The Cubs refused to believe they were out of the playoff chase last year when they hadn't gained a game on the Cardinals in over a month, but they showed a brand new can-quit spirit today as they shipped off pouty Milton Bradley to Seattle in exchange for a pitcher that will most likely make us look back fondly on the Neal Cotts Era.
I'll put it another way. The Cubs traded their answer to all of their 2008 problems in the playoffs for a pitcher that has injury problems, is kind of a dick in his own right, and sucks at getting opposing batters out. The eleven and a half months of the Milton Bradley Era is the biggest conglomeration of poor judgement and mismanagement of my lifetime and quite possibly the entire history of the Chicago Cubs. (Move over Larry Himes.)
It is readily apparent that this move is a marketing and PR move and not a move that is intended to make the team better at the actual game of baseball. The last time marketing and PR came into play in player personnel decisions, we wound up with the Neverending Contract in left field that will continue to hamstring the roster for years to come.
The Cubs decided it was easier to market a shitty team without the stain of Milton Bradley than a potentially shitty team with Milton Bradley.
The purely baseball decision here was to bring Milton to camp and pray to God he started hitting the baseball with authority so that the price could be raised enough to get a player of some value back, or to save more than the $6 million they cut in the deal with Seattle.
I'm not saying that the Cubs would EVER get true value back for Milton's talents that will almost assuredly be on display in the Pacific Northwest this season. I'm talking about raising his value enough so that other teams might begin to actually believe that the Cubs didn't HAVE to trade him and thereby stop trying to shove barbed wire up Hendry's ass in any trade discussions.
Meanwhile the Cubs are relieved Milton won't be distracting them in the clubhouse anymore. Ryan Theriot went on Waddle & Silvy on ESPN 1000 in Chicago and talked about how much easier it will be to focus without Milton around anymore and I wanted to reach into the radio and strangle him. Blaming Milton Bradley for all of the ills of the Cubs last season is horseshit copping out.
I've worked with people that I hate and its no picnic, but it shouldn't affect your job performance. Unless Milton was going around the clubhouse setting things on fire, destroying game tapes, or falsifying scouting reports, there is no excuse for letting one guy take the blame for the entire season of fail last year.
Nobody in this scenario is clean. The Cubs players are apparently fragile, whiny bitches. The coaches enabled a destructive belief that the players can't hit, field, pitch, or run as long as Milton was moping around the clubhouse. Hendry never should have signed him in the first place, and most certainly never should have given him three years. Hell, even the media started poking Milton with a stick the moment Spring Training started and exacerbated every situation at every opportunity. Any fans that yelled anything racial at Milton or any other player they don't like should be hog-tied and laid out in the Wrigley urinal troughs during a game.
The good things about the trade are that it is finally over and I have a new easy target for my lame jokes.