Chicago Cubs: Milton Bradley
Police say the outfielder, released by Seattle this year, was arrested Tuesday at a San Fernando Valley home.
Read the entire story.
Let's take a look at your Cubs season in review:
RotationWhat went right: Carlos Silva was the surprise of the National League in the first half, winning 10 games by the All-Star break while keeping the team afloat along with the usually reliable Ryan Dempster. Carlos Zambrano's return to ace form in the second half gives the feeling of some optimism for the rotation in 2011.
BullpenWhat went right:Carlos Marmol and Sean Marshall emerged as two of the best relievers in the National League. Marmol set a major league record with an average of almost 16 strikeouts per nine innings pitched and was as dominant a closer as there was in the game. Marshall again proved to be the Cubs' most versatile pitcher in the bullpen and Piniella and Quade used Marshall in many different roles. Marshall finally settled into the primary setup man role for Marmol. Other nice stories included the coming of age of Andrew Cashner and James Russell, both of whom will be counted on in 2011 as integral parts of the Cubs bullpen. Cashner started to develop a good breaking ball to go along with his 98-100 mph fastball. Russell was finally used properly under Quade as he flourished facing mostly left-handers in the second half.
What went wrong: The bullpen imploded early and often as the plan to use three rookies and the inexperienced Samardzija caused the team to blow more games early on than any team in baseball. Veteran reliever John Grabow had his worst season protecting an injured knee which finally gave out on him in mid-summer.
CatchersWhat went right: Geovany Soto's re-commitment to becoming the type of player he was in 2008 when he won NL Rookie of the Year was a good story for the Cubs. Soto's defense wavered from time to time, but overall it was a positive return for the 2008 All-Star. Koyie Hill continued to be a positive backup for the Cubs.
What went wrong: Soto's season was cut short by shoulder surgery. However a positive out of that is that the Cubs were able to look at Wellington Castillo, who can be projected as a major league catcher in the future.
InfieldWhat went right: The Starlin Castro era began at shortstop on May 7 with the rookie setting a major league record with 6 RBIs in his first game. Although Castro struggled defensively at times, his arm and range suggest that he will be one of the star shortstops in the majors for the next 10 years. Blake DeWitt, acquired in the Theriot trade, proved to be a solid if not spectacular player at second base, and he showed that he fit well in the clubhouse. Ramirez's return to form in the second half was a key to the Cubs' run production as he led the team with 25 home runs and 83 RBIs. Xavier Nady proved to be a more than efficient first baseman after Derrek Lee was traded, although his power stroke never returned.
What went wrong: The sad tale of the infield centers around Ramirez's and Lee's awful first half slumps which killed any semblance of the Cubs' ability to score runs. Ryan Theriot's bulked-up body took away the bat speed that created a once-prolific singles machine. Defensively, Ramirez was well below average as he looked like a player that had never played the game during the first eight weeks of the season. A thumb injury in the middle of the summer only made things worse for the former All-Star. Lee's dreadful season eventually led to him getting traded to the Atlanta Braves.
OutfieldWhat went right: General manager Jim Hendry's signing of Marlon Byrd proved to be one of the best moves any team made in the offseason. Byrd was the Cubs' lone all-star, hustling his way to a near-.300 batting average. The Cubs' Energizer Bunny made only three errors in the outfield and should be in strong consideration for a Gold Glove. A lack of run production by Byrd can only be blamed on the failure of Ramirez, Lee and Theriot to do their jobs. The emergence of Tyler Colvin has some Cubs fans excited about his future. Colvin somehow was able to hit 20 home runs while rotating in the outfield with Kosuke Fukudome, Alfonso Soriano, Byrd and Nady. Colvin's year was cut short due to the freak accident that occurred when Castillo's shattered bat pierced Colvin in the chest causing a collapsed lung.
What went wrong: The same story that has occurred for the Cubs over the past four years: a general lack of run production. Fukudome had his usual downturn in mid-summer. Soriano's lack of a hot streak made the Cubs outfield one of the least productive in the league. Not a lot of home runs from this group even with Soriano's 24 and Colvin's 20.
