What are the Cubs Doing?

Anyone who has followed sports for any length of time has heard the terms “clubhouse cancer” and “team chemistry” before. I think statistically minded people might downplay team chemistry a little too much, while mainstream media wildly overrates it.

CHONE, as with other projection systems, doesn’t know what a clubhouse cancer is. It will take data from past performance, weigh and regress it, and tell you what it expects Player X is going to do next season. CHONE doesn’t know what this team chemistry is that you speak of. It will also in its own plain way call a general manager’s goof when he makes one.

I feel bad for Jim Hendry, because he found himself in a bad situation and I’m sure he’s just doing his job the best he knows how. He might be trying to make lemons into lemonade, but it sure looks like he just failed. Badly.

Talk to us CHONE.

Player         Runs per 150    Defense
Milton Bradley        16            -2
Marlon Byrd            2            -3
Pitcher      Runs above replacement
Tom Gorzelanny        23
Carlos Silva           9

Even estimating playing time and taking account of position, this is a fair-sized downgrade for Chicago. Marlon Byrd has had some quietly solid seasons while stashed away in Texas, but he’s 32 and projects to be league average in a very ordinary Cub outfield. Milton Bradley may have tanked it last year, but he’s a solid rebound candidate and it’s a shame the team and the player couldn’t set aside their differences.

Tom Gorzelanny is also another player who looks primed for a rebound season. His 5.55 ERA last season looks pretty bad, but he showed some positive signs. He struck out a batter per inning, had a 2.76 strikeout-to-walk ratio and posted an xFIP of 3.73. He’s also cheap and is only 28 years old. Not very long ago he was a three win pitcher for Pittsburgh, and CHONE expects him to be a 2.5 win pitcher next year. Unfortunately for Gorzelanny, the door of opportunity was slammed in his face by the Cubs for the sake of Carlos Silva. Seriously.

The Cubs brain-trust undoubtedly believes they just got better by addition by subtraction, but you don’t get rid of cancer by cutting it out with a butcher’s knife and then sticking a band-aid over it. While Jim Hendry found himself in an unfortunate situation, there had to be a better way fixing the problem than this. His maneuvering probably cost the Cubs a couple of wins, assuming the plan is starting Silva. That’s pretty costly in a division like the NL Central.

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Erik Manning is the founder of Future Redbirds and covers the Cardinals for Heater Magazine. You can get more of his analysis and rantings in bite-sized bits by following him on twitter.

82 Responses to “What are the Cubs Doing?”

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  1. Christo says:

    Really. I was just viewed as subtraction in Chicago. No addition.

    Chemistry probably should be undervalued in many ways because so many people overvalue it, using it as a crutch to buttress a lazy argument.

    But…from Paul Sullivan, Tribune’s Cubs beat writer:


    It was Every Day here in Chicago. Every day, someone or something had crapped on Bradley’s sphere of existence.

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  2. steve-o says:

    “Unfortunately for Gorzelanny, the door of opportunity was slammed in his face by the Cubs…”
    With Lilly not pitching until late spring and Harden gone how has the rotation been locked or the door of opportunity slammed in his face? Furthermore has Byrd signed with the Cubs? Great read otherwise…yawn…

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  3. Jon says:

    Considering Bradley is on his 8th team in 10 years, it seems to me that his negatives have outweighed his positives and that the opinion extends well beyond Hendry and the Cubs. When you say the media wildly overstates chemistry, I agree. But I think statistics minded people go just as far in the other direction…and not “a bit”, as was stated in the article. Bradley is a great player on paper and I’d love to have him on my Strat-O-Matic team. But as someone who has to play with real human beings, he becomes a detriment to the point where no team has been able to tolerate him long-term. Anyone who works in any organization knows how one single person can negatively affect the group as a whole. The Mariners were on a roll until they decided to gamble on Bradley. They’re going to regret it, just like 7 other teams have.

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    • JonnyBS says:

      Uh, the Rangers didn’t regret it and looks to have him back. He’s just too expensive for them.

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      • Jon says:

        People who actually have to write “uh” are about as annoying as it gets. It doesn’t make you sound smarter or make me feel dumb, if that was your intention.

        Texas could have had him back at a reduced cost…the Mariners are only effectively paying him $3M/yr. The Cubs were trying to get 6M back to get other players. They could have accomplished the same thing by trading him to the Rangers for a fringe prospect and eating the rest…yet, the Rangers showed tepid interest in Bradley at best. That they wouldn’t want Bradley at that low a cost (neither did the Rays) should tell you something. When it comes to Bradley, the numbers only tell a fraction of the story.

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      • Norm says:

        Not sure how accurate that is.

        “The Rangers are a longshot. Bradley’s time in Texas didn’t end on good terms.”

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      • Norm says:

        There was a rumor at the Winter Meetings about this, and SEA apparently “laughed it off” (something like that)…

        What changed since then? Did SEA budge (doubtful) or did Hendry cave in (probable).
        If Hendry caved, then he should be fired immediately for not doing this 2 weeks ago, essentially costing them Mike Cameron in CF and allowing this Byrd transaction to presumably take place.

