Monday, September 21, 2009

A thought before you pencil Milton Bradley in the 2010 lineup

It was entirely expected that, as soon as Milton Bradley was given the heave-ho for the rest of the season (and likely forever) by the Chicago Cubs, Jays fans would start sizing him up.

After all, Bradley was the object of the affections of more than a few Jays fans in the off-season (including yours truly, with some caveats.) And the idea that there may be a franchise out there who is desperate enough to take on Vernon Wells' ridiculous contract in exchange for Bradley's merely goofy contract seems almost too attractive.

But don't think that the Jays would be doing themselves any sort of favour if they took on Bradley. While it would be great for the Jays to rid themselves of those long term commitments to Wells, Bradley is a physically brittle and emotionally delicate player who would only provide further surplus at the corner outfield and DH positions.

It's been four years since Milton Bradley played any sort of meaningful time in centre, and bringing him to Toronto in exchange for Wells would leave a glaring hole at that position. Moreover, having Bradley play the field on the Rogers Centre turf (even the new field covering that's been promised) would be a recipe for extended DH or DL stints.

Then again, maybe we're looking at the all wrong. If Milton has two years and $23.666 million left on his deal and Vernon has in excess of $104 million left owing to him between now and 2014, maybe you take the nuisance and send him off to tea parties with B.J. Ryan while lifting the financial anchor that Paul Godfrey left as his legacy.

It still doesn't seem like much of a plan to us.

20 comments:

Mark said...

It certainly won't happen, but if the Cubs are willing to take Wells, then who cares what kind of player Bradley is.

Tao of Stieb said...

I guess I still (in spite of everything) believe in Vernon Wells.

Gil Fisher said...

It would be interesting if Bradley went cross-town in exchange for Rios. Guillen to Pinella. Frying pan to fire.

Gil Fisher said...

Sometimes I wonder if our 2011 outfield left to right isn't Wells-Mastrioanni-Snider. I guess it depends if 2009 was real development or some overacheivement for Mastrioanni. I don't care if he doesn't slug, a .380ish OBP, 70 steals and excellent defence would look pretty sweet in CF.

eyebleaf said...

I guess I still (in spite of everything) believe in Vernon Wells.

That's the type of shit I want to read on a Monday morning.

Vernon Wells is going to ride his .328 average, and .811 OPS (a monthly high on the season), right into 2010.

Vernon Wells will rise.

Ty said...

It's definitely an interesting proposal, because, yeah, getting rid of Vernon's contract would probably be worth it regardless of who you get in return - and I'm a guy really thinks Wells is going to turn it around next year. It's just that no matter how you look at it, $20 million/year for the next 5 years could be much better spent, and since there's no way Vernon could ever possibly play well enough to deserve that contract (not his fault, but still), any opportunity to unload him should be explored.

Even if it means picking up a giant douchebag whose offensive dropoff this year was even worse than Wells'.

Tao of Stieb said...

Funny thing is that I could see Vernon having an excellent run with the Cubs.

I've got a feeling that next season, we see a better version on Wells (how could he be worse?), and that while he won't live up to the contract (how could he?), he'll be an asset at the plate, hitting fifth or sixth and driving in Hill and Lind.

Since July 3rd, Vernon's posting a .762 OPS. That's not an All-Star number by any stretch, but he's headed in the right direction.

Ty said...

Tao: definitely, I think we can reasonably expect Vernon's numbers next year to be a lot better than this year, and if he is indeed still around (which he most likely will be), we'll all probably be pretty happy with his production. The boos should be gone and numbers like he put up in 2008, except without the injuries, are a reasonable expectation and would be very nice to see coming from the 5-6 spot.

The thing for me is, if you can find somebody to put up those numbers for less than $20 million per year, then I'd much rather have that guy doing it so that the rest of the money can be spent on all the other things this team needs to fix.