What went wrong: Surprisingly, even a veteran manager like Piniella was affected by his lame duck status. Players began griping about Piniella by mid-May, complaining about his unorganized way of handling players' days off and posting the lineups late. Piniella's decision to announce his retirement before he was ready to step down proved to be a mistake. Family issues with the death of his uncle and the illness of his mother only conviluted an already bad situation. In defense of Pineilla, a lot of the players who were griping were the same ones who were failing to live up to their contracts.
Front officeWhat went right: Hendry's signing of Byrd and the trade of Milton Bradley to the Seattle Mariners for Silva changed the entire mood of the clubhouse. Hendry's farm system has produced two Rookie of the Year candidates in Castro and Colvin. Set-up man Cashner may also be a star of the future in the back of the bullpen. For the first time in decades, the Cubs' farm system is sending viable young players to the big leagues. Hendry's best move may prove to have been selecting Quade as Piniella's replacement. The team under Quade rejuvenated a lost season, giving both players and fans a realistic good feeling about a turnaround in 2011.
What went wrong: From January on, Hendry was hamstrung by a payroll that had been maxed out since December of 2008. Hendry's attempts to sign free-agent relievers Matt Capps and Chan Ho Park failed because of a lack of money available. Attempts to trade for San Diego Padres reliever Luke Gregerson and the Toronto Blue Jays' Jason Frasier never materialized. Free-agent setup man Grabow failed in his role.
WAR stands for Wins Above Replacement and is a relatively complicated formula that in the end answers the question, “How much value would the team lose if a replacement player took his spot?” The calculation turns out an approximate win total the player holds.
July 8, 2008: Cubs trade Josh Donaldson, Sean Gallagher, Matt Murton and Eric Patterson to the Oakland Athletics for Rich Harden and Chad Gaudin. (Cubs' net WAR gain: 5.9)
This trade would have been better had the Cubs held on to Harden, who battled injuries with the Cubs as he has throughout his entire career. But when he pitched, he was electric. Harden compiled a 14-10 record and 3.31 ERA with the Cubs. He also averaged 11 strikeouts per nine innings pitched and a 4.0 WAR.
Gaudin pitched just one season for the Cubs, going 4-2 with a 6.26 ERA. Since 2008, Gaudin has pitched for four different teams. It’s safe to say there were no hard feelings to see Gaudin leave town.
The Cubs lost very little in what they traded away, however. Donaldson was finally called up this season. The former first-round draft pick has 10 games under his belt, but has hit only .154. Gallagher (-1.3 WAR) has not pitched well for Oakland, San Diego or Pittsburgh while Murton is no longer in the majors.
In his one season with the Cubs, Bradley managed to hit just .257 with 12 home runs and 40 RBIs. Silva was coming off two horrid seasons with the Mariners in which he went 5-18 with a 6.81 ERA.
In 2010, both players’ careers took very different turns. Bradley is batting just .206 with a .289 OBP. Silva has performed very well for the Cubs, compiling a 9-3 record with a 3.45 ERA. He’s also struck out 72 batters while walking only 19.
Dec. 7, 2005: Cubs trade Sergio Mitre, Ricky Nolasco, and Renyel Pinto to the Florida Marlins for Juan Pierre. (Cubs' net WAR loss: -1.3)
Mitre has battled injuries and inconsistency throughout his career. But he may have finally found his niche in the Yankees’ bullpen this season with a 2.88 ERA in 25 innings. The real loss in this trade wasn’t Mitre though. That honor goes to Nolasco (3.6 WAR), who has shown flashes of brilliance in his young career, compiling a 49-36 record with a 4.45 ERA. He’s averaging just under eight strikeouts per nine innings and has struck out a total of 585 batters to only 158 walks. Over the past three seasons, Nolasco has averaged a 4.4:1 K:BB ratio.
Pinto (2.1 WAR) has been a solid reliever for the Marlins, throwing 231 innings while striking out 222 batters. He’s also maintained a career 3.62 ERA.
Pierre, the Cubs' centerpiece of the deal, played just one season with the team in which he tallied a 3.3 WAR. And although it was a good season (Pierre hit .292 with 58 steals), it can’t compare to what the Cubs could have had in Mitre, Nolasco and Pinto.