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      • JonnyBS says:

        Given the Rangers don’t have a bad contract to dump after they got rid of Milwood, it wouldn’t make sense for the cash-strapped club. And I don’t see any news regarding Bradley’s time with the Rangers had gone bad.

        And yes, Jon, implying the only reason why Bradley had changed clubs all 8 times is due to his attitude is BS, so you deserve the “uh” in my comment.

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      • MarkInDallas says:

        While Bradley’s time in Texas ended better than with any other team, it didn’t end great. Bradley refused to play unless he was feeling 100% and made no secret of the fact it was because he didn’t want to sacrifice any stats that might cause him to be worth less on his next contract.

        Rangers’ management was pretty PO’d at that, and it absolutely played a part in their valuation of him and at what price they would accept him back.

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  4. Jason says:

    Gorzelanny getting bumped by Silva is quite a stretch. There’s absolutely no evidence whatsoever that the Cubs are under any illusion with regard to Silva’s effectiveness. They just wanted to get rid of Bradley in time to sign somebody else.

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  5. steve says:

    yeah no one has said that silva will start, I think byrd is by far an average player but the team will not be able to set aside their differences with bradley, no team has. And hes been on 8 teams. Its just the type of player bradley is, stats don’t cover for assholes like bradley.

    It looks like we’ll get Capps, he’s a rebound player worth mentioning.

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    • philosofool says:

      It’s not like Silva becomes a 2 win player as a long reliever. Sending him to the pen may isolate a liability, but it won’t return wins.

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  6. dylanj says:

    I can’t believe such a weak article got published on this site. There is NO evidence the Cubs are bumping anybody to get Silva in the rotation. Gorzelanny will get his shot just like Marshall and Jeff Spellcheck. I think Lou has pretty much proven he doesnt play favorites or let crappy pitchers last very long on his team.

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    • philosofool says:

      So they traded Milton Bradley for a long relief pitcher? Hendry suddenly looks so smart…

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    • Joey says:

      “I think Lou has pretty much proven he doesnt play favorites or let crappy pitchers last very long on his team.”

      Lol!!! Yeah, tell that to Gregg, Heilman, Patton and Cotts – all merely from last years pen.

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      • dylanj says:

        Cotts didnt pitch more than a month or so, Heilman was about league average, same for Gregg and Patton was on the DL for most the year.


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    • quincy0191 says:

      Yeah, this wasn’t particularly good, both in terms of content and writing (there are quite a few spelling and grammar errors). Bradley-for-Silva obviously worked out better for the M’s, and he’s not really bringing anything new to the table.

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    • steve says:

      They traded bradley to dump some of bradleys contract cash, they have 6 million more and a really crappy long reliever, hopefully. I don’t think getting silva and his crap contract automatically guarantees him a spot in the rotation. If it does, I’m not going to turn my tv on for an entire season of baseball.

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  7. pageian says:

    I gotta think the Cubs aren’t going into next year with Silva penciled into the rotation. I’m guessing they allow him to compete for the 5th starters job but most likely view him as a mop up/long man. I wouldn’t be surprised to see them just cut Silva either unless they can pawn him off on someone else, of course they’d have to pay his salary. It’ll be interesting to see what happens in spring training if Silva shows anything at all. Jim Hendry wasted a lot of money the day he signed Bradley, gotta think the new owners are watching and are not amused.

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  8. Sweet Lou says:

    “While Jim Hendry found himself in an unfortunate situation, there had to be a better way fixing the problem than this.”

    Any suggestions? It became clear by the winter meetings that there were very few teams willing to take a chance on Milton Bradley despite his impressive stats. And of the few teams willing to risk having Bradley disrupt their clubhouse, they were only interested if the Cubs paid a large chunk of his salary. By the end of the winter meetings, it was obvious that their was no reasonable market for Bradley.

    Hendry did an admirable job of salvaging the situation. True, it’s not by any means perfect and it’s important to remember that the situation Hendry found himself in was of his own making, but he did a good job nonetheless.

    At this point, Carlos Silva is not blocking anyone from the starting rotation. He’ll compete for the rotation and could very well end up in the bullpen. Remember, Ted Lilly is out for at least a month at the beginning of the season and nobody knows for sure how Randy Wells is going to fare in his sophmore campaign.

    If Silva can return to the form he showed in Minnesota, great. If not, at least the Cubs were able to move Bradley and actually cleared a bit of payroll in the process.

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  9. diderot says:

    Let’s face it. Cub fans know the guy is a problem. Not everyday, of course. When things are going well, all is good with the world. But when things don’t go his way, his behavior is just unacceptable. Do we really need the tantrums? The way he looks like he’s going to clock an ump? Ripping people in his own clubhouse? Ripping up the clubhouse itself? Ripping his own management? Always finding someone else to blame? And maybe most unforgivably of all, the crazed antics on the field–all that’s a disrespect to the game itself.

    But you know what? Cub fans love it. Because this guy is Lou Piniella.

