Results tagged ‘ Milton Bradley ’

Did Mount Bradley Finally Erupt Last Night?

 

According to the Seattle Times reporter Geoff Baker, after the Seattle Mariners played their worst defensive game of the season Mariners slugger Milton Bradley was no where to be found (at least by the media) in the Mariner’s clubhouse little did he and the other media members know that Bradley actually left the stadium after the sixth inning of the game against the Rays after a brief confrontation with his Mariner Manager Don Wakamatsu. 

Wakamatsu clearly was seeing tell tale signs of Bradleys mental and emotional deteriorating state right after Bradley returned to the bench after his second trip at the plate and immediately Wakamatsu decided “go another direction” for the rest of the game. But unknown to Rays fans viewing the game on television, Bradley had begun a constant barrage of comments and accusations towards Home Plate Umpire  Kerwin Danley. Bradley felt Danley was expanding the strike zone a bit too much vertically for Rays starter James Shields.

Bradley instantly took it upon himself upon his return to the M’s bench after striking out with the bases loaded, to unleash a verbal battle with Danley from the Mariners bench.  Bradley violent fuse might have been compounded by Wakamutsu refusing to become a part of this venomous verbal barrage towards Danley. Bradley quickly escalated his vocal bards towards Danley until  a dazed and confused Bradley finally mentally deteriorated to a point where he fumed he was ” packing my stuff, I am out of here.” 

 
KebinH@Flickr.com

Maybe the trigger moment for this behavior came during Bradleys second trip to the plate that night.  Bradley seemed in a daze as he watched that third called strike all the way from Shield’s hand to Rays catcher Dioner Navarro’s glove without a hint of swinging at the ball. But we can only guess what has been building up in Bradleys frustrated mind during the first month of the M’s disappointing start to the 2010 season, and with the M’s currently compounding the frustrations with odd defensive miscues, Bradley might have simply given up inside himself at that moment last night.
 
But what is at the forefront of all of this is the fact that Wakamatsu had replaced Bradley with recently called-up outfielder Ryan Langerhan before Bradley even began to berate and badger Danley and then uttered he was leaving. Subsequently the Mariner’s Manager had done the right thing considering the quickly deteriorating mental attitude of his Leftfielder, who could of taken that mental state to the outfield with him and compounded the problem with an interaction with the fans.

Wakamatsu quickly used his managerial hook and replaced Bradley for both the betterment of the team and Bradley at that point in the ballgame. According to people within the Mariner’s clubhouse, Bradley became instantly upset with the decision adding on to his fury at Danley, and he instantly became vocal about being pulled in the game after the sixth inning, for a “defensive replacement”.


But the reality of the whole situation is that Bradley was probably not pulled just for the fact he stood there staring at Shield’s pitch down the heart of the plate without a swing. Especially in a baseball game that was still close, and when even a 4-run lead by the Rays at that point is not a safe margin in Safeco Field. The first warning sign of impending Bradley disaster might have been right after Bradley came back to the dugout after his first strikeout of the night and he flung his Seattle batting helmet at the ground and it bounced up violently before coming to rest near the dugout.

But Bradley did not stop there as other batting equipment was tossed when Bradley finally entered the M’s dugout, and was a sure signal of Bradley’s internal combustible frustration. Bottom line, Bradley was not in a mood, or a positive position to hold a meaningful and articulate conversation at that tense moment with everyone on the Seattle bench weighing the considerable boiling emotions churning within Bradley.

But when Wakamatsu was asked post game about Bradleys absence in the clubhouse, Bradley’s Manager’s silence might have spoke volumes to the assembled media corps. When Wakamatsu did not have idea or a comment to the media, it truly sent a signal of detachment by both parties in even discussing the events in a civil manner at this time. 

 
KebinH@Flickr.com

Could Bradley have “exited, stage right” to keep from fuming or bring this episode to an instant boil when he showed his frustrations and violence to his own batting gear  then learning Langerhan was  taking his spot in the top of the seventh inning? Could this one action by Wakamatsu set in motion the turbulence within Bradley to begun the cycle of a total mental implosion by the volatile outfielder?
 
The Mariners insist that Wakamatsu had replaced Bradley before the all too surreal scene began to play out within the Mariners dugout and clubhouse. At this moment it is unclear as to the extent of any actions or reactions from both sides prior to Bradley leaving after Wakamatsu expressed his stark opinion to Bradley to cease antagonizing the Umpires following Bradley direct barrage on Danley.

This is also a Seattle team that has been mired recently with a bit of a confidence problem, and this latest episode by Bradley will only throw more kerosene on the fire until something can be done to restore some good vibes within the team.

Bradley was brought into the Seattle Mariners fold this off season with the hopes that calmer veteran teammates like Ken Griffey Junior and Mike Sweeney might be able to nurture and massage the volatile Bradley and give him a more calming and soothing veteran sounding board for his outbursts before exploding and escalating into verbal or temper tantrums with fans or the Umpires.
 
