Milton Bradley is a Cub.
There goes the neighborhood.
Or so they say.I’m willing to give Mr. Bradley a shot. And I do so by showing the utmost respect. Notice the use of the most respectable address you can use with the, “Mr. Bradley”.
Five teams in the last five years and seven in the last ten. Ripken, one club. DiMaggio, one club. Yastrzemski, one club. Ok, so maybe he’s not one of the greats in numbers or reputation. BUT, he may just be what we need to put this club where we need to be. A world title? Sure. That would be great. How about first off, we simply get out of the NLDS and reach the NLCS? That would be a good first step for now, yes?
Bradley led the American League in on-base-percentage while hitting .321. His 22 home runs aren’t too shabby either. Last year at this time we thought we had this whole left bat/right field thing figured out too with Fukudome. Turns out, not so much. After making the All-Star team in his first season, Kosuke’s star faded and his second half of the season fizzled. I blame exhaustion due to the schedule the MLB puts its players through compared to the league in Japan, as well as all the new cultural differences to get used to, the traveling, etc. Moving him to center to platoon with Johnson and having the ability to sometimes still play a Soriano, Johnson, Fukudome outfield (which wasn’t too shabby overall last year) mixed with the usual combo of Soriano, Fukudome and Bradley should be a nice position to be in. Always nice to have some depth anywhere you can get it. I’d of course feel much better of where we are with DeRosa on the team still, but he’s not, so be it.
Bradley has never received a long term contract and this three year deal is the longest he’s ever received. He’s been a mess, sure. Then again, many respected baseball minds think he’s a great asset. Hard to sign with this many teams if you weren’t worth the risk to begin with. Also, the Cubs hitting coach, Gerald Perry, is thrilled to be reunited with Bradley who he had in Oakland a few years back. He thrived under Perry there in the three hole. Will Lee still be our guy there? Who knows. A good problem to have though for sure.
Given where we are right now, here is how I believe the opening day line up would look:
1. Soriano, LF
2. Theriot, SS
3. Bradley, 1B
4. Lee, 3B
5. Ramirez, RF
6. Miles, 2B
7. Soto, C
8. Fukudome, CF
9. Zambrano, P
I’d be all for moving Soto and Fukudome up a spot and throwing Fontenot in the eight hole as well, with Miles starting the season as a utility guy off the bench. Especially hard to call without seeing anyone in Spring Training together. In fact, with the fact that Fontenot and Theriot have been successful before and are familiar with each other may cause me to lean towards starting those two up the middle if I were Piniella. But Miles comes with a lot of heat and buzz, so I’ve got him in the projected lineup today because of it regardless.
This group of guys has always been about team which is why I think Lee and Ramirez would be cool with moving down a notch in the order to insert Bradley in the three hole, a position he’s been extremely successful in in the past. With Bradley’s OBP and patience at the plate, it could also be one more guy to get on in front of Lee to knock in. Then again, with Lee’s DP problems, maybe move him to the five hole and put Rami at the four? That might be a good call too.
It’s all getting very interesting once again this winter for the Cubs. The only other major move I’d expect they may make is obtaining Peavy in exchange for some young pitching. Otherwise, we’re probably pretty much looking at the guys we’ll be rooting for this year, as is. Happy Mr. Bradley is a Cub. Until he proves to us all that he doesn’t deserve the respect and benefit of the doubt, I’ll stick with addressing him in such a manner…because with Mr. Bradley in the lineup…this thing could get very interesting indeed.
And now, Prose and Ivy presents the newest member of the Cubs, Mr. Milton Bradley:
GO CUBS GO!