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  10. Jon says:

    Marlon Byrd -3 as CF or +7 as RF
    Milton Bradley -12 as CF or -2 as RF

    Bradley is 16 – 7.5 – 2 + 20 = 2.6 WAR
    Byrd is 2 + 2.5 -3 +20 = 2.1 WAR

    Not including the position adjustments is very misleading. CHONE projects outfielders as either CF or OF and they are not interchangeable.

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    • mb21 says:

      Thanks, Jon. I was just going to point out that Erick didn’t mention the position. It’s not like Byrd is replacing Bradley in RF. Then there’s the issue of playing time. Byrd is far more likely to get 550 PA than Bradley is to get 450 PA. There’s no doubt Bradley has a higher ceiling, but all things considered this wasn’t a bad deal for the Cubs. They basically got enough money back to sign Byrd who will be nearly as valuable as Bradley.

      I also have to agree with dylanj above. There’s no evidence whatsoever that suggests that Silva will start over Gorzelanny. Hendry never said it and Lou never did either. Silva has only thrown about 10 innings in winter ball and I wouldn’t even consider him a lock to make the team as a long reliever. He’s definitely not just going to be handed a job in the rotation. He’ll have to prove he can be better than Gorzelanny, Marshall, and Samardzija and that’s not likely.

      Assuming the Cubs do sign Byrd, the Cubs essentially traded away 23 BRAR for 17 BRAR. Or about half a win. Plus happier employees. I doubt that has much value, but it’s not that big of a loss to the Cubs. If they go and sign Ankiel or Podsednik then things change.

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      • They didn’t get enoungh money to sign Byrd. They got half a million savings on the 2010 payroll.

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      • nathaniel dawson says:

        Neal, shouldn’t that be 3.5 million the Cubs save this year? I believe it is $6 MM this year to the Cubs to help pay Silva’s contract. Bradley was owed 9, Silva 11.5. The difference comes out to 3.5.

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    • Randy says:

      One thing that hasn’t been mentioned enough is that Bradley has averaged 103 games a year since age 25, and he’ll be 32 next year. No matter how good his hitting is, or his defense can be when healthy, even if he’s a model citizen he’s very likely to miss a good chunk of games due to injuries.

      Of course then you ask, why give this guy a 3 year deal the first place? He was a prime candidate to gamble on for a short term deal. If Hendry had offered MB $12M for one year, maybe tied to a second year based on playing time/behavioral control, hendries options for ending this deal would have been much more attractive.

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  11. Jon says:

    “If Hendry caved, then he should be fired immediately for not doing this 2 weeks ago, essentially costing them Mike Cameron in CF and allowing this Byrd transaction to presumably take place.”

    I couldn’t agree more. Losing Cameron because of the delay hurts. He was easily the best alternative for the Cubs on the FA market. We can only hope the Cubs pursue a trade before settling on Byrd. However, I’ve heard it said that the Mariners originally didn’t want to pay that much money in the transaction, so I don’t think Hendry caved. It should also say something that teams were only wiling to get Bradley at a small financial cost. If personality didn’t factor significantly into Bradley’s value, he would have been dealt a long time ago.

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    • Cameron’s alleged defensive chops comes by calling off his corner outfielders on balls that are easily caught by either player. He’s probably the most overrated player in the 2009 FA class and he’s getting slower.

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      • Brian says:

        This argument doesn’t make any sense. If Cameron is calling off corner outfielders to make catches, which you claim he can easily do, doesn’t that mean he either has the range to get to those balls easily, gets good reads on the ball, or positions himself well? Wouldn’t bad a centerfielder not be able to easily get to any of those balls?

        And doesn’t the first point contradict your second point? If Cameron is “easily” getting to those balls, wouldn’t that imply he probably not slowing? And even if I concede he is, wouldn’t the fact he’s getting to those balls means he has other skills that would offset his declining speed?

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      • Teej says:

        Mike Cameron overrated! I didn’t think I’d ever see anyone say that.

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      • tom s. says:

        mike cameron has spent years mooching off the good defense of ryan braun? i find your ideas fascinating and would like to subscribe to your newsletter.

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  12. Eddie says:

    I’ve read that Silva is most likely to end up in middle relief once Terrible Ted comes off of the disabled list.

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  13. Joey says:

    “there had to be a better way fixing the problem than this”

    There was, and it comes from a Tampa Bay team that was very eager to swap out Burrell for Bradley until they realized they were being used as the fallback while Hendry looked for better options.

    As you mention, this is currently what the Cubs are looking at
    Marlon Byrd 2 -3
    Carlos Silva 9
    with a bench of Hoffpauir, Fuld, Fontenot, Blanco and Hill

    instead they could have had
    Marlon Byrd 2 -3
    Tom Gorzelanny 23
    bench of Burrell, Fuld, Fontenot, Blanco and Hill

    Correct me if I am wrong, but one seems light years better then the other to me. Sure, Burrell might not be that impressive as a the 4th OF (who will get a lot of AB covering Soriano and RF as Fukudome and/or Byrd would take days off). But Burrell is no worse then Hoffpauir and comes with years of experience and pressure-testing.