There must be an immediate meeting between Wakamatsu and the Seattle Front Office with Bradley to either hash out this particular incident, or form the beginning of a “parting of the waves” might be in order for both sides to heal from this situation. Bradley could either be suspended or disciplined for his outburst, or the team might make  it instantly known throughout the MLB that Bradley is a trade piece right now .

But if Bradley’s baseball talents outweigh his emotional outbursts, then a viable solution or resolution should be made to make both parties again respect themselves and their mission this season. And maybe that is the key to this situation.

In the past teams have discarded him as quickly as possible without finding a common ground or instituting financial penalties or discipline for Bradley. Maybe he is just acting out as a form of releasing his stress and tension and has not been instructed or advised of more positive ways to reduce or eliminate these pressures in the past. 

 
Seattle Times

Bradley will not be the first, nor will he be the last Major League Baseball player who has let an “on-the-field” situation internally destroy him during the course of a season, and possibly destroy the rest of his career. But you really regret seeing his baseball talent and his game-changing abilities get consumed by Bradley’s frantic and volatile actions that continue to ruin what could be a highly productive and fulfilling career. We have seen videos of players meltdown before, and even totally get physically sick from the outpouring of mental and emotion toxic materials within them.


Seattle is a pretty laid-back place in comparison to some of Bradle’s stops on his MLB career. And hopefully the locale will help mellow and entice Bradley to remain cohesive with his Seattle teammates and serenity will in the future, rule one day for Bradley. It is either that or  we all will have to be ready to witness one of the most intense explosion since Mount St Helen’s in the Pacific Northwest when Bradley finally hits his breaking and boiling point. Hopefully, this will not happen during the next two Rays and Mariners games because I personally would hate to see the last images of Bradley be being pulled from the field, or escorted out of the stadium.
 

No Tears shed over the Bradley Deal

 


RRCollections

Oh Well, You knew something had to go wrong with the the whole scenario  with the possbile swapping of “bad contracts” scapegoats between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Chicago Cubs. We all had that vivid daydream of the Rays effectively erasing their Winter 2008 decision of  signing their current Designated Scapegoat Pat Burrell. And maybe the Cubs kept the Rays from making a hugely volatile Public Relations nightmare by trading Milton Bradley…..but not to the Rays. 

And maybe the predictability of this deal  finally cracking in half  and sinking out of sight was actually in the cards the whole time, but we all just did not want to see it. Could there have been a possibility that the Rays were more than happy to take one season of Burrell at $ 9 million instead of the distinctive possibility of having Bradley in their system for two seasons. Could that wise decision by the Rays to act like a steel beam and not flex at all in their demands actually end up as a good thing?

More and more it is looking like Rays Vice President of Baseball Operations, Andrew Friedman again drew an Ace from the deck filled with Jokers in standing like a guard at Buckungham Palace and not flinching at all to any change in the course of the deal. Sure the extra influx of capital might have helped put a temporary seal on the leaking piggybank of the Rays salary splurge for closer Rafael Sorano.

Maybe the simple fact that the Rays and their boy genius sticking to their guns turned the Cubs to looking in other directions and not only saved the Rays some possible problems in the future, but actually showed they would not be bullied just to complete a deal. Again, I have to say that the stolic mindset of the Rays boy genius might have been the main reason to celebrate right now.
 


RRCollections

Even if the Rays did take the Cubbies money and run with Bradley, you could already envision the teams trying to tweak the system to find an out clause somewhere within Bradley’s 2011 contract. And how soon tdo all of us who follow the Rays forget how all of us gushed back in the Winter of 2008 about the possibilities of the Rays entertaining  a contract to bring then free agent Bradley into the Rays fold. I know I can admit it now, that at the time,I thought it was a great thing….yep, he even had me at hello.

So maybe the Rays trade cards are not coming up perfect for the team right now. But I am actually glad that this deal went down the tubes and that Bradley is heading somewhere else now.  And maybe it is by the sheer maddness of the Rays not backing down,or even caving in a inch that we got excluded out of this Bradley final equation. Maybe for one of the first times, the hard line by the Sternberg administration/front office to standing tall and not budging worked in our favor to get 86′d from the Bradley resolution.

But now that Bradley is headed for the Emerald City of Seattle from Chi-town, you have to wonder just when did the deal turn towards the Mariner’s favor.  I hate to tell you this, but it really doesn’t matter now. Bradley is out of sight out of mind in both Chicago and Tampa Bay right now. And I do hope that he can find some level of peace within the Pacific Northwest, but right now I am glad to be Bradley-free.


Phillies.com


Some around the Rays Republic might view today’s trade news with some sense of sorrow and dismay of not getting the trade done. But in reality, the Rays standing firm in their trade negotiations might have actually saved the Rays clubhouse and the fan base a load of trouble if Bradley had found fault within the Rays system. Maybe we dodged a bullet by this deal falling through the way it did….. We might not know the real outcome of this “success or failure” until next September.

