I'm not a fan of the guy and I hope something else happens, but I'm not in charge of player decisions.

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