    Eventually it is probably inevitable for Silva to be hidden under the bullpen bench never to see the light of day. So Gorzelanny will likely get his starts anyway, and the addition would look only as bad as a completely wasted spot on the roster. And when that is the case we have a question of BP arm that cant be used verses Bench bat that presents an upgrade. Hendry decided to go with the wasted spot, so the Cubs will probably use a 24 man roster in 2010 – and 23 Man if you cound Parasi

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    • Nate is not nice says:

      When it comes to talent and players on the field, there’s no doubt you’re right. But Hendry was looking for payroll room for 2010, and the only way he could get it was to get salary relief in the Bradley trade. Burrell and Bradly both make 9M in 2010. Instead, he now has the money to sign Byrd. Is that a better strategy? I’m not sure, but that’s the strategy that was used. Who would play CF if they had acquired Burrell?

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  14. CircleChange11 says:

    I freely admit I’m a Cub-Hater. Since my 8yo loves em, it just makes it worse.

    But, this year is going to be no fun. There’s no hope on the North Side, so there’s no pleasure in watching Cubs fans’ hearts being broken. Sorry, but sometimes another’s tragety really is your comedy. Cubbie fans, I remember your e-mails after the Cards got swept in the WS.

    [Side Note: The other day my 8yo and I were arguing about who’s better — Cubs or Cards — and I said something to the effect of “You guys haven’t won a WS since 1908!” … and he responds with “So, we won one first?!?!” with a smart aleck grin on his face.]

    There definately is something to having an a’hole on your team. Let’s not call it ‘team chemistry’, let’s call it what it really is … a prick that no one else can stand.

    Now, having said that, I have no sympathy for the ‘UNlovable Losers” because their fans seemingly fall in and out of love with their players as often as the wind changes (those that live in ILL know what I mean). Seriously, make up your mind whether a guy is “the greatest” or “a bum”, but I find it hard to believe that they go from one to the other over one season. Really.

    Personally, I think Lou is about as over-rated as a manager can get … but that’s another discussion … I’m just on a roll and don’t wanna stop.

    So, you put a volatile guy in RF, a guy that’s allergic to hustle and not swing at sliders in the dirt in LF, a manager that has shown he doesn’t handle emotional players well, a C that forgot how to hit, and injuries on both corners (Ramirez and Lee) … and you’re going to have a frustrating season.

    If I were CHC, I would have tried to stick it out for another year. If Bradley is not doing well in ’10, you can ALWAYS pull off a trade for a guy like Silva.

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  15. jirish says:

    The Cubs were frozen in their tracks. They could not do anything until Bradley was gone.

    I’m going to talk about the elephant in the room for a moment though-race. You do know that Seattle has 2 other black players-happy warrior, hustling, accomplished ballplayers.-one in his prime in Figgins, and one in his victory lap tour in Griffey. They compete, they smile a lot, and they get along well with the fan and media. I hope they each take Milton by the hand, tell him we’re going to help you through your life as a ballplayer, we’re helping you because we expect you to do the right thing, and when you aren’t, we’re going to tell you, so you can fix the problem right now. In no uncertain terms, they tell him we will guide you, and we expect you to follow our lead. Because if you don’t, Seattle is going to release your ass. I think that Griffey and Figgins could be of great help to Bradley if he’ll let them. Anyway, I think it will be interesting to see how it all playe out.

    One question for Cub fans, though. Why weren’t you in on Coco Crisp? I think he would have been a good fit for you once Cameron signed with Boston.

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    • MA says:

      “Because if you don’t, Seattle is going to release your ass.”

      Let’s discuss the real elephant in the room: Milton Bradley only understands jive talk.

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    • Terminator X says:

      Milton Bradley doesn’t need someone to “take [him] by the hand” or “guide [him]” or tell him when he didn’t do “the right thing”. He’s a grown man and while he may or may not value Griffey’s opinions and thoughts as higher than those of most others, he doesn’t need a damn babysitter. He doesn’t need (or I imagine want) “help through [his] life as a ballplayer”.

      Bradley is a passionate, strong-willed, sometimes temperamental, person – and I imagine quite independent as well. He doesn’t fit the profile of someone who is going to react well to people trying to change who he is, or to a “be good and play nice or we’re cutting you” ultimatum. All of what you’re suggesting would involve basically treating Bradley like he’s an inferior. Bradley seems like someone who doesn’t like being treated as an inferior… “Do this, don’t do that, be nice to this guy, don’t get mad we’re just trying to teach you.” Treat him with respect, dignity, and honesty and I imagine you’ll get a lot farther.

      Be honest, respectful, friendly, and welcoming (and don’t provoke him) and he’ll have a smooth transition. Try to control him and he almost certainly won’t.

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    • geo says:

      Eight other teams have already tried to take Milton by the hand. It hasn’t worked. Boundless optimism will not make things go differently with team number nine.

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  16. Joe says:

    Although I totally agree with your logic and statistics I strongly disagree with the value you place on Bradley as a Cub. The organization burned the bridge at the end of the season suspending him, which forced them to deal him. He would provide zero value for the Cubs because they were either going to release him or not play him. I do agree that he is better than Byrd but for the Cubs he isn’t.