The Bradley/Silva deal is done and headed for Commissioner Bud Selig’s seal of approval. Maybe for this one instance the fact the Rays did not act or react might end up being the best decision of the 2009 off season. We dreamed of this deal going through. Maybe the reality of it failing will actually be the best case scenario for everyone involved.

Let’s add a Player to the Burrell/Bradley sweepstakes

 


Jim Prisching / AP

Blogger’s and commenter’s both around Tampa Bay and Chicago baseball communities have been writing and speculating about the teams trading their two “bad contracts” some time during this off season. Each squad currently has a current roster member set to make at least $ 9 million for the 2010 season, and both squads want to unload that contract for a variety of reasons.

And with the Winter Meeting set to start in Indianapolis soon, this potential deal seeming to be at a stalemate. Maybe it is time to add another piece into the whole trade scenario. Maybe it is time for one of these teams to buckle down and offer a second piece to the puzzle that makes it appetizing to either squad to complete this deal before the end of 2009.

Last night during a massive lightning show from thunderstorms racing through Florida, the answer struck me like lightning in my wet hammock. What if the Rays added a player from their overflowing catcher position to the mix as an tasty add-on to the trade? This would bring  the addition of experience and potential veteran presence to the Cubs currently young catching corps.

With the Rays recently getting veteran catcher Kelly Shoppach as another catching option for the team, the Rays currently have an overflow of catching talent. And this potential problem could be addressed quickly with the addition of one of the Rays rostered catchers being added to the Burrell/Bradley trade. It could be a spicy addition to the deal to entice the Cubs take the deal, as well as remove a catching decision by the Rays.

Flashing into my mind last night was the addition of Rays catcher Dioner Navarro to become a valuable veteran for the Cubs roster. Having Navarro’s presence as a back-up behind the plate should take pressure off Cubs starter Geovany Soto in 2010, and help him rebound after a bad 2009 season. Adding to this possible trade equation the fact that the Cubs current back-up catcher is also arbitration eligible, maybe the Rays and Cubs can include the arbitration eligible Navarro as a  clear upgrade to the position.

The Cubs currently have Koyie Hill as their back-up catcher, and he did appear in 83 Cubs games in 2009. That is over half of the Cubs  162 games where the back-up catcher was needed by the team to provide offense and stability.  With Hill entering his third season with the Cubs in 2010 and a total combined 179 games during his Major League career, he pales in comparison to veteran Navarro.

Navarro has appeared in 490 games during his Major League career and has a career .253 average with 33 HR and 173 RBI over that span.  And in the wind-aided confines of Wrigley Field, those numbers are sure to increase dramatically. Hill in comparison has a MLB career .213 average with 5 HR and 49 RBI.

The potential additional piece of Navarro to the trade brings an instant upgrade in power at the catching position, which is currently missing in the Cubs line-up. And considering that Soto did miss 26 games from July to August in 2009 with a left oblique strain,then came back to hit on .128 in August 2009,. His 0198 average in his 32 games since his return from the Disabled List might be of concern for the Cubs heading into 2010. This might be a clear indicator that a veteran offensive back-up catcher is a clear need for the team.

And with the Cubs adding up to a estimated $6 million to the Rays as salary relief in the deal, maybe the Rays can trim that amount to say, $5 million if the Cubs let Navarro’s name be added to the deal. It can be a great potential arbitration dowry or money chip for the Cubs to consider Navarro in the deal. With Hill making only $ 475,000 in 2009, it is estimated that he could get close to $1 million in arbitration.


Steve Nesius / AP

Navarro, who made $ 2.1 million in 2009, is estimated to maybe increasing to $2.5 million for 2010. With a saving of a $1 million salary chip in the Cubs hands after the Bradley trade, the team could add a valuable piece to their 2010 arsenal in catching power and experience.
And with Soto having a sub-par 2009 after a stellar 2008 National League All Star and Rookie of the Year season, Navarro would provide an instant answer for Cubs Manager Lou Piniella if Soto dramatically regresses or begins the year in another slump. 

The playoff experience and leadership of Navarro can provide instant credibility to the Cubs catching corps. With the Rays having three potential Major League catchers stuck at the minor league level in Shawn Riggans, John Jaso, and Joe Lobaton, the trading of Navarro would provide a chance for one of them to excel and possibly gain a spot on the Rays 25-man roster in 2010.

There will be a trade of Burrell and Bradley sometime this off season. The trade result might not include both the Rays and Cubs unless something is done to make the deal sweeter for the Cubs. This new trade idea gives relief to both franchises of their potential “bad contracts” while also adding another nice trade piece to the Cubs that will strengthen their roster.  For both Burrell and Navarro this trade would/could be a fresh start for both of them.

With the Rays potentially getting Bradley, they will have to make some concessions somewhere down the line to get this deal completed. By adding Navarro, they could bring this trade to a fast conclusion if the Cubs look at the potential of both  Soto and Navarro hitting above their 2009 averages and giving no offensive or defensive slack if either is inserted into the lineup.