If there's even a shred of a chance that the Cubs would take Vernon in return for Bradley, the Jays should do it. They'll get a guy in return who admittedly is also being overpaid, but he'll put up Vernon Wells-type numbers (if not better, as he has been before) at half the price, and only two years left on his contract instead of five. So the Jays save 10 million in 2010, 10 million in 2011, and 60 million over the next three years, without any dropoff in production -- it's something that, again, they'd be crazy not to explore. It's probably far too good a deal to even be possible in reality.

I'll be cool with it if Vernon's still here next year, because like I said, I think he's still a much better player than he showed in 2009 and he'll be a valuable bat in the middle of the lineup. But it'd be much better for the team - in both the short- and long-term - if they could convince the Cubs to take him off their hands.

Tao of Stieb said...

Yeah, they could take the savings on Vernon and go get Rocco Baldelli or Rick Ankiel to play centre.

In the long run, getting that contract off the books would have to take precedence over any on-field advantage to a deal.

It just sucks to have to think in those terms.

plain_g said...

yeah, bradley would look great in the 2-hole with his 375-400 obp, and i can see him sliding nicely into the relative obscurity of the blue jays (like his time in texas). but i can't see the cubs doing it. we'd probably have to take soriano back or something.

eyebleaf said...

I'm not thinking in those terms. I'm thinking a payroll of $120 million.

Vernon will be taking up 17% of that. And that's alright. Because Adam Lind, Aaron Hill, and Travis Snider are all on the cheap.

Vernon Wells will be a big part of what the Jays do next season. And I can't wait.

Blark said...

Eyebleaf - you're the best. I mean that, brother.

plain_g said...

great to see the espn 'accuscore' predicting a 25% chance of ruiz hitting a jack, while cito has him on the pine in favour of bautista.

Darren Priest said...

I hope the plan is $120m+ payroll, new GM, and new manager.

Not because I dislike the current GM and manager, but I think they need fresh voices to go with the new (new) deal.

And now that they've heard from me, I'm sure they will move forward with confidence.

Ty said...

Stolen from 212 over at the DJF comments section, but here's a quote from Rob Neyer's blog:


Jim Hendry was able to turn Hundley into two productive players who helped the Cubs win the NL Central in 2003. Perhaps he can perform the same thing with Bradley; it's been suggested by some that the Cubs might be able to send him to Toronto for Vernon Wells. Though Wells' contract is almost as onerous as Alfonso Soriano's, I'd do it. There's at least a chance that Wells will return to previous levels of production, and the alternative is probably simply to send Bradley home and pay him for doing nothing.

The plot thickens...

bkblades said...

No Monopoly for the Blue Jays? There you go again taking the wind out of my sails, Tao.

Ian H. said...

You're right Tao, two wrongs do not make a right in this situation. It's funny how at this same time last year, we were all smitten on Bradley saying how he would be such a perfect fit for the Blue Jays.

Alex said...

By my guess the Jays would have to eat at least 40M of salary to make this happen. Would it still be worth it? I doubt it.

Anonymous said...

even in an off year milton has an obp that would be second on this team and if the cubs are dumb enough to trade him for wells or eat the salary and take a throwaway prospect for him the jays would be all kinds of dumb to not take it. he won't be a team leader but from my understanding he likes his privacy and toronto seems like a perfect fit for him.

Anonymous said...

I would make a Bradley-for-Wells trade in a millisecond. Even if Bradley ends up bombing and causing a ruckus on his way out a la Shea Hillenbrand, who cares, he's only on the books until the end of the 2011 season, and only for half as much money as Wells. And who knows, maybe Toronto will finally end up being the place where Milton calms down and blossoms.

I guess I still (in spite of everything) don't believe in Vernon Wells. Why should we believe that he'll be greatly improved next season? How often does a legitimately good player have such a godawful season without injury playing a factor and then just rebounds the next year like nothing happened?

Wells is a thoroughly mediocre player who we're all overrating because he had two big years out of seven in the big leagues. Get rid of him for any price.