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    • Bill says:

      Agree completely with this. The Cubs were idiots for letting the Bradley become a P.R. disaster. But that damage was all done by the end of the season.

      The situation this month was that they HAD to get rid of the guy — the fans and media would have eaten him alive next year had he stayed. Yet the highly publicized Bradley meltdown killed his value to other teams as well — few G.M.s would dare take on a guy (unjustly) seen as having destroyed the Cubs season. Thus the trade wasn’t bad itself, but was just admitting that the team had already destroyed Bradley’s value.

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  17. Jon B. says:

    I think Silva will start the season in the rotation, based mostly on how much money he’s making. I don’t think he’ll stay there long.

    If there’s one thing you can say about Lou, it’s that he likes to tinker, and it’s fairly obvious that Gorzelanny is the best option for our fifth starter. Expect Silva to make one or two awful starts and then be relegated to long man/mop up duty in the ‘pen. That’s frankly the best way it can shake out anyway; Gorzellany gets to start, and Marshall can be used as the lefty. I’m not altogether crazy about him in that role, but barring any moves it’s what we have.

    Honestly, my favorite part of the trade isn’t so much getting rid of Bradley, because as you pointed out he’s likely to rebound. It’s certainly not acquiring Carlos Silva, and even though the money is nice it’s not that either. It’s that Fukudome can now slot over to RF where he’s a plus defender instead of a liability and we can get a good defensive center fielder in there. With Soriano entrenched in left, we need all the help we can get. Soriano-Fukudome-Bradley would have been one of the worst defensive outfields we could possibly have imagined as Cubs fans. I just hope the spot and the money aren’t wasted on Marlon Byrd, though I suspect and fear it will be.

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  18. MikeS says:

    I tend to agree that chemistry is overrated since these guys really are professionals and baseball is such an individual sport. Still, It may be hard to understand just how it was if you don’t live in Chicago. One guy was news every single day and it was all negative. Other guys, teams or sports may have shared the spotlight but for this guy, in that club house, it was every day. After every game there was a crowd of reporters either asking him what went wrong or waiting for something to go wrong. Off days were dedicated to chronicling the years problems. Even for professionals, it has to wear on you some. I know it when I have a bad day coming up. Imagine knowing that will happen in your workplace every day and knowing millions of people will read about it later. In professional sports, the difference between winning and losing is so fine. I don’t know how much it really hurts but it just can’t help.

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    • t agee says:

      Mike S. What you are describing is chemistry. Bad chemistry obviously. It doesn’t just hurt, it kills. In any endevor to have 1 guy not just not pulling for the goal but pulling away from the goal is almost treason and just kills the spirit of the other members as well as taking their focus off the goal. To then have the media in full frenzy all day every day would make anyone dread even coming to the park. I thought the only way Hendry was going to get rid of Bradley (and salary) was to ship out a couple of your good young prospects along with him, so at least he didn’t have to go that route.

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  19. Scott says:

    Milton Bradley. Set aside his awful attitude, claims of racism that don’t exist, and multiple teams left in his wake. Besides a VERY park-inflated 2008 campaign, what in his recent numbers makes him the so much better than the cheaper alternatives discussed above (ie. Byrd)? There isn’t much, and as discussed already, his lack of ability to play a full season is part and parcel of what you get with him. I hope Seattle enjoys watching him give up on routine fly balls, pouting to reporters, and not hitting for any discernible amount of power, ’cause I know I won’t miss any of it.

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  20. gnomez says:

    You don’t want Gorzelanny? Can the Cards have him? I could see great results of Duncan+Gorzelanny.

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  21. dprat says:

    My recollection was that Bradley was not a cancer in San Diego. Not even close – well-liked by teammates and fans, and even a good share of the local media. Of course, it ended badly – with the freak season-ending injury as his manager tried to hold on to him. Several players verified that an ump set it off when he called Bradley “a piece of shit.” I don’t doubt them. Any bad feelings in town resulted from frustration that Bradley couldn’t resist rising to the bait.

    But as to his qualities as a teammate and a guy who gave max effort on the field and to just being a great player – it was almost all positive in Padre land. There was no doubt about the desire of all – team brass, players, fans – to have him back the next season. But his great 2007 priced him beyond the Padres’ always tight wallet.

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  22. JoeyO says:

    “Of course, it ended badly – with the freak season-ending injury as his manager tried to hold on to him. Several players verified that an ump set it off when he called Bradley “a piece of shit.” I don’t doubt them.”

    Sadly, it doesn’t even really matter if the Ump started it – Bradley still reacted to it in a much worse way eventually costing the team much more then he had just dealt with it like an adult.

    And as bad as it sounds, he brought it on himself. He started it in the Montreal system by pushing and spitting on umpires. He kept it up fighting with Umps as he made it into the majors. Yeah, eventually Umps stopped giving him the benefit of the doubt, like they often do to players who disrespect them so much. For him to act like he is being unfairly treated by a group of people he has treated like dirt for years… well, its just another part of his pathological issues.