Bradley currently has a provision in his Cubs contract where he gets a suite for every road series. And Burrell would get a possible $200,000 if he is traded during the duration of his contract. But those are minor pieces with the big picture of this deal getting completed by either team. In the long run,the Rays could get another shot to see if Bradley, the player the Rays pursued hard during the 2009 free agent season is the missing piece to their playoff formula.


Brian Blanco / AP

If I stand back and look at the possible idea of including Navarro as a trade piece to this puzzle. It really looks like a great solution to this deal happening before the end of the 2009. I know I am not privy to the inter working of the Rays front office, but in my mindset, this addition to the Burrell/Bradley scenario would make the Cubs a potential big winner in the overall scheme of this deal while also helping the Rays subtract a possible problem within their own roster.

And how rare is it for two teams to both come out as winner in a potential trade. In this scenario, both could come away smiling from ear-to-ear.
 

Trade Rumors Already circling the Rays

 


Brian Blanco / AP

I really did not anticipate having to judge,investigate or even remotely consider any possible Tampa Bay Rays trade rumors until at least the dense cloud of dust settles after the end of this season. But a few shallow whispers have begun their funneling effects into  that increasing in sound funnel to produce some media-based thunderous voices screaming among the MLB masses. The exploding thought turbulence has produced such a level of bravado from these so-called “expert voices”  that the Rays are deaf right now from being in the cross hairs right now.

And that is the comedic part of all of this right now. With the season still running, I doubt Rays President Matt Silverman, or even Boy Genius Andrew Friedman have even remotely consider the thought of the possibility of any salary of roster changes before the beginning of the Hot Stove season. I mean the firepower prognosticators usually wait until after the World Series to spew the fire and brimstone that player “A” and player “B” might need to have a Realtor on speed dial.

And there has been one rumor trying to grow legs and walk on its own. The  jumbled facts and  increasing rumors surrounding this player have made him the new “it-guy” for the upcoming postseason. And the hot news has been circulating hard and heavy around the Tampa Bay area recently, and this rumor needs to be shot down and destroyed now before it truly becomes an animal amongst the usual chatter in the stadium during our upcoming season ending home stand.

Because if this constantly revolving rumors becomes truth without a great bit of clarity by either party, it could destroy three years work by the Rays front office to bring this collective talent pool to mesh as one. Just like that simple Baby Ruth candy bar in the pool in Caddyshack, sometimes the publics  narrow perception of something can cause chaos when it is simply our own minds running rampant. And do we need a symbol of  the illness “Me-dom” within the Rays clubhouse? We have already seen what a mouthpiece and constant attention hound like Keyshawn Johnson could do to a football team, do we really need a baseball example of that on the Rays?

And this gentleman has been heavily debated pros and cons in the  hallowed Sports programs so heavily lately it might be a sin if he is not mentioned to be headed to Tampa Bay,San Diego, or even in the refined halls of your MLB team. Milton Bradley has done some incredible things with his wooden bat in his career. He was such a terror to American League pitching in 2008 as a member of the Texas Rangers, but that was then, this is now. 

And yes, the Rays did chat and discuss the open DH position on this very 2009 team with him. Who really knows just how close that negotiation actually got before he decided to take the multi-millions laying in front of him on the table in Chi-town. But, the Rays can say with great wisdom that they avoided a PR hurricane of category 5 velocity by passing on him. Imagine the hailstorm of comments and signs if he tried to consider our Rightfield to be “racist” and prejudiced against his abilities and opinions. I shudder to think what vocals and signage would be rained down upon him nightly.

I guess you would not get that rainstorm of commentary if you did not  produce bonehead plays like throwing the baseball up into the Rightfield crowd during a game after only TWO outs. But that is another issue entirely. And the fact that these rumors are catching fire in Chicago of all towns is amazing to me. But the fact that the Chicago Cubs, even after an apology by Mr. Bradley will do everything within their powers to rid their franchise of this guy tells you he has overstayed his welcome amongst the ivy walls.

And the Cubs new management has already awoken to the facts they might have to eat an enormous chunk of Bradley’s 2010 salary, with no dressing, to even get  a team to  begin discussions on him. And wasn’t it nice of Bradley to saddle the new owners of the Cubs  as their first order of business after the season to be the expulsion of Bradley out of Wrigley Field. They finally get control of the team, and they have to deal with an out-of-control manipulator of the system………Irony in its simplest form.

And Bradley himself might be the trigger point to several deals considered outside of Chi-town. Names around the league might not even be mentioned until the baseball world knows the destination of the newest spoiled child of baseball. Could Bradley be the link piece for the second year in a row to the final destinations and possibilities for players this off season? And is he really that good to take such  great bargaining power away from some of the games power hitters?


