Many questioned the signing of Milton Bradley when the Cubs made the deal official on January 8. The Cubs were looking for a way to balance out their lineup and were willing to take a risk on a player with all of the talent to take them to the next level, but with a history that might not let that happen.
Bradley made all of the right statements before, during and after the Cubs Convention. It appeared he had finally taken the steps in his maturation process to become the baseball player that many always thought he had the ability to be…especially after his 2008 season.
The Cubs spoke highly of Bradley throughout the winter and repeatedly told the story of how he courted the Cubs and even Jim Hendry made a big deal about pointing that out back in January.
Spring Training began and other than a delay at the beginning of an extremely long stay in Arizona, Milton Bradley hit the cover off the ball and appeared to be on the right track to helping the Cubs win games when the year began.
Once the season started Bradley did not hit, then the injuries started piling up, seemingly one after the other. And the fears that the oft-injured Milton Bradley would spend most of the year in the dugout started to be realized.
After 54 games the Cubs are not playing good ball, despite being two games over .500. The Cubs once high-scoring offense has gone south due to several factors and one of them is Milton Bradley. As was pointed out over the weekend, individual numbers in the game of baseball can be blown out of proportion, but it is the team’s win-loss record that matters at the end of the day.
Milton Bradley’s lack of production is one of the many problems the Cubs offense is having this season.
- After 41 games: .218/.340/.387/.727 with three doubles, a triple, five home runs and 14 RBI (with 19 walks and 25 strikeouts) in 41 games
- At Wrigley: .269/.367/.500/.867 with a double, a triple, three home runs and 9 RBI (with seven walks and 12 strikeouts) in 17 games
- On the Road: .179/.321/.299/.620 with two doubles, two home runs and 5 RBI (with 12 walks and 13 strikeouts) in 24 games
The Tribune published four quotes from the Cubs’ outfielder just after Memorial Day that could explain what is going on in the Cubs’ clubhouse:
“There always is. No matter what, I’m the type of guy [where] I don’t care what somebody does to a colleague of mine. I’m not going to treat him any differently. I do things straight up, because I’m a straight-up, honest individual.”
“Unfortunately, I just think it’s a lot of ‘Oh, you did this to my colleague,’ or ‘We’re going to get him any time we can. As soon as he gets two strikes, we’re going to call whatever and see what he does. Let’s try to ruin Milton Bradley. It’s just unfortunate. But I’m going to come out on top. I always do.”
“What am I supposed to do? You lead the American League in OPS (in 2008), and two years in the top three in the league in on-base percentage. All of a sudden now, I come to Chicago and I can’t see the ball no more? I don’t know a strike from a ball?”
“I don’t think I’m doing anything wrong. There’s a lot involved, and it’s a lot of politics where there’s nothing you can do about it.”
Milton Bradley has produced at the big-league level and probably will put up his numbers … but right now is when his new team needs him and he is busy making excuses instead of producing and taking responsibility for his poor play.
And here are the numbers that really matter:
- After 54 games the Cubs record – 28-26
- In the 41 games Bradley has played – 18-23
- In the 33 starts Bradley has made – 16-17 (the Cubs were 13-12 in his first 25 starts)
- In the games Bradley has not played – 10-3
With Aramis Ramirez out until at least the All-Star break, if not longer, the Cubs need him to hit the way he is capable and quit making excuses. Milton Bradley is a very talented baseball player that can help a team win ballgames…and is time for him to show why the Cubs believed in him and signed him to a contract that in 34 more games will turn from a two-year deal into a three-year contract.
Stay Classy Milton!