    And you have to remember that Bradley was just barred from the Oakland clubhouse at the time of his SD stay. He has shown a tendency to be on a bit of his best behavior for a short period of time after being kicked off a team. Its half a year to full year later when he usually regresses back into the “nothing is my fault” idiot that destroys teams. There was an article that said the Cubs clubhouse applauded when it was announced Hendry had suspended Bradley for the rest of the season. If true, that should tell you how bad it must have been.

    And just because it is important to the Bradley/issues topic, here:
    “Getting upset has caused me to hurt family, hurt friends, hurt my team, hurt fans. I need to talk to somebody about anger, get treated, find a way to correct that situation. It’s not even about baseball. This is about what I need to do for my life. I let anger get the best of me.”

    That is what he said while with the Dodgers way back in 2004, after throwing the bottle at the fans and removing his shirt – a tantrum which got him suspended for the remainder of that season too. That was also shortly before the whole Jason Reid/”Uncle Tom” disaster and an arrest for harassing police who were pulling his friend (in a different car) over. The Dodgers eventually semi-forced him into anger management classes, then the nest season is the whole Jeff Kent fight that he took public after being told not to by Ned, and his eventual removal from that clubhouse.

    He (or his PR man) knows the root of the problems (him), but still its the same Bradley over and over again. Its too bad teams cant get a player committed for mental health reasons. It would probably do the man good, and might just turn his life around for the better. As it stands though, Bradley doesn’t seriously want to change so he never will.

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  23. jcummings says:

    I understand it must be frustrating to be a cubs fan. But just because everything that can go wrong in Chicago does go wrong, does not mean it will go wrong everywhere else. Read Larry Stone’s article for the Seattle Times on Bradley. Apparently there are people who support him. Many people. Seattle is going to win next year, and that above all else, will help Bradley on the right track. Have fun in Chicago.

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  24. Justin says:

    The MB21 trade is just the beginning… I propose a complete firesale on the north side. Aramis to the M’s for prospects (this obvi makes them faves in the AL West) and trade Z, Lilly, Theriot and Lee for whatever you can get. Soto is interesting enough to hang onto and Soriano is absolutely untradeable (unless $75mil is sent with him). Hendry, of course, won’t do this because he still thinks the Cubs are close to the playoffs.

    Anyone can shove $100 mill plus at someone and have them sign. Cubs are, at best, a 76-81 win team this yr. I don’t think I’m even going to bother buying tix this yr (and I’ve gone to 30 plus games a yr for the last 5 seasons)…

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  25. B says:

    Not a cubs fan, nor do I think the trade was a good one. But this is a terribly poor, one sided story. It would be best not to be so presumptuous and also research everything for the story.

    Just one man’s opinion though.

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  26. Bobby Boden says:

    Don’t forget the 3 million in payroll the cubs got in the swap, not a large chunk of the salary they would be paying Bradley, but some of it.

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  27. Joe R says:

    Prime example of how much damage the media can actually do to a ballclub. Hendry’s not a good GM, but he’s not this bad. The media allowed the Bradley situation to snowball, and now he had to dump him for 20 cents on the dollar.

    Bradley’s not even a bad guy imo, he’s just a total loose cannon. He’s fine when he’s somewhere that the media isn’t a bunch of pig piling idiots.

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    • BX says:

      That’s the media’s job though. It’s the GM’s job to make baseball decisions, regardless of external factors.

      And, generally more payroll resources means more media. So the aggravating factor of the media is mitigated by higher payrolls, in most cases.

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      • Joe R says:

        True, but it’s no doubt that they can sensationalize stuff.

        Luckily in Boston, fans have started to tell the CHB’s of the world to shove it (he was pretty much trying to start a suicide pact about a week into Free Agency, and then tried to take credit when the Sox signed Lackey. Pitiful, really).

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    • JoeyO says:

      But Hendry IS that bad of a GM. Hendry gets credit for 2 postseason appearances where the team managed 0 wins. But people seem to gloss over that he spent over 600 Million in commitments over 3 offseasons to get said postseason appearances. Plus, every contract was higher then it should be, had major ballooning salaries, and came with a no-trade clause. Those things are the current Cubs downfall. Hendry had to remove the closer, second baseman and 5th starter last season just to add a LF in. This year he similarly has no room on his salary budget. Hendry decided that the two playoff births from a team that wasnt able to win a single game was worth destroying the future – and welcome to the future, where the team cant do a thing because he has his back so far against the wall.

      And the Media isnt the one who hurt Bradley’s value it, Bradley did. They did their job and first covered it. Then realizing how bad things had been, they harped on it. But no matter what, teams wouldnt have been lining up to trade for Bradley only a year into a 3 year deal which had Hendry calling him the missing link when it was signed. Not even a child would believe anything was going on other then his being run out of Chicago for disciplinary issues. Just like he has in 4 other cities. And do not forget, even Texas said “we dont want that headache again”.

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  28. Paul B says:

    Bradley seemed to have his best results in small market areas — San Diego and Texas.

    If Bradley can be successful anywhere, it will be in a situation such as Seattle — a team with media and fans that are relatively laid back and forgiving (at least, as long as you aren’t the designated-relief-pitching-whipping-boy-of-the-year that the fans all pile on), with a low key manager and a designated tickler that Bradley admires.