Brule Laker @Flickr.com

Well, the ways the Rays have wandered into this puzzle is based on a rumor that they might consider a straight swapping of Pat Burrell for Bradley, with the Cubs maybe picking up most of MB’s 2010 salary. On paper, that could look really appealing to a team that could shed a $9 million contract and get a player for basically FREE in 2010.  It could free up revenues to maybe get a closer or some solid Bullpen help for the coming season, but do all of the possible negatives still outweigh the positives in this deal? Sure they can both hit, and they both might be in the wrong league right now, but does a swap like this really make sense? Or even have any serious foundation to even begin a dialog?

I am of the mindset that Burrell is a “National League” guy, with a swing that is adapted to the Senior Circuit. He has looked like a fish out of water this season, and if we can unload, I mean, get him back into familiar grounds, then he can strive again at the plate. Now I have not given up on “The Bat”, just think that he might be a perfect fit for the MLB player relocation program. But would sending the mild-mannered Burrell, who only caused one trickle in the wading pool with a guy who would be constantly doing Cannonballs and Preacher’s Seats into the shallow end of the pool be worth the risk? 

And if we did consider it, would their be an adapted clause added to Bradley’s contract that envisions penalties and possible financial slaps in the booty if he becomes a destructive force with the Rays? You would have to think that such a provision would have to be in place within the confines of Bradley’s contract before the Rays would even pick up the phone a second time. Friedman has always made it a policy to not discuss any trade possibilities or even the remote chance that the Cubs have already started a discussion towards unloading Bradley.

But you hope that in this once instance, if the Rays are considering a guy like Bradley we might at least get a “press warning shot” fired by Friedman over the Rays bow. I know players can change, and sometimes a change of scenery can be a boost to morale and production, but does it all equal a discussion, or is this more wind just gusting through our sails at a time when we are feeling low about our season? Consider this Rays fans, this team has divorced itself repeatedly from association with negative-based personalities before, and they have the mindset that a negative force can destroy a positive move in a heartbeat.


Zcreative@Flickr.com

So is a Bradley for Burrell trade even remotely possible if you  do not take the following into consideration. Would the Rays be a better team with Bradley in their line-up?  Can he be the force behind either Carlos Pena or Evan Longoria that will make AL pitching staffs throw to them instead of trying to work around them? The honest answer is Burrell right now is not feared by any staff. Sure there have been smatterings of great games and an occasional long boom boom, but they have not shown any consistent pace or motion, and that is counter productive to trying to keep pitching staff honest with the Rays line-up. Some day I think we should send up Burrell’s bulldog Elvis to the plate, at least he might run out there and bite a few ankles.

If you are seeking a huge bat with power, then you might have to stick with Burrell and take your chances he rebounds in 2010. Since 2000, Bradley has only hit 115 home runs. In comparison, Burrell has done almost that in less than 4 years.  And the fact that Burrell has only been on two teams, but Bradley, if added to the Rays roster, would be on his 8th team in 10 years.  I see a huge red flag flying on that situation.

People point to Bradley’s two straight seasons of over .900 in OPS as an i
ndicator of his increasing power and ability to get the job done, but in reality, they seem like a smokescreen to me. Sure in 2008 Bradley had his best season as a professional, but he also had a line-up that dictated he had to be pitched to, with sluggers like Josh Hamilton, Michael Young and a slugger-in-training Ian Kinsler in the Rangers line-ups. Pitching staffs had to pick their poison, and he might have been the least likely to hit a grand slam or winning run.

So the basis of any talk about a trade of these two players might have to be rooted in if the Rays want to truly dump Burrell and are willing to “rent” Bradley  for at least 6 months. You can easily see Bradley dealt at the Trading Deadline at the end of July 2010 no matter if he is the second coming, or becomes dead weight in the Rays line-up. If you had to push me into the “big chair” for the day and consider this option for the Rays, I would immediately delete any Emails and put the phone on “ignore” for any calls from the Cubbies. Burrell might have been a pain in the booty for the Rays Republic in 2009, but he has a higher threshold of possibilities for 2010.


Chris O’Meara / AP

If the Rays even did decide to consider Bradley, will they need a psychiatrist or sports psychologist on-call for him? Or maybe we can send him to one of those leadership camps that the Japanese executives go to like in the movie Gung Ho.  So with all the turmoil and the stress that Bradley could produce on the opposition, just how much might actually be turned back onto the fans and the team during down times? This looks to me like a total lose-lose scenario, and the Rays like betting on sure things more than projects. So I am going to hit that special “Mute” button within myself right now and not even consider any more rumors or even revolving chatter about these two players. Burrell is a Rays, Bradley is not, and hopefully we will never see him in a “21″ jersey for this team. not matter what the cost….period!

I am Glad the Rays passed on the Milton Bradley Game

 

When the news hit the Internet sites that the Chicago Cubs had seen enough of the explosive verbal game playing by Milton Bradley, the disgruntled outfielder, not the gamesman, the beseiged franchise actually was giving the Tampa Bay Rays a bold High five of confidence without even knowing it. Think about this for a moment, Bradley had come into Tampa Bay  several times during the 2008 off season looking for a deal to DH for this team, and the Rays at some point, might have been heavily salivating before turning their sights towards a more calm scenario by selecting ex-Phillie Pat Burrell.

