Monday, September 21, 2009

Cubs Should Just Keep Bradley Suspended

Unless you just haven't been paying attention to the Cubs at all (which is entirely possible), the Cubs have suspended Milton Bradley for the duration of the year.  Rather than rehash yesterday's events, I'll just point you to my bloggy-friend (which means we have never actually met) Julie's post on her blog, A League of Her Own; that not only will bring you up to speed on the the suspension, but also provides some background to Milton's past behavior and some comments from Milton's team mates.

Other places to read about the Milton debacle include:
Nobody seems to miss Milton very much, with the possible exception of Steve Stone, who suddenly finds himself having to start paying attention to his own team not making the playoffs.  The consensus opinion seems to be that Milton has played his last game in a Cubs uniform, which would mean the Cubs will try to trade him this off-season.  I don't know whether that is true or not, but if it is, the Cubs have royally screwed themselves and their new owners.

The timing of this suspension is ridiculous.  At this point, all they did was reward the guy with giving him exactly what he wanted, which was to not have to play baseball for the Cubs anymore this season.  I can't imagine any of these guys want to be schlepping to Milwaukee and San Francisco to play games that don't mean anything, but they do because they are professionals.  Milton bitched and moaned and pointed fingers and gets to go sit on his couch and laugh at the TV when Bobby Scales falls down repeatedly in the outfield.

If Hendry was telling the truth about "the issues we've all lived with during the year" being the reason for the suspension, why is now suddenly the breaking point?  What is to be gained by taking disciplinary action after the post-season math has virtually caught up to the Cubs?  Milton Bradley is an asshole and has been an asshole, and everyone knows he's an asshole, but now the Cubs have thrown up their hands in defeat and surrendered to the assholery.

If there is possibly a greater failure than the signing of Milton Bradley, it will be whatever flaming porcupine up the backside that Hendry has to take in order to get rid of him.  The Cubs will get nothing for Milton Bradley.  Whatever player they get will be the equivalent of Aaron Miles in a wheelchair and will never ever be useful to the Cubs in any way.  Meanwhile, Milton will go off somewhere where Gordon Wittenmyer and the rest of the Chicago media are not and start hitting like the guy Hendry thought he was signing, and the Cubs will be paying at least 80% of his salary to do so. 

To paraphrase Milton, now I get why the Cubs haven't won in 101 years.  It has nothing to do with negativity, it has to do with taking valuable assets and destroying all of their value prior to trading them away.

Who in the world is going to trade anything of value for Milton Bradley?  Who is going to take anything but the bare minimum percentage of the remaining salary that is owed to him?  People are talking about how Hendry has a track record of being able to get value for crappy contracts, but that track record is based on the singular trade of Todd Hundley.

Todd Hundley had become useless, surly, and by many accounts, a drunk, but Hendry could make the case to other teams that he simply needed a change of scenery. He had come to Chicago with a weight of expectations heaped on by the level of his previous performance, legacy of his father and a huge contract and been unable to cope.  A fresh start is all he should need to get back on track, but Chicago just isn't it.  What can you give us?

That argument can not be made about Milton Bradley.  He has had six fresh starts.  He hasn't played a full season's worth of games with a team since the 2004-05 Dodgers (who have the record for most games in which Milton Bradley has played with 216).  People talk about Terrell Owens being a team destroyer, but he usually gets through a full season or two before he wears out his welcome, and then another season before the team realizes it won't get any better and they have to dump him.

The Cubs have a habit of trading guys after they prove to the rest of the world that a player is a useless piece of crap.  They should have known that Patterson and/or Pie would flame out at some point in watching the flailing away at the plate, but they held onto them like grim death until they had no trade value at all.  It is an absolute crime that the best thing they received in return for a guy with 600 homeruns was Mike Fontenot.  Why?  Because the Cubs had to prove to the fans and the media that Sammy was bad and needed to be traded.

For a team that markets the hell out of a bad ballpark (yes - Wrigley Field is a bad ballpark in almost every way except for the aesthetics of the playing field itself) to the tune of 3 million plus people showing up to see bad baseball, they have no idea how to spin players that are not in their long-term plans.  They have no idea how to play it so that it might seem that they are reluctant to move a guy that has worn out his welcome.

How hard would it be to have Hendry go to Milton Bradley and say, "Look, asshole, you don't want to be here and we don't want you here, so here's how its going to go down: Go out there and talk about how you have regrets about how you've dealt with the adversity this year.  Tell them you are looking forward to coming in next year and winning a championship with the Cubs.  Tell the fans that you understand that they may not come around right away, but they'll see you are serious about performing better and helping the team.  I'll send out Lee, Theriot, and Dempster to talk about how hard you work and they appreciate the effort you bring to the ballpark every day.  Then, I'll sniff around this off-season and let people know we need to cut salary and start gauging interest.  If we play this right, we might even have a couple of teams interested.  Now, we're going to say that your knee has been bothering you for months, but you have been soldiering on in an effort to help the team get to the playoffs, but since we are practically eliminated, we're going to shut you down for the year.  Sound good?  Great.  Now get the f--- out of here."

Personally, there is part of me that hopes the Cubs don't trade him.  I hope they just keep him suspended and let him sit at home not playing baseball for the next two years.  Nobody will sign him after two years of sitting around, or he'll have to play for league minimum salary, which will make him extremely expendable if his personality remains at the same level of assholishness.  The Cubs will pay him virtually the same amount as they will if they trade him and they'll have the exact same level of talent in their system as they would if they traded him for the PTBNL from hell.  Screw him.  Don't help another team with only ten fans, a part-time beat reporter, and absolutely no pressure to perform (Pittsburgh?) get better because you save a million dollars.

The Cubs already practiced how to play with a short roster in their efforts to not have to offer David Patton back to the Rockies for some reason, so they really won't be any more short-handed than they were this year.  Jeff Baker can play the role of Mark DeRosa (without the sexy stubble), and be the infield/outfield utility guy whose versatility can make the bench seem deeper than it actually is.

They should do everything in their power to screw him as much as he screwed them this year.  Why should he be able to move on as though nothing has happened while the Cubs are left with his salary and a hole on the roster they won't be able to fill from the outside because payroll isn't increasing?


Augie said...

I agree, but I do not think the Players' Association would allow it.

Aisle 424 said...

Neither do I. Hell, they're probably going to put up a stink about him getting suspended for the remaining 2 weeks. Maybe they can frame him for a crime he didn't commit and he can just get arrested.

Charley said...

Nice blog Aisle and thanks for the add. I added a link to yours on mine. As for Milton, I truly hope their is another team dumb enough to trade for him in the off-season. Perhaps the Nationals....

Aisle 424 said...

Unless Hendry is named the GM of another team, I doubt it.

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