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December 18, 2009

Transaction Action

Playing Milton Bradley Games

by Christina Kahrl

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DETROIT TIGERS
Team Audit | Player Cards | Depth Chart

Designated C-R Dusty Ryan for assignment. [12/16]

An interesting development, because he might slip through waivers because of a market flooded with generally adequate right-handed-hitting catchers. There again, the general adequacy might be what inspires somebody to grab one set to make right around the major-league minimum.


KANSAS CITY ROYALS
Team Audit | Player Cards | Depth Chart

Signed RHP Philip Humber and OF-L Shane Costa to minor-league contracts. [12/15]

SEATTLE MARINERS
Team Audit | Player Cards | Depth Chart

Acquired OF-S Milton Bradley from the Cubs for RHP Carlos Silva and $6 million; re-signed OF-L Ryan Langerhans to a one-year $525,000 contract. [12/18]

Seattle's paying $27 million for right to employ Milton Bradley for two years and to delete one of Bill Bavasi's bigger mistakes... and it seems like a good idea. Really? Well, of course. First, they were already stuck for $25 million over the next two years with Silva, a pitcher the surgeon general had already recommended they avoid lest they strike team bean-counters and the odd over-50 fan dead from apoplexy. That was guaranteed dead space on the budget, money spent on a pitcher who would do nothing to advance the team any closer to the postseason, and nothing was the optimal possible outcome, whether that was having him on the DL, cutting him and hoping to recoup the major-league minimum if anyone claimed him-a big if-or if they sent him to Alpah Centauri as a goodwill ambassador for the Major League Baseball. Anything but letting him actually pitch, because that risked moving them in the wrong direction.

So put that way, they're getting Milton Bradley for two years for $2 million dollars, and they've repurposed a sink-worthy cost into a worthwhile risk. Bradley isn't going to repeat his 2008 season with the Rangers-that's one BABIP that really was certain to regress-but in Seattle, as in Texas, he's not going to be close to the center of attention and controversy, not when they've got Ken Griffey Jr.'s last spin and Ichiro Suzuki around as media magnets, not to mention King Felix, and this brand-spanking-new Cliff Lee over in that corner. Also, it's perhaps a smaller, subtler thing, but it's worth remembering how effectively the Mariners' media-relations team sheltered a younger Griffey, and if there's a legacy there, maybe that helps Milton be Milton on the diamond instead of in the headlines.

The other advantage to adding him to the Mariners given their current roster construction is that he's joining a team that doesn't have a set DH. I know, they have Griffey, but Griffey's not going to play every day, and you can expect the graying Kid will get a few starts in left field. If he's rotating between left and DH, can they get 110 lineup starts from him, or 140? Already tasked with the difficult responsibility of managing Milton, we'll see if Don Wakamatsu strikes the right balance as far as spotting Bradley 50-80 starts at DH, 40-60 times in left, and maybe 10 in right if Ichiro doesn't resume his run of 160-game seasons. Or maybe Bradley's only here 40 games before he gets hurt. Or clashes with teammates and management and is gone by July-if you already think in terms of how the roster spot was wasted with Silva, and Bradley makes enough of a nuisance of himself, it's an outcome you can't rule out altogether. Like the nuclear option, you just hope it doesn't come up, but the challenge for Jack Zduriencik and Wakamatsu will be proactive and see if there's any way to set Bradley at ease in his new circumstance, so that resorting to it never gets as close as it did in Wrigleyville.

Finally, we can turn to the truly happy and perhaps fantastic concept of what Bradley can do for a lineup. Because all the other stuff really does seem to get in the way of employing Bradley, it's not a stretch to call it fantasy, but it's one worth indulging. Bradley's walk rate shouldn't wobble too far from the 12-15 percent mark he's managed the last four years, and for a Mariners lineup that ranked last in the AL in walks, that's manna from heaven. Combined with switch-hitting and some power, that should provide a Mariners lineup with some help. The question is: how much power? As noted, he isn't going to repeat that .388 BABIP from Texas, and it takes a lot of faith in the powers of a happy Milton to think he'll get his ISO back up around .240, his clip from 2007-08. Still, morale's an issue we can't wish away, so while almost every other player in baseball wouldn't be the sort of player you'd assert is going to improve moving from the weaker league to Safeco, Bradley might be. Say he matches his career rate of .170, plus an OBP somewhere in the .370s, and that's a pretty serious offensive asset, before we even get into the M's absolute need.