In what was considered a huge signing for the Cubs for 3-years and $30 million, might have actually been a push-to-the-side by the Rays because of something their top brass,scouts, West Indies voodoo doctors or even their psychic friends network connections might have witnessed in the aging and sometimes volcanic Bradley.  I can now say without a hint of remorse, this non-signing might be the biggest vote of fan confidence I can give the Rays front office since Stu and the crew have taken over. It was a  visual dismissal of maybe again going through the notions of purging team demons and  shows they want to utterly dismiss all things negative to their brand of baseball.

Bradley unfortunately  would have come to the Rays with a van full of baggage, and maybe the Rays saw beyond the unfield contributions to the possible PR disaster that prevailed amongst the assembled stacks of steamer trunks and carry on bags to see that the stable environment of the 2008 Rays clubhouse might not be able to endure a extroverted maniac like Bradley and not implode upon itself.  And for that, I applaud the Rays 3rd Floor gurus.

It must have been so tempting to take a chance on a guy who had the highest OPS in the American League last season with the Rangers.  For that would be a huge upgrade in possible offensive outbursts for the team, but maybe the unpredictable outbursts of another nature put a huge red stop sign in their eye sights before extending an olive branch or contract to Bradley. But you have to wonder why the Texas team did not come out openly and entice teams to take on Bradley? Why were their not teammates and former coaches anxious to voice approval or even dismay over a team taking a pass on this guy?

    Tttarasiuk@Flickr.com

Could there have been a non verbal sign to other teams to take a step back and take a through psychological imprint of their team and see if one crazy piece would turn them spiraling towards the division cellar. Of course the Cubs seemed to have been the best scenario for Bradley. He was going to a team on the verge, and who had a high profile stickler for individual responsibility in their present Manager, Lou Piniella. It seemed like Piniella would be the perfect man to rein in Bradley when he went a bit, well ‘psycho”.

But this is not your older brother Piniella, his fight is still there, but has been dampened by the years. Not that the cooling properties of Aquafina had taken the fight out of him, but time had worn him down a bit, and he was not the same guy now. And that might have been a huge factor in Bradley even getting beyond just the ranting and raving stage. Piniella might have let him dig his own grave, and in retrospect, it might have taken his Cubs team down in the process.

Negative energy in a clubhouse can ruin even a bright sunny day in Wrigley Field. My grandmother had a saying, “It only take one grumpy soul to turn a room of bright sunshine  smiling people into a solemn, miserable lot”. Bradley might have done his worst damage to those arounf him, and not to just his own career. And because of that, Bradley was a Category 5 Hurricane stuffed into a small wooden box. You knew he was going to get out of that well made box, but you hoped to contain the damage to a small area, then retract him again within the confines  a bigger wooden or steel box to calm down and again become more human.

But why didn’t the Cubs see this internal fire and demon storm churing out of control themselves? The signs were all around them, but they chose or either ignore them or look the other way and just overly insure themselves. Did the Rays have a body language professional or a psycho analyst hidden in on the teams discussions with Bradley and  they watched him closely for signs of anxiousness, volitile moments, or even a sense of uneasiness sitting in that big leather chair? Maybe it was just a simple gut reaction or feeling that doomed the “Bradley Experiment” from ever darkening the Rays clubhouse doors.

What could have been the determinating factor that pushed him out of the Rays mindset and onto the Cubs?  Whatever that pencil thin item or viewpoint was, thank goodness we saw it before we got pen to paper and had him sign with the Rays and be witness in our front row seat to his emotional and mential implosion in front of our very eyes. Believe me, if he had come here and treated the Rays rightfield fans the way he scolded and admonished his Cubbie faithful, then I pity the franchise when the would read the venom I would have spewed amongst this page.

Maybe it was something as simple as a bad handshake. You know the type, felt more like a wet fish getting slapped into the palm of your hand than a powerhitter looking for a job. Maybe he didn’t look the Rays in the eyes while talking to them,or maybe he got  a tad upset because there was no half and half for the coffee? Whatever it was, thank goodness we did not have to endure,speculate or even experience the enduring nightmare the Cub fans and  his teammates have seen in the last few months. It is said to see a talent waste away in the petty and obsurd innder world they create for themselves. 

But also in this case, it is a bed he set, made and purchased all his own. Right now he might be his own worst enemy and is catching up to imfamous Steve Bartman as a hated figure in Cubbie folklore. So Bradley has been sent home from playing the game he “supposibly” loves, but doesn’t respect anymore. Hopefully the loss of time from his favorite game, and the revenue it creates for him will shake his  fragile foundation and he can again find a neutralizing center for which to build upon. If not, a team desperate for a power hitter will bite again on his services, but  that squad might have a contract laden with out clauses in case his act again surfaces and starts to divide and conquer another team.