Day of Infamy
Dec. 7, 2006: Cubs draft Josh Hamilton from the Tampa Bay Rays in the Rule 5 Draft. His rights were then sold to the Cincinnati Reds. (Cubs' net WAR loss: -12.9)
Hamilton wasn’t traded per se, but his rights were once held and then sold in the course of the same day by the Cubs. It’s not as though Hamilton (12.9 WAR) ever played for the Cubs, and you could speculate that in theory they could have Edinson Volquez (5.1 WAR) if they made the same trade the Rangers completed with the Reds.
Ramirez is getting treatment from the team’s training staff; he missed Tuesday’s batting practice.
“His thumb is still sore,” manager Lou Piniella said. “He’ll be out till he’s ready to go.”
General manager Jim Hendry is optimistic Ramirez will be back in the lineup soon.
“He’s probably available to pinch hit [on Tuesday night] in an emergency,” Hendry said. “But he’ll probably need another day or two to be ready.”
The Cubs are not planning on a DL trip for Ramirez. Extensive examination ruled out any broken bones or tendon problems. However, the hand has been slow to respond to treatment from the Cubs training staff.
Speaking with a gauze wrap around his hand and thumb, Ramirez says his hand still hurts when he tries to swing the bat.
Bradley took Hendry’s quotes to heart when the GM said Bradley should look in the mirror for a reality check on where Bradley’s problems stem from.
“I didn’t read it,” Henrdy said of Bradley’s recent comments. “However, every now and then in life, we have to check ourselves. I hope he gets straightened out, not only for his own sake, but for the Mariners. It’s never too late to get it together in life and get on track. It’s good to see he took it upon himself to realize he needed to improve and get better. I don’t take it as anything I did to get him going. I don’t really even have the exact quote to really comment.”
Hendry traded the maligned Bradley for Carlos Silva last January.
Bradley asked the Mariners to put him on the restricted list in early May. Before that, he was batting .222 with 2 home runs and 12 RBIs.
"When Jim Hendry told me to look in the mirror, I did," Bradley told ESPN.com's Elizabeth Merrill. "That was a guy who gave me a big contract, and instilled a lot of trust and belief in me. I never disrespected Jim, and things didn't work out. I know he had insurmountable pressure on him as well. He had to do what he had to do. When he said it, I just didn't blow it off. I took it to heart, and it weighed on me. And I'm doing what I've got to do."
Read the full story.
On Sunday, Bradley cut off an attempt for an interview by three Chicago writers by saying "no chance" and "beat it." He told the writers "you ran me out of town. ... Peace."
Sunday's rest defused a potentially touchy reunion with the Cubs, for whom the 31-year-old former All-Star began a tumultuous 2009 in the cleanup spot. He lasted just 19 games in that place with Chicago, batting .179 with just two home runs and five RBIs at cleanup. He hit just .257 overall with 12 home runs and 40 RBIs before getting suspended by the team for a run-in with his hitting coach. He later said the team and city mistreated him.
That prompted a response earlier in spring training from Cubs general manager Jim Hendry, who said: "I think it's time maybe Milton looked himself in the mirror. He just didn't swing the bat. He didn't get the job done. It's really unfortunate that you ... try to use the other areas for excuses."
Hendry said signing Bradley to a three-year, $30 million contract before last season was "a mistake." He added the atmosphere of the entire organization has improved since the outfielder was traded to Seattle for pitcher Carlos Silva in December.
Cubs manager Lou Piniella asked about Bradley before the game.
"How's Milton doing? Tell him I said hi," Piniella said.
"He got off to a little bit of a rocky start with the bat. He's certainly very capable of being a productive fourth hitter. He's over there in Seattle, and we wish him well."
Piniella said he didn't think the media "ran" Bradley out of Chicago.
Read the full story.
Bradley has no use for what anyone thinks. He claims his own place in the game.
"If I was a musician, I'd be Kanye West. If I was in the NBA, I'd be Ron Artest," the 31-year-old former Expo, Indian, Dodger, Athletic, Padre, Ranger and Cub said this week. "In baseball, they've got Milton Bradley. I'm that guy. You need people like me, so you can point your finger and go, 'There goes the bad guy."
