Saturday, June 27, 2009
Milton Bradley Wears Out His Wrigley Welcome, Too
There are no good answers this time. Bradley is hitting .237/.355/.379 this year with the Cubs in 56 games, narrowly avoided hitting the DL with another leg injury (and a groin injury before that), and was ejected in his first at-bat at Wrigley Field. He has had a generally disappointing season with a club that expected him to be the left-handed power bat the team was missing last year. With ownership of the Cubs in constant flux, it's hard to know whether the team has any options to trade him — the number of clubs unwilling to work with him is pretty large — especially now that he's expensive. It's sad, but he's brought a lot of this on himself.
Bradley was, in some sense, signed to be "Milton Bradley and the Chicago Cubs", given the desire for LH-hitting production and the dollars he signed for. All of this could have and should have been known to him last December. I have no doubt that Bradley wants very badly to succeed and perform well. The "passion", however, that he supposedly brings to this team isn't the kind of "passion" we need. Instead, it's a daily soap opera of one kind or another. If Bradley wanted to "show up, do [his] job and go home, and really not have a whole lot of hoopla about it", he should have signed with Pittsburgh, Kansas City or Florida, places where baseball is an afterthought.
The second point, brought out in Wittenmyer's article, is more disturbing and more direct:Piniella ordered Bradley to the clubhouse and followed him -- with Carlos Zambrano joining him -- through the tunnel from the dugout.
According to sources, Piniella then shouted at Bradley, "You're not a player! You're a piece of sh--!"
Bradley then said, "I have too much respect for you to respond to that," a source said.
Presuming the above exchange is true -- and I have no doubt that it is -- there are a couple of things I'd like to say. First, a manager really shouldn't say that about one of his players. Bradley's reaction, when he surely could have exploded and made the situation far worse, does give me some respect for him.
But keep this in mind: two years ago after the Barrett/Pierzynski incident, it's clear to me that Lou likely went to Jim Hendry and said, "Get him off my team." And two weeks later, Hendry obliged him.