Milton Bradley has given a lot to this game during his career. But it is what he has also taken and destroyed in it that will be remembered most by the fans of baseball. So the Rays dodged a huge bullet by instead staying with the coll, calm demeanor of Burrell in their DH spot. Burrell is beginning to heat up a bit, but the volitile nature and the negative energy doesn’t flow from him like it does with every word from Bradleys mouth right now. Bradley can still repair his career and go on to do things that will make people forget this episode. But the Rays door will not be open to him, and for once, that is a good thing.

Rays General Manager for a Day

 

 

 

One of the hardest jobs in all of  baseball is not the Managers’ position, but the title of  General Manager. I think that more GM’s have taken a bullet for the failures of their teams than any of baseball field mangers. It is said that the stream of blood runs downhill after a slaughter and usually that blood starts at the scalp of the GM, who is the first sacrificial lamb for the public and the media. 

 

The position has a bit of give and take from the bottom to the top, but for all intentions, can be the lonliest post when things are going bad for your team . You have to dictate and slice through all of the BS coming out of the clubhouse and the publics mouths, plus select the  most rightious information and  sage advice from scouting to make a calculated and educated gamble on a player or a team situation.

 

For Rays General Manager aka Boy Wonder of 1 Tropicana Drive, Andrew Friedman, so far in his tenure in the position, the scale has been weighed heavily in his favor. Considering that less than 3 years ago he was not even involved with the Tampa Bay Rays, and his name was no more known in public circles than my name. But in three years  with help from  wily old veteran G.M. Gary “Obi Wan” Hunsicker he has built upon a solid core of players and  eager staff members to reign  alone on top of the G.M. mountaintop. 

 

Decision after decision went wrong for him in the beginning. He stayed silent and towed the line on trade talks that could have meant the world to the team, and moved on ones that might have dealt them a death blow in the past.pile  But with a few years of plus and minues calculations, the Rays G.M. has eliminated the risk management portion of his position and is seeing only sunny skies and rainbows right now.

 

 Well, on today’s front page, MLBlogs asked a simple question that will either rock the nether worlds or simply go down as more Internet babble and ramblings by people who love to play God behind a keyboard. I am one of those ramblers, but I can atest to countless hours of thinking about this ( 2 hours) and entered debate after debate during the morning to strengthen my fortitude and latitude to accept this challenge. I am to become the G.M. of the American League champions for a short time and plot the course for the Rays cruiseliner. Hopefully I will not need a toll for the river Styx after I am done with my opinions and raw mental brainfarts. But in the office of the G.M., even ordering coffee can be met with critcism and  second-guessing.

 

 

                    

 

 

I am not sure if I want to play a higher power, but I would like a crack at a few             situations I would consider if I was the Rays GM for the next few days in Las Vegas. With that in mind, I am going to put myself in WWAD ( What Would Andrew Do ) mode and trya and make a few educated guesses as to the betterment of the Rays  roster and their minor league system. I even have a play that should be added to their 40-man roster before Friday, or lose him to another team is a sure bet.

 

 

 

So, here we go, I am acting GM of the Tampa Bay Rays for about an hour. My  first round of business will be to get minor leaguer Rhyne Hughes on the 40-man             roster. Hughes had a monster Arizona Fall League and might be going the route that current Rays pitcher James Shields took a few years back. Hughes made                       the All- AFL selection squad and hit the cover off the ball in Arizona.

 

He has been at the Double-A level in 2008, but might start there then move up to Triple-A depending on the Bulls need for a power first baseman. But getting  this kid hidden on the 40-man roster is a vital cog that has to be done ASAP. The Rays took care of a roster spot on Monday evening by assigning pitcher Chad Orvella, who is coming off of shoulder surgery outright to the Durham Bulls.

 

 

The Rays might not have as many holes as usual this coming year, which actually plays well into their hands during negotiations with players. There are several key             guys up for arbitration like Dioner Navarro, Jason Bartlett, Edwin Jackson and Jonny Gomes. In the next several weeks a few of those guys might not be here by trade or being released by the team. I would put more money on the trade situation than losing all value for the players. Even a guy like Gomes, who had a miserible 2008, has value to a team looking for a 4th outfielder or even a DH for hire.

 

I am going to cut to the chase in this blog and attack the two main needs for the team in 2009.  The right-field slot and the DH position are highly publicized and ‘must need’ positions on the team. I have a few ideas about each and will explore them in two ways. First to list the free agent solutions, and then by trade.

 

 

               

 

 

First off, let’s tackle the need for a DH or bench player for the Rays via the free agent market. With the recent lunch date with Milton Bradley going so well for  the Rays, the only thing standing in the way besides a contract is if the guy is worth losing your first round pick for him.  With Bradley being considered a top tier free agent, the team would have to forfeit a draft pick to secure his signing.

