Bucs Should Pursue Milton Bradley

Because of a glut of outfielders, the Oakland A’s have designated Milton Bradley for assignment. I want him on the Pirates.
Why do I want him? Because I think Milton Bradley has some good baseball left in him. Because I think he brings an anger and a passion (though he’s been accused of loafing) that is severely lacking in the Pirates clubhouse.
Pros and Cons of getting him, starting with the pros:
1. He’s played for Jim Tracy
2. He’s a talented player
3. Management is familiar with him as he was one of several players on the Pirates short wish list before they traded for Matt Lawton
4. He lives by a simple creed. That maybe isn’t really a simple creed. Clark Griswold’s creed in the first Vacation movie, “Pretty much go for it”
On with the cons
1. He’s slightly crazy. Not Carl Everett-crazy, but enough that he’s clashed with teammates, opponents, umpires and sometimes the crowd at nearly every stop
2. The whole issue of loafing. Jeff Kent accused him of loafing when they were teammates in LA and Bradley then accused Kent of having issues with black teammates
3. Showboating. I’m not a personal fan of it and the whole, “I live by a simple creed” incident happened when he snapped off his batting gloves after homering against the Dodgers while he was with the Indians and LA catcher Paul Lo Duca took exception
4. He is injury prone. He’s had just 500 ABs in one season in his career and went on the DL thrice already this year with hamstring and calf muscle injuries
This is a low risk/high upside investment. Bring him in for 30 or 40 games. If he doesn’t play well or ticks off his teammates, let him go. The Pirates don’t have much to lose.

Author: Randy Linville

Randy is currently living and thriving in suburban Dayton, OH with his wife and two kids. He was raised in Cincinnati, OH and attended Anderson High School. He went to Miami University (Ohio) and received a degree in Paper Science Engineering from MU. He is a devout Christian and a pop culture buff. He coaches his son’s baseball and basketball teams and his daughters softball and basketball teams. Randy has been a Pirates fan since the late 1970s and has fond memories of the 1979 World Series team. He began blogging for Most Valuable Network in 5/2004 after stumbling across a help-wanted sign for a Pirates blogger. He wrote for Pittsburgh Lumber Co. until the site merged with Pirates Prospects in 2/2011.

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  • http://mvn.com/mlb-pirates/ Randy

    Couldn’t agree with you more, Cory and Michael, I see your point as well.
    Bradley has to realize that unless he produces, his career will be over shortly. Nobody wants an injury prone malcontent unless he puts up some numbers.
    Is there another player out there with Bradley’s talent who will come as cheaply as he should right now? No. Scary question – how many outfielders in the Pirates system are as good as Bradley? Past McCutchen I can’t think of any.
    If he puts it together and plays well, he has value in the trade market, as Cory said. So, as Michael pointed out, Bradley’s age would prevent him from being a cornerstone on the team in a couple of years. But that’s the point – buy low and sell high.

  • http://mvn.com/mlb-pirates Cory Humes

    You can find Bradley’s contract info here; scroll down to “minor leagues.”
    Long story short … he’s making $4 million, which is definitely within the Pirates’ price range … his career line (.270/.354/.429) makes him look like a better option in center than Duffy … his gimpy legs would still allow Jim Tracy to work Duffy/McLouth/Doumit into the outfield on a regular basis.
    Bradley’s kind of in the same class as Elijah Dukes—the talent’s there, but the mindset might not be. If no one else is willing to roll the dice, I wouldn’t mind taking a shot if he can be acquired on the cheap.

  • http://mvn.com/ncaa-ohiostate James Pete

    Gentlemen…listen very carefully…
    Milton Bradley is no…good…period…
    Carl Everett, for as crazy as he turned out to be…seemed to work his way up to it.
    Bradley has been flat out crazy from the start. When Cleveland got him from Montreal…it was a relative shock. He was a five-tool talent…and we got him for a good prospect in Zach Day…but I remember thinking…wow…this kid is going to be special, and we got him for not a whole lot. Well…obviously…looking back, there was something there.
    He gets to Cleveland…and his numbers were good…but he was injury prone. In his last two years with the Indians, he spent four turns on the DL..and they weren’t short turns.
    He had the run in with LoDuca…and with Jason Giambi of the Yankees. He had an incident with Bruce Froeming…where he threw a bat and helmet in his direction.
    He was stopped for speeding, and spent three days in jail when he just drove away.
    Then he got into a verbal altercation with Eric Wedge after stopping on what he thought would be an out…that dropped for a single…but would have been a double.
    After he was dealt, who can forget the bats and balls being thrown onto the field…for the Dodgers…his hometown club. Obviously…you’ve mentioned the altercations there.
    With a young and impressionable ballclub…
    this would be a mistake of giant proportions.
    His talent is large…his head…
    not so much…

  • http://mvn.com/mlb-pirates/ Randy

    Thanks for the comment, James Pete. I agree with everything you said, except for the conclusion.
    Worse case scenarios:
    1. Bradley acts like a jerk. If so, then release him quickly.
    2. Bradley is healthy but plays poorly for a month. If so, then release him.
    3. Bradley gets hurt. When he comes off the DL, give him a fair shake and see what happens after a month.
    For a perennial loser to take a month long flyer on a troubled and talented guy whose career is potentially hanging in the balance makes sense to me.

  • http://mvn.com/mlb-pirates Cory Humes

    Ditto. The day before Bradley was DFA’d, the A’s manager had kind words for him:
    “He’s a great player, he can do it all,” Geren said. “He has great power, he’s a great outfielder and he runs the bases well. He’s just a great player.”
    The skills are—and always have been—there.
    Obviously his character is an issue, but since there are already a handful of “lazy” players—Castillo and Paulino come to mind, and LaRoche had a similar tag in Atlanta—I can’t see Bradley’s ethic having too much of an impact on the young Bucs. Even if the Pirates were to acquire Bradley in exchange for a reliever, he’d only be a short-term solution.

  • Michael

    What would be the point? Bradley is 29 years old, and injury prone. That does not point to longevity in a career. The Bucs are years away from contending. By the time the team is ready to contend, Bradley will be long gone. They are better off trying to identify and develope players who will be around to help contend,

  • http://mvn.com/mlb-pirates Cory Humes

    Say you get Bradley for a guy like Brian Rogers.
    He hits well over the next month. You trade him again for a worthwhile piece.
    Or, better yet, you stick with him through the remainder of the season. You offer him arbitration. Another team signs him in free agency, and you get a sandwich pick in next year’s draft.
    The point is you can get Bradley at considerably less than fair market value right now. It’s the definition of a low-risk, high-reward move. If he doesn’t pan out, so what? Are you seriously worried about cutting into Nate McLouth’s playing time?
    I’d gladly pay the pro-rated share of Bradley’s 2007 contract in a roll of the dice.

  • http://www.financecoachllc.com Travis

    I believe Whitey Herzog said “you can put up with a lot from a guy who hits .350″. If he walks the walk, then it would be a steal. If he does more talking with his mouth than bat, then a risk worth taking didn’t pan out.

  • http://mvn.com/ncaa-ohiostate James Pete

    In all seriousness…
    how many times have you heard talk about a guy like this…
    and it’s actually worked out.
    I get taking the flier on a guy…Elijah Dukes is probably out there for the taking…
    and I keep thinking…power hitting right handed bat…

  • Thunder

    No fear, the A’s traded him to the Royals for former Pirate Farmhand Leo Nunez.