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Milton Bradley's greatest hits in Chicago

Dec 21, 2009, 9:29 AM EDT

The first round of analysis arising out of the Milton Bradley trade has followed this general narrative: the Mariners fleeced the Cubs, dumping a truly useless player in Carlos Silva for a troubled but useful one in Bradley. And I think, generally speaking, it’s the right call. If everything breaks right, this could be a pretty nice deal for Seattle.

But all of that analysis seems to gloss over the Milton Bradley part of the deal with stuff like “assuming Bradley behaves himself,” and “with a change of scenery Bradley will likely . . .”  After reading the fifth or sixth variation of that I can’t help but think that people are underselling just how many problems the guy has.  Paul Sullivan of the Tribune has a nice little refresher, however, in the form of a list of the top 11 Bradley incidents from his short tenure in Chicago. It’s pretty impressive in and of itself, but it also speaks to personality that isn’t likely to magically transform based on a mere change of scenery.

I like Milton Bradley the player to a certain degree, and I think that, over the years, he has maybe gotten a little more bad press than he deserves. But Bradley’s reputation as a clubhouse cancer is not unjustified. The guy has issues, and no comparison of his potential OPS to Carlos Silva’s ERA against a backdrop of salary swapping truly captures it.

  1. JE - Dec 21, 2009 at 9:44 AM

    I am not defending Bradley’s late-season acts of rank insubordination, Craig, but several of the incidents cited in Sullivan’s piece had more to do with Bradley’s relationship with Chicago sportswriters, not the team. I am not willing to crucify him for standing up to their bullshit.

  2. Jonny5 - Dec 21, 2009 at 10:18 AM

    His Mother named him Milton Bradley. The apple does not fall far from the tree. That’s all I’m saying……………

  3. Eat a Peach - Dec 21, 2009 at 10:18 AM

    Can we please please please have Milton Bradley traded to or signed by the White Sox before Ozzie leaves as manager? Santa, I’ve been good. Milton already has an adversarial relationship with the Chicago press, so it would be even more fun. Santa, I haven’t asked you for anything for a long long time, I’ve even bought and signed a lot of presents with your name, thereby increasing your local goodwill many times over. It’s payback time.

  4. Jamie - Dec 21, 2009 at 10:22 AM

    Just because Milton Bradley is paranoid, it doesn’t mean they’re not after him. The Chicago sportswriters seemed to have it in for Milton from day one, and it became a self-fulfilling prophecy, as things that would be minor incidents for any other player (getting thrown out of a game, not running out a ground ball) became headlines. Hopefully he finds a more supportive atmosphere in Seattle.

  5. Eat a Peach - Dec 21, 2009 at 10:29 AM

    True, even paranoids have enemies. But in places with passionate, knowledgeable fan bases like New York, Boston, Chicago, not running out ground balls can get you unpopular really fast. Ask Manny Ramirez whether dogging it is a big deal to fans. And Jamie, getting thrown out of a game is not a minor incident. It doesn’t happen all that often to anyone but a manager or pitcher.

  6. hop - Dec 21, 2009 at 10:39 AM

    What JE is missing here is the fact that nobody told Milton to say what he said to the media, i mean just look at the remarks he’s made. For that i will crucify him and the clubhouse incidents as well.

  7. Wells - Dec 21, 2009 at 10:50 AM

    I posted this over at Neyer’s blog, but conversations don’t really develop there:
    Not so sure about the Bradley bit- at least in regards to the second out thrown into the stands, he also went on about how badly he felt, and how he’s never ever done that, etc, and then upon being further egged/questioned about it, he finally said “Sue me”. So there’s some bit of context to consider there.
    - Mariner fan already trying to make excuses for Bradley

  8. okobojicat - Dec 21, 2009 at 10:54 AM

    My biggest problem with saying that the Cubs got the bad end of this trade is that while its true, of the two players traded, the M’s will see more value. The mistake for the Cubs wasn’t making this trade. This was the only trade they could make. And they got some money out of the M’s.
    The mistake the Cubs made was first signing Bradley, and then in September allowing Bradley, Pinella and Hendry to dictate that Bradley wouldn’t be back. That was the most important mistake. The Cubs negotiated themselves into a corner without even negotiating with any other teams.
    After September, the Cubs had three options (according to Hendry): Trade Bradley, Release him, or somehow get him to not play.
    If you evaluate this trade in terms of those options, they didn’t do horrible. WIth the money they got back in the Silva deal, they’ll have less expenses on the books.
    From a value point of view, Silva is excessively overpaid. But from an absolute point of view, he’s been an ok pitcher at times. In his 4 years in Minnesota, he had and ERA+ over 100. He can be a 4th or 5th starter when healthy (though, perhaps that was in his prime and he’s past his prime…).
    In the end, the situation overall is bad for the Cubs, but from a the perspective of the alternatives available to Hendry as of September, this isn’t a complete loss.

  9. Eat a Peach - Dec 21, 2009 at 11:30 AM

    Good for you – you have to practice now so you’re ready later. Some more context – say an already somewhat angry youth gets tagged with a name that will put him in for mountains of schoolyard abuse. That’s what’s in a name, to answer the Bard.
    But seriously Wells, enjoy the Amazing Jack Z. No more signings like Vidro to DH for 2 years 12 million. Erk.

  10. Jamie - Dec 21, 2009 at 11:56 AM

    Yes, he is definitely not a “big market” player, but I would argue that fans that boo “dogging” players may be passionate but are not necessarily knowledgeable. Boston fans booing Manny for not running out a grounder while his OPS+ was around 150 seems like maybe they weren’t seeing the forest for the trees. And players get ejected all the time; both Chipper Jones and Ichiro Suzuki got tossed last year, but I didn’t see a whole lot of columns about what bad seeds they are.

  11. Wells - Dec 21, 2009 at 12:30 PM

    Chipper Jones and Ichiro Suzuki got tossed last year, but I didn’t see a whole lot of columns about what bad seeds they are.
    OK but to be fair here it was the first time Ichiro was tossed in his entire professional baseball career.

  12. IdahoMariner - Dec 21, 2009 at 12:50 PM

    I am pinning all my hopes on a clubhouse that turned Silva from a guy who, after he began losing game after game, not only complained to the media about Ichiro (Ichiro!) but threatened to physically harm him, to a guy who carried Ichiro around the field on his shoulders at the end of the last game of the season. And if MB is impervious to the amazingly fabulous clubhouse atmosphere, we toss him. It’s not like he really cost us anything.

  13. Jonny5 - Dec 21, 2009 at 12:56 PM

    “Yes, he is definitely not a “big market” player, but I would argue that fans that boo “dogging” players may be passionate but are not necessarily knowledgeable. Boston fans booing Manny for not running out a grounder while his OPS+ was around 150 seems like maybe they weren’t seeing the forest for the trees.”
    For the money any MLB player makes they should run out every ground ball. Seriously, because a guy is a key hitter for a team doesn’t change the reason for why a person should run a grounder out. There is always a chance of a big play off an error.

  14. TimberLee - Dec 21, 2009 at 2:02 PM

    Just eleven Milton incidents? What else ya got? What else ya got?

  15. rt - Dec 21, 2009 at 3:06 PM

    Milton Bradley’s attitude is one of the many reasons I no longer watch or support “Major League” baseball. And to those many others who blame the media for everyone’s ills, that only works for so long. Bradley went way past that.

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