    If he wears out his welcome in Seattle in a couple of months, then he isn’t going to be able to play anywhere.

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  29. Lee says:

    The one fact everyone over looked was the fact that Hendry claim to have checked on Bradley and received glowing recommendeations.That is the reason he signed him for three years and basically competed against him self while signing him.So did he lie? What happened then to change all this?The fact that he has been with so many teams can be a positive.Teams think he can help and he has helped teams win.

    I am a long time Cub fan and I know this for a fact, Cub fans are brutal on players who struggle. They almost ran D. Lee ourt of town after he had a wrist injury.Now they arer all over Carlos and if Soto don’t get it together he will be next. Look what they did to Dusty Baker and J. Jones. Bradley just has rabbit ears and reacted to the fan badly. He could not ignore the few jerks in the crowd.
    My guess is there was a number of things that went wrong. Lou is tempermental so is Bradley.Two hot heads in a room. The fan and media expectations. Hell the media is calling for the head of two other coaches.

    I believe Hendry traded him simply because he and Lou could not co exist. Even the most out spoken Cub Dempster said if he was not trade he would welcome him back with open arms.D. Lee said he was sorry Bradley was having a hard time.

    Bradley just reacted badly to fan criticism and put too much pressure on himself.I feel in a smaller market with a low key manager he will be fine. He is not perfect but he is no demon either.How many reports of family abuse, strip clubs, drug abuse has he been in? Come on get a life and let him live his.

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    • Sam A says:

      You make some good points. For a lot of reasons the Cubs were a poor fit for Bradley from the start. My question would be how could Hendry not have seen this coming. It should have been obvious to anyone that Bradley and Lou would be a terrible mix.

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    • JoeyO says:

      “The one fact everyone over looked was the fact that Hendry claim to have checked on Bradley and received glowing recommendeations.”

      One of those people is Billy Beane. A person whom Bradley called a Liar, Busybody, Knowitall and implied he was Racist. Billy said “Bradley is a good guy and I wish him the best”. Why? Billy is a classy guy who didnt want to get into a flame war. Why else? A previous supervisor can not slander an employee to a possible place of employment. If Hendry merely called the people who were around on Bradley’s stops, then of course he would receive non-slandering reviews. But Hendry also should have been able to figure out that there was probably a reason he was the only team showing real interest.

      But let us not forget that Hendry had made up his mind to sign him after Bradley took him to the nice romantic dinner and went on and on about how much he wanted to be a Cub.
      “As we left the restaurant and stood on the curb waiting for the driver … [Bradley] said, ‘I know it’s going to take some time and you have some work to do, but I want to be a Chicago Cub if you want me,'” Hendry said. “I knew when I left that restaurant that night that he was our guy.”

      “Bradley just reacted badly to fan criticism and put too much pressure on himself.”

      That isnt true. His problems in Chicago started before he ever played a game in Chicago. He was an issue in the preseason, complaining of nagging injuries and pulling himself from the lineup. By the time he got to Chicago he had already distanced himself from the Media and team. He also started with the injury thing again and pulled himself from the lineup in the first roadtrip to open the season. By the time he actually got to Chicago he was already out of the lineup, Lou was already talking about dropping him in the order and he was already on a media boycott! Didnt help that he got himself thrown out of the game and handed a games suspension in his very first Chicago AB.

      Well the media boycott eventually led to the meeting in Lous office. Lou wasnt to happy with Bradley though as he refused to take the suspension while he was out of the lineup with his nagging injuries anyway. Instead Bradley insisted he would fight it.

      Welcome to the first week of Bradley in Chicago. The fact the Chicago fans eventually got as fed up with him as everyone else on the club supposedly did, is only natural – the reaction Bradley eventually got from the Fans is his, not anyone elses, doing. Bradley could have been loved in Chicago if he had smiled to the fans and brought a “this is war” mentality on the field. Instead he treated the game like it was too hard for him to manage, treated the media as if they had no right ever trying to interview players, treated his teammates as if his perceived wrongdoings are more important then doing the right thing to help them win and continually expressed to them it was never his fault, and treated the fans like trash, rarely ever acknowledging us even before we turned on him.

      For a person who stressed they wanted to come here so bad, Bradley did absolutely everything possible to show displeasure and make sure everyone would hate him.

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  30. BX says:

    Can Hendry be stupid enough to send Starlin Castro westward in exchange for Rajai Davis and any reliever not named Bailey?

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  31. Lee says:

    Forget the 3 Mil that the Cubs got.Silva has a 2012 option that has a 2mil buyout, I assume the Cubs are not going to exercise that puppy at 12 mil. This is basically an even trade with pocket change thrown in as a sweetner.Face it this is a bad deal no matter how you slice it.Even in his best years Silva has never been a 11million dollar player.That why the Twins hidn’t try to make a competing offer, and he was coming off a career year.

    He got this contract because there was a shortage of FA pitchers. The GM who signned him to this stupid contract was fired by the way.