Read the full story.
With one out in the third inning, Bradley was called out on strikes by home plate umpire Dan Bellino. Bradley dropped his bat and started to take off his batting gloves and then was tossed from the game by Bellino.
Mariners manager Don Wakamatsu claimed Bradley mistakenly thought his strikeout was the third out of the inning.
"I didn't understand it either,'' Wakamatsu told the Seattle Times. "And in all fairness to Milton, I think he thought it was three outs. He started taking his gloves off, his bat dropped and then he picked up his bat and walked off. And that's what I told the umpire. I didn't think that was called for, that I thought it was an overeaction on his [the umpire's] part.
"He said he [Bradley] couldn't do that. And I said 'Do what?' But like I said, I told him to go back at the end, look at his actions and tell me if he didn't think [Bradley] thought it was three outs right there. So, I just didn't think it was called for.''
Bradley forgot the outs after catching a fly ball against the Minnesota Twins last season when he was with the Chicago Cubs. He caught a fly ball off the bat of Joe Mauer for the second out of the inning and tossed the ball into the stands, allowing a runner to score from third base.
Bradley told ESPN's Colleen Dominguez: "I have nothing bad to say about Jim Hendry He gave me $30 million. God bless Jim Hendry and his family."
Read the full story.
MESA, Ariz. -- Chicago Cubs general manager Jim Hendry said Wednesday it's time for Milton Bradley to look in the mirror and accept responsibility for his unsuccessful season in Chicago last year.
Hendry, manager Lou Piniella and some Cubs players responded to an interview Bradley did with ESPN's Colleen Dominguez on Tuesday.
During the interview, Bradley described the atmosphere in Chicago as so negative that he felt like a prisoner in his own home because he didn't want to venture out. Bradley talked about the difficulties he perceived for African-American players in Chicago, unless they were the caliber of Ernie Banks or Andre Dawson.
Bradley also talked about receiving hate mail with no postage mark, and when asked if he thought it come from within the organization, Bradley said: "I would hope not, but ... who knows? I don't know. I don't even care to know."
Hendry responded adamantly.
"That's absolutely ridiculous," Hendry said. "That couldn't be farther from the truth. I think it's time maybe Milton looked at himself in the mirror. It is what it is. He didn't swing the bat; he didn't get the job done. His production was the only negative, or lack of."
Read the full story.
"We moved on a long time ago," Hendry said on Wednesday. "We moved on in St. Louis [when the team suspended Bradley for conduct detrimental to the organization on Sept. 21] and knew that would be the end of Milton's days here. I think we are all brought up in life to accept responsibility when we fail, and also to judge people [by] how they act and how they carry themselves when things don't go well."
The Cubs were well aware that Bradley was not fitting in with the team long before his suspension in September. According to a major league source, the Cubs tried as early as July to trade Bradley back to one of his former teams, the Texas Rangers.
Bradley's comments to ESPN included a shot at Cubs fans and the problems playing in Chicago as an African-American who underperformed. Bradley said unless you are a Hall of Fame-caliber player such as Ernie Banks or Andre Dawson it's difficult to play at Wrigley Field.
"I don't believe that," Hendry said. "Obviously, I'm not a player. I wasn't good enough, but we have a lot of players from a lot of countries and a lot of nationalities that love playing here. I think it's a total way out when you don't perform up to the expectations that were expected of you to blame it on a variety of different excuses."
Bradley raised the issue of hate mail and wondered how mail without postage gets to players in the clubhouse.
"I get mail all the time from people at the front desk," Hendry said. "In this case our organization, our public relations department, our front office, our manager and his staff couldn't have bent over backwards more than they did for the entire season until the ending in St. Louis. To call out other things like that, nothing was ever reported at the time [by Bradley]. It's 12 months later. It seems a little late for that."
Hendry was asked if the organization will continue to deal with Bradley's comments.
"We're going to put that behind us today once and for all," Hendry said. "That's why I'm saying what I'm saying for the organization, our players and our staff. We hold our heads highly. [Bringing Bradley to Chicago] was obviously something that didn't work out. But there was a total 100 percent outstanding effort to make it work and to deflect that on anybody in our organization is just wrong."