 

 

                            

 

 

Another plus about Bradley that the Rays can build on is his ability to protect hitters in front of him bcause of his .324 average last season. To add onto that is the fact he also hit 22 home runs and struck out only 112 times last season. He is also an on-base guy, posting .439 On-Base Percentage, largely because of  his 80 walks. His sttitude and personality quirks have also mellowed with age and he has become a calm force in the locker room. He might not be Cliff Floyd, but  the guy commands respect and leads by example.

 

 

                  

 

 

The second alternative to a DH via the free agent wire is also a very  attractive one for the Rays.  Mostly  because this player can still contribute in the field at some lengths and could be a valuable asset to the club. Also considering some of the milestones he is approaching, he could be a great PR tool for the team to attract fans. If you have no figured it out yet, it is Ken Griffey Junior. I have been  a huge Griffey fans since his Mariner days and would consider him in a second  for the DH position.

 

Junior might have slipped a bit in production in the last few seasons, but he also has been playing the field almost every day while in the National League, and took over center for the Chicago White Sox after being traded at the trading deadline in 2008. If he was to be a DH, with an occasional stroll into the outfield, he could protect his knees and still hit daily for the team.  Griffey hit only a combined .248 between both leagues in 2008, but his low amount of strikeouts ( 25 ) shows that the plate discipline is still there and he can rebound off a bad 2008.

 

The Rays might be able to get Griffey at a Florida discount becuase of his home being in Orlando, but still might command about $ 4-6 million a year. Griffeys’ 2008 salary was set at about $ 8.2 million, which would put him out of Tampa Bay puse strings if he commands the same salary in 2009. 

 

Bradley made about $ 5.25 million last season. If Bradley wants to play on a competitive team for 2009, he also might be into giving the Rays a discount on base salary with some incentive bonuses tied to production. I would think a $ 4 million dollar salary with up to 2 million in incentives might do the trick for Bradley.

 

 

           

 

Let’s now consider the right-field  slot. I honestly feel that the team can  find a suitable player who is right-handed without breaking the bank in 2009. Alot of names have been tossed around lately, but there is aslo one that has not come to the surface yet in refference to the Rays. Brad Wilkerson has been playing right-field in the majors for a long time. He started 2008 with the Seattle Mariners, then moved onto the Toronto Blue Jays and provided great relief and power from the right-side of the plate.

 

Most of baseball has not even considered him after a sub-par 2008 while both rehabbing and trying to fit into a tight outfield situation in Toronto. But he might be a low cost alternative to the high priced guys seeking positions through the MLB. His sub .250 average for 2008 was mostly covered by his injury that he tried to play through before going down and finally getting healthy.

 

 

                              

 

 

This is the one position on the Rays that I think they can make a great trade that can help both ballclubs. In the past, the Rays have been linked as the third team with the Chicago Cubs for Jake Peavy. But the real factor is that they do not need the Cubs to make a trade with San Diego. The Padres are seeking a shortstopn and a pitcher to replace two players currently either treaded or deep into discussion to part the Padres.

 

Tampa Bay was eager to pout in a claim for Brian Giles on the waiver wire in 2008, but got one-upped by the Boston Red Sox. The Sox blocked the attempt to claim Giles to keep him off the Rays roster and maybe get him for themselves. Giles did not want to go to the Red Sox, but might be open to a Rays attempt at a trade because they have a true opening for him in right-field.

 

 

 

 

One problem with this trade off the bat is the amount of salary owed to Giles in 2009. The Rays might not be willing to take on the entire amount of the 2009 salary and would want to offset some of it by having the Padres eat a bit of the contract. The players’ that the Padres could get for Giles could be a nice smorgasboard of up-and-coming pitchers and a infielder.

 

The Rays have a abundance of pitchers who are log-jammed at the minor league level and might be willing to part with a MLB level pitcher and a Triple-A starter. The pitchers in question could range from Edwin Jackson and Jason Hammel to Jeff Niemann and Mitch Talbot. All have been at the major league level and have proven to be quality pitchers.

 

 

The Rays also have a few infielders who could be packaged in the deal, which includes Reid Brignac, Elliott Johnson, who have limited major league experience to Ben Zobrist or even Jason Bartlett who have MLB experience. Zobrist is actually a player who could play any role for the Padres and is still under contract for 2009. Bartlett is arbitration-eligible, but might only cost about $ 2 million a year fater the hearing.

 

Giles is my trade target for the team in 2009. I think if the team packaged Jeff Neimann, Jason Bartlett and maybe another reliever, Dale Thayer or a Double-A player, plus take on  $ 2 million dollars of Giles salary, we could have a great deal for both teams. But that is just my opinion here.

 

 

So here we go, I have taken on two trouble spots for the Rays in 2009 and tackled them my way. How do I think I did as GM for the Day for the Rays?  That depends on if I can get these guys signed sealed and delivered for Rays Manager Joe Maddon and the boys by Febuary 2009.

 

 

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