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  32. Sam A says:

    This article is based on two flawed assumptions. The first is that the Cubs would have gotten some value from Bradley had they kept him which is clearly not the case. The other is that the Cubs in some way wanted/valued Carlos Silva. There is no reason to believe this is true. Trading for Silva was simply a means to an end. They may hope to get some value from Silva, but they, along with the rest of us, know he is unlikely to add much, if any, value to their team.

    The way I see it, the answer to the question, “What are the Cubs doing,” is quite simple: they are turning $0 into $6,000,000.

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    • BX says:

      he first is that the Cubs would have gotten some value from Bradley had they kept him which is clearly not the case.

      Yes, they would have. Not trade value, but definitely performance value. Bradley in a corner is way more valuable than Silva in the rotation. You don’t just make moves to satisfy your manager.

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      • Sam A says:

        I agree that Bradley >>> Silva. I just don’t believe he would have returned to the Cubs under any circumstances. They pretty much let it be known he wouldn’t be back and they would almost certainly have dumpted him had they been unable to find a trade partner.

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      • Norm says:

        Do you make moves to satisfy your manager, coaches, and the 24 other men in the locker room?

        There was literally a standing ovation by Cubs players when the Bradley suspension was announced.

        There was 0 chance Bradley was giving the Cubs any value in RF.

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  33. Lee says:

    The problem is Hendry is a great guy but he is not and I repeat he is not a good fit for the Cubs.They tried to hide his short comings by surrounding him with all so called experienced basball people. I am afraid the the Peter principle has applied to Hendry. He has been promoted to his level of incompetence.The people above him Tribune trained accountants don’t see the problem.

    The problem is they are poor at judging and developing talent.Look with the Cubs record the only position players they have developed on this team has been Soto and Theriot.The others that they heralded have been busts here and everywhere they have been traded. The good trades were salary dumps by other teams that turned out right ie D.Lee and A.Ram. Add in free agent gambles Lily and Dempster.Jeff Baker may be another surprise.

    The one smart thing Hendry did was get the guy from Toronto and he runs the draft.That is why we are getting a few decent minor league draft picks.Hendry blew it every year before 2007 with the exceptions of Wood and Pryor and Ray Charles could have made those picks.

    Hendry is a good guy, he is just over his head and there is noboby that he reports to that can tell him NO that is DUMB.

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  34. JoeyO says:

    “The problem is they are poor at judging and developing talent.Look with the Cubs record the only position players they have developed on this team has been Soto and Theriot.”

    Hendry inherited both those players in the system, as well as about every other prospect that has been brought up over his tenure. For all the years Hendry has been in charge, he most notable additions to the farm system are Sean Marshall and the Shark – an over-slot guy that everyone knew had potential but no one knew would have such little talent.

    “Hendry blew it every year before 2007 with the exceptions of Wood and Pryor and Ray Charles could have made those picks.”

    Hendry didnt make those picks, they were in the system when Hendry took over as GM.

    “The one smart thing Hendry did was get the guy from Toronto and he runs the draft.”

    I am guessing you mean Tim Wilken, who came from Tampa. And yes, he is much better at drafting – but he also likes to take gambles on projection guys. So far the last year or two have resulted in solid looking drafts. His first couple resulted in Mark Pawelek, Donald Veal and Tyler Colvin types – ie, disappointments. But like I said, I feel much better with him in charge then when Hendry basically played puppet master with Stockstill

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    • Bill says:

      Funny thing about the Cubs long lack of success with position players: it seems to me that Cubs fans and the local media now greatly undervalue prospects. I’ve seen many blog commenters and beat writers urge the team to trade Castro for Granderson or just about anybody in the last month. They just KNOW that he’ll turn to crap like the previous Cub prospects, so of course they should be traded immediately for overpriced proven veterans!

      And if the team does as the fans & writers ask, their history of poor player development will continue. Sort of like a self-fulfilling prophecy.

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  35. Goose says:

    Maybe someone pointed this out already, but look at Erik Manning…founder of Future Redbirds. Yeah, he isn’t biased at all.

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  36. Eric says:

    This is funny seeing all of the Cubs fans try so somehow rationalize the trade into a positive by telling Seattle fans he’s going to be a cancer and ruin the whole team. Obviously you guys don’t understand the type of clubhouse, or media we have. I personally will enjoy rooting for Bradley on his way to a 25 HR season.

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    • JoeyO says:

      Spoken like a true Indians fan circa July 01, a true Dodgers fan circa April 03, a true A’s fan circa Dec 05 or a true Cubs fan circa Dec 08.

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      • Eric says:

        Not the same situation. It just isn’t. See what Rangers fans have to say about Bradley.

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      • JoeyO says:

        You mean the Rangers club that wasnt interested in a trade because they werent sure they wanted to deal with “that headache” again?

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  37. Eric says:

    It was a money thing not a they don’t want to sign Bradley thing. There are plenty of reports that the Rangers were one of the teams interested in Bradley even this year.

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    • JoeyO says:

      They were interested in Bradley the hitter, but eventually decided against a trade siting they werent sure they wanted to deal with ““that headache” again. (their words)

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