The nagging question that so many are always ready to ask about Milton Bradley, though, is this: Could he do more? That's the wonderful thing about wishing upon Milton Bradley-as much as we're now all very familiar with the negative, sometimes he surprises you to the good. Then again, could he do less? Of course, he has, and it's almost certain that someday he will again. Only one team, Texas, has ever seen Milton Bradley leave and think fondly of him as he departed. But for $2 million to find out, while adapting a sunk cost to the adventure, the Mariners have created the possibility that they might just end up with enough offense to win the division. More will help, of course-they might still pursue Jason Bay and reduce Griffey to Designated Cheerleader, and they still need to get a first baseman. But as a way of creating hope from a roster spot and an expense where none existed, this is one bit of craziness well worth risking.


TAMPA BAY RAYS
Team Audit | Player Cards | Depth Chart

Signed RHPs Winston Abreu, Jeff Bennett, Joe Bateman, and Richard De Los Santos, LHPs R.J. Swindle, Jason Cromer, and Carlos Hernandez, and 1B-L Chris Richard to minor-league contracts. [12/14]
Signed INF-R Joe Dillon and 1B-R Ryan Shealy to minor-league contracts. [12/18]

There are a couple of semi-amusing things here, in a minor key. For those among us still harboring hopes for Ryan Shealy turning into something more than a first-base platoon's short side, I'm sure you're going over his latest landing. Me, I'm thinking Durham's shot at the Governor's cup is looking pretty good, what with Dillon, Richard, and Shealy to bop for the Bulls, so kudos to the Rays for keeping a top affiliate happy. The other semi-amusing thing is the Rays bringing back Winston Abreu after yo-yo'ing him over to the Indians and back in an exchange of epic desperation and pointlessness? Sure, as if Indians fans didn't have cause enough to bitch and Meloan.


TEXAS RANGERS
Team Audit | Player Cards | Depth Chart

Signed RHP Geoff Geary and MI-S Ray Olmedo to minor-league contracts; outrighted UT-R Esteban German and LHP Clay Rapada to Oklahoma City (Triple-A). [12/16]

CHICAGO CUBS
Team Audit | Player Cards | Depth Chart

Acquired RHP Carlos Silva and $6 million from the Mariners for OF-S Milton Bradley. [12/18]

So, we all knew that Milton Bradley was going to be an ex-Cub, and everyone knew that we all knew it, and knowing that, nobody who knew much about anything was going to give anything up to get him, which Jim Hendry knew. Or found out, because, let's face it, he's not telepathic. So he wound up making a turkey swap, ditching one regret for another, and instead of winding up achieving any of the innumerable rumors involving the Rays for Pat Burrell, or the Rangers for a pan of brownies and a hug, he went with the most easily convertible currency possible: pitching.

Whatever Silva's for, if healthy, he's no prize. The contract's no cause for joy, even with a $6 million payoff to help defray the expense: $25 million, spread out as $11.5 million for 2010 and again in 2011, followed by an inevitable $2 million buyout of his 2012 option. Since Bradley was due $21 million, they've netted $2 million over the next two years, not much as such things go. The question, did they get anything beyond the $2 million and a re-purposed roster spot? In Silva's last full season in a rotation back in '08, his first and last as a Mariners regular, he produced a .396 SNWP, which is merely the worst-ever rotation starter season in Seattle Mariners history for a hurler with 150 IP. Keep in mind what that means: these are the Mariners, an expansion team, once upon a time a paragon of patsydom, and this man was their worst. Admittedly, Silva's a pitch-to-contact pitcher who probably wasn't helped much by the Mariners defense the team was at such pains to repair before 2009, but that can't be a good thing to have.

Even assuming he's fixable or adds a couple of ticks on his fastball in a bullpen role he's initially likely to be stranded in, at best we're still talking about a low-90s guy who doesn't fool people with it or his changeup; maybe relief work makes it easier for him to rely on his slider, as that's his best pitch. He's relatively effective at keeping runners close, so at least he has that going for him, but why play for peanuts when the guy on the mound's passing out cookies? Oh, and he's coming to the easier league, although if he's in the pen, it isn't like he's going to get the benefit of facing pitchers. However, it's worth nothing that there's a very real chance/threat that he could wind up in the rotation, because there's plenty of uncertainty in the unit, between Carlos Zambrano's decline, the question of whether or what Randy Wells can do for an encore, and the inconsistency of the currently penciled-in occupant of the fifth slot, Tom Gorzelanny. I suppose that's the double-savior role Silva might fill: making Wrigleyville safe from both the menace of Milton Bradley and the equally demoralizing menace of the odd Jeff Samardzija start.

