Cubs Sign Bradley but Risk is High

January 6, 2009 at 9:17 am 5 comments


The Chicago Cubs got their man yesterday when they signed outfielder Milton Bradley to a 3yr $30M deal. The Cubs got a guy who lead the American League in On-Base Percentage and Slugging Percentage last year but he only played the outfield in 20 games and only played in 126 games total.

Fangraphs has a nice breakdown of Bradley’s games played compared to games played in the outfield. Here is what it looks like:


His time on the outfield dropped significantly last season. But that is not the main problem with Bradley. His main problem is staying on the field, period. He has only topped 100 games three times in his career: 101 in 2003, 141 in 2004, and 126 in 2008.

The reward is high with a player like Bradley. He has hit over .300/.400/.500 three times in his career and has a career .280/.370/.457 line which would be well above average if he can play CF (which he is capable of playing at league average ability). More than likely he will play RF and he will have to produce better than his career averages but I don’t think that will be a problem. Since 2003 he has hit .295/.390/.488 in 2150 at-bats. Very good numbers but, again, too few at-bats.

Is Bradley worth 3-years and $10M per year? I don’t think so, not with his track record, but the Cubs are gambling that he can play 125+ games in the outfield for them and produce like he has since 2003. It is a huge gamble but a gamble the Cubs felt they had to make.

-Jonathan C. Mitchell

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Entry filed under: Uncategorized.

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5 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Danno  |  January 6, 2009 at 12:57 pm

    Bad, bad signing. I can see him and Piniella getting into a fracas already. Something’s wrong when he can get a better contract than Burrell.

  • 2. Jonathan C. Mitchell  |  January 6, 2009 at 1:24 pm

    I didn’t even think about Piniella. I can totally see those two clashing but only if Bradley is on the field long enough to make Piniella mad at something he does or doesn’t do. I, too, think the Cubs reached on this one and they reached far. Bradley has only had enough at-bats to qualify for the batting crown twice. This is such a high risk move for the Cubs.

  • 3. Erik  |  January 8, 2009 at 5:50 am

    well no question Bradley can hit and as a platoon partner to Fukudome could be a good acquisition. I agree that it is a recipe for disaster but at least it won’t be boring.

  • 4. Charlie Nehl  |  January 8, 2009 at 9:32 am

    I do have mixed feeling with this one. I think they paid way too much to have a platoon RF with Fukudome (while platooning in CF as well). It’s not doubt he can hit, and should hit well in Wrigley. Bradley was kept outta the new with the wrong reason last season, so I think he’s tamed down a bit, especially since his days in Cleveland and LA.

    This is a High Risk High Reward move. He was probably the best overall talent to play RF for the Cubs (that would accept a platoon role).

    This is how my line up would look if I were Pinellia and Bradley was in against a righty.

    Pitcher Spot

    Pitcher Spot

    I know Jonathan doesn’t like Theriot, but I think he’s the best option at lead off spot.

  • 5. Jonathan C. Mitchell  |  January 9, 2009 at 10:36 am

    I don’t dislike Theriot, I just think he is overrated and should be a utility guy.

    According to the third year of Milton Bradley’s contract turns into a club option if he has serious health problems this year. That’s a better deal.


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