In case you somehow missed it, Milton Bradley is a Padre. Acquired Friday afternoon along with cash for minor-league right-hander Andrew Brown, the outfielder from Long Beach with a checkered past begins his Padres career on the disabled list due to a strained left oblique. (The Pads knew about the injury and didn’t request a physical “because if they had, they believed that Bradley likely would have been dealt to Texas.”)
So, what do we make of all this? Good question. Let’s take a closer look.
Brown, you may recall, came to the Padres in the November 2006 deal that sent Josh Barfield to Cleveland. You may also recall that Brown never appeared in a single game for the Padres.
Congratulations to Trevor Hoffman and Jake Peavy for being named to the National League All-Star team. Chris Young probably deserved to go as well, but I really have zero interest in the All-Star game, so I’ll leave the outrage to people who actually care.
Here’s to the health of Hoffman and Peavy. Let’s get a ring.
One point we identified in the Ducksnorts 2007 Baseball Annual as key to building a bullpen on the proverbial shoestring was to “give yourself plenty of options in spring to increase the odds of gambles paying off.” Specifically we identified Brown, Heath Bell, Royce Ring, and Scott Strickland as newcomers who might help, noting that “chances are slim that…all will contribute, but the likelihood that any one of them will be useful is pretty good.”
As it turns out, Bell has been more than useful and Ring has come in handy on occasion as well. Strickland has done nothing, while Brown has bided his time, waiting for an opportunity — in this case, a trade to an organization that can use him. Brown, to put it coarsely, became a bargaining chip. His ultimate use to the Padres consisted in being the piece that convinced the A’s to part with Bradley.
Ah yes, Bradley. Troubled. Enigmatic. Injury-prone. Talented. Let’s not forget talented.
Acknowledging Bradley’s on- and off-field issues, we don’t know how he’ll react to his new environment. One theory I’ve heard advanced by the pop psychologist types is that Bradley will disrupt the clubhouse and somehow negatively affect chemistry. (Oddly, these folks never seem to think that things could flow the other way, i.e., that the clubhouse will elevate Bradley. Why is that?) I’m not going to delve too deeply into this issue because I find it presumptuous to make claims about things I can’t know, but I will say that winning has a way of fixing a lot of problems.
The outlook is simple: either Bradley fits in here or he doesn’t. We’ll know soon enough, but there are reasons to be optimistic. It’s encouraging to note that one of his former coaches, Padres third-base coach Glenn Hoffman, expects good things from Bradley. In my view, a single word of endorsement from Hoffman, who has been in uniform with the guy, is worth infinitely more than every talk show caller put together.
The other reason I like Bradley’s chances here has to do with economics. Bradley is 29 years old and in the final year of his contract. As others have observed, he has every incentive to be a model citizen.
Of greater concern to me are the injuries. Bradley has managed as many as 500 plate appearances in a season just once over the first seven years of his big-league career (and he certainly won’t come anywhere near that total this season). He’s been on the disabled list — including now — four times in 2007: twice for a strained left hamstring (April 23 – May 11; May 15 – 30), once for a strained right calf (June 8 – 20), and now for the oblique.
I won’t pretend to like the fact that Bradley has played only 19 games this season. Neither will I pretend that a talent of his magnitude would have been available for a minor-league reliever with command issues if there weren’t mitigating factors. There’s always risk involved (or maybe in the case of Milton Bradley, it’s Risk), but the fact remains that when Bradley has been healthy, he’s been extremely productive. He potentially gives the Padres a potent switch-hitting bat that can slot anywhere from #1 to #6, as well as stellar defense in the outfield.
Check out how Bradley compares offensively over the past few seasons with other players (some of whom the Padres are believed to have coveted):
|Stats courtesy of David Pinto’s Day by Day Database.|
The comps here that make the most sense to me are Nixon, Floyd, and Rowand — right down to the propensity for injury. For as much as people dog Scott Linebrink, would anyone honestly prefer to part with him for Rowand than move Brown for Bradley and a boatload of cash? (I mentioned that the Padres are on the hook for less than $700,000 of Bradley’s salary, right?)
It may not work — Nixon has been a disaster this season for the Indians — but even if that’s the case, what has been lost? Seriously, I hope Brown works out for the A’s, but remember that he couldn’t crack a staff in San Diego that includes two guys who almost never actually pitch.
Beyond the short-term gains, Bradley is one of the more intriguing center fielders that figure to be on the open market this coming winter. Most of the focus has been on marquee players such as Torii Hunter, Andruw Jones, and Ichiro Suzuki. The downside with them, of course, is that all will command marquee salaries to go with the spiffy brand name label.
Bradley isn’t as good as Hunter, Jones, or Suzuki, but if he’s healthy and he can fit into a team’s clubhouse, the gap isn’t as large as you might think. If only there were some way to learn these things before Bradley becomes a free agent. If only a team could bring him in for a trial run and see firsthand, in game situations, what exactly he’s capable of doing…
by Peter Friberg
You will not see Chris Young in the 2007 All Star game unless you vote early and vote often.
Let me say this, I did not think that any of the Padre hitters deserved to go to the All Star game. However, the guy I was “hoping” for was Trevor Hoffman. I was certain that Jake Peavy and Chris Young would make the team. Certain. They both had top 3 NL ERAs. The team’s pitching staff was the best in all of baseball… Furthermore, Chris demonstrated the last two years that he had staying power; this was not a random pitcher with a career 5.00 ERA having a lucky couple months…
Friday, June 29, 2007
No notable performances…
Chase Headley: 4 AB, 3 R, 2 H, 2 RBI; HR, SO – G1
Will Venable: 3 AB, 0 R, 2 H, 3 RBI; 2B, BB, SO – G1
Cesar Ramos: 5.0 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 1 SO, 0 HR – G1
Chase Headley: 2 AB, 2 R, 1 H, 0 RBI; 2B, 2 BB, SO – G2
Nick Hundley: 3 AB, 1 R, 2 H, 5 RBI; HR, SF – G2
Matt Antonelli: 4 AB, 0 R, 0 H, 0 RBI; 3 SO
Chad Huffman: 4 AB, 1 R, 2 H, 1 RBI; HR
Cedric Hunter: 4 AB, 1 R, 1 H, 1 RBI, HR, 2 SO
Nathaniel Culp: 7.0 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 5 SO, 0 HR
Danny Payne: 2 AB, 1 R, 0 H, 0 RBI; 3 BB, SO – .542 OBP
Kellen Kulbacki: 4 AB, 1 R, 2 H, 0 RBI; 3B, BB, SO
Cory Luebke: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 SO, 0 HR
Yefri Carajal: 3 AB, 2 R, 0 H, 0 RBI; 2 BB, SO
Shawn Estes: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 SO, 0 HR – alive!
Cooper Brannan: 2.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 SO, 0 HR
It’s good to see that Chase’s time in the big leagues didn’t disrupt his rhythm. I’m thinking the Texas League pitchers are not happy to see him back.
Danny Payne will not make my top-10 list (he’s a reasonable bet to be in the top 25, but probably outside the top 20) but he’s becoming one of my favorite players to look up. In 10 games, he now has 17 walks (awesome! — the 0 XBH; not so awesome).
Saturday, June 30, 2007
Tim Stauffer: 6.0 IP, 10 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 1 BB, 5 SO, 1 HR
Chase Headley: 4 AB, 0 R, 0 H, 0 RBI; BB, 2 SO
Matt Antonelli: 4 AB, 0 R, 2 H, 0 RBI; BB
Kyle Blanks: 4 AB, 2 R, 2 H, 1 RBI; HR, SO
Wade LeBlanc: 5.1 IP, 7 H, 5 R, 4 ER, 2 BB, 4 SO, 0 HR
Rayner Contreras: 3 AB, 1 R, 2 H, 7 RBI; 2B, HR, 2 BB, SO
Drew Miller: 5.0 IP, 7 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 10 SO, 0 HR
R.J. Rodriguez: 0.2 IP, 2 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 0 SO, 1 HR
Danny Payne: 4 AB, 1 R, 1 H, 1 RBI; 3B, BB, SO – 1st pro XBH
John Hussey: 4.0 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 8 SO, 1 HR
Yefri Carvajal: 4 AB, 0 R, 2 H, 2 RBI
Wade LeBlanc still has a stellar 2.64 ERA but he has allowed 4 earned runs in three of his last four starts (4 ER in 7.1 IP, 1 ER in 4.0 IP, 4 ER in 6.0 IP, and 4 ER in 5.1 IP on Saturday).
Sunday, July 1, 2007
Chase Headley: 2 AB, 1 R, 0 H, 0 RBI; 2 BB
Matt Antonelli: 5 AB, 1 R, 2 H, 2 RBI; CS
Chad Huffman: 5 AB, 1 R, 2 H, 3 RBI; HR, 2 SO
Aaron Breit: 3.0 IP, 1 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 6 BB, 3 SO, 0 HR – yikes!
Danny Payne: 4 AB, 1 R, 1 H, 1 RBI; 2B, BB, SO
Kellen Kulbacki: 3 AB, 1 R, 1 H, 1 RBI; 2 BB, SO
Jeremy McBryde: 3.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 2 SO, 0 HR
Jose Martinez: 1.0 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 1 BB, 0 SO, 1 HR – got the “W”
Orlando Lara: 2.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 SO, 0 HR
Vince Sinisi is interesting. I don’t know how good he is defensively and he’s probably more of a fourth outfielder than a starter, but his success is good to see.
Sinisi looks interesting, but I seriously hope Pete LaForest is on the 2008 roster!
Going into his July 1 contest, Chad Huffman only had 19 at-bats in the three hole. Roughly half of his 250 at-bats have been batting fifth (usually behind David Freese and Kyle Blanks). Sunday Chad batted in front of those two — I don’t think that batting order is insignificant. We’ll see if that trend continues.
Thanks, Peter. The Padres return home to host the Florida Marlins for
three games. The series opener is Monday night, first pitch 7:05 p.m. PT. You know where to be…