The new dilemma is what this means for the Cubs' outfield, but we really sort of already know the answer: Kosuke Fukudome is going to right, which is why the Burrell rumor had about as much leg as Toulouse-Lautrec, and about as much attraction to the Cubs as a Caribbean Cruise with Hawk Harrelson. It seems unlikely that they'd really just run with Sam Fuld as their everyday center fielder, but I supposed it's possible, in that they'd wind up with a lefty bat and a guy who swipe a few bases, but with negligible power and an OBP that might bounce around .320, turning to Fuld would be like enlisting the lefty doppelganger of the Bobby Dernier experience. This lineup might be able to afford that if Alfonso Soriano and Geovany Soto and Mike Fontenot (in a part-time role) all bounce back, and if Aramis Ramirez gives them a full season. More likely, I expect this means they're calling Marlon Byrd's agent, which won't really improve matters much, but they just found $6 million, and that just gotta spent somehow, right? Milton who?

So now there's no more Milton Bradley; no doubt his games will go on, just on different boards. There's no consolation in having made him go away, and the question as to what they were thinking when, as Joe Sheehan put it last spring, they tried to make Milton do the things he cannot do simultaneously (play outfield, hit, and stay healthy). I don't think Hendry takes any special pride in learning that the hard, up-close way, even if his gamble that Bradley could be the first player to ever manage a jump from DHing in the American League one year to playing a full season in the outfield in the National.

The Cubs aren't the first team to have been burned by the Milton Bradley experience, of course. They're just the ones who spent the most for the rare pleasure of finding out they're not the right fit for this generation's Richie Allen. You can blame Hendry for making a mistake in trying to find what wasn't there in last winter's market at the point he'd swung into action, and land a premium bat from the left side to stick into the middle of the order; acting earlier to get in on Raul Ibanez wouldn't have guaranteed a happy result, however, since that still would have forced either the DH-ly Ibanez or the routinely frightening Alfonso Soriano to move to right field. But that option was already off the table in January, and taking that hit on defense, was one already implicit in their trying Bradley. Simply going for Adam Dunn is the big miss of last winter, but it's worth remembering that Dunn has managed to alienate and annoy his share of people as well. That wouldn't have helped them with Fukudome's limitations in center, however, but trying to peg what one decision you could undo to "fix" the Cubs' current situation and shunt them down the trunk of a much happier decision tree is a fool's errand; this far down the rabbit hole, these stories usually end with cries of "off with his head!"

So, the Cubs tried something crazy and expensive, and it wound up being crazy and expensive. The disappointment that they achieved in building up their fractious relationship with Bradley and then fracturing it is that, having decided he was a waste of a roster spot, they made absolutely sure of it by trading him for Silva.


Christina Kahrl is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Christina's other articles. You can contact Christina by clicking here

55 comments have been left for this article. (Click to hide comments)

BP Comment Quick Links

jrfukudome

Jose = Carlos

Dec 18, 2009 15:35 PM
rating: 2
 
jrfukudome

Wait. Are the Cubs getting $6 million or $9 million? The Tribune is reporting $9 million.

Dec 18, 2009 15:38 PM
rating: 0
 
cubfan131

MLB is reporting 6 mil. I'd believe MLB.

Dec 18, 2009 17:05 PM
rating: 1
 
ddrezner

Wait, did I miss a TA about the Red Sox signings of Mike Cameron and John Lackey?

Dec 18, 2009 15:40 PM
rating: 1
 
JoeSky60

Also, about the Sox signing Juan Pierre?

Dec 18, 2009 16:57 PM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Christina Kahrl
BP staff
(11)

The Pierre trade's over in the other bit today that just went up.

Dec 18, 2009 17:21 PM
 
BP staff member Christina Kahrl
BP staff
(11)

The coverage of Lackey and Cameron's over in the other article that ran today. Red Sox do smart stuff, film at 11.

Dec 18, 2009 18:40 PM
 
Brecken

So versus just releasing Bradley, the Cubs gave up the right to the League Minimum to have a say in where Milton went? And he went to a team that can take advantage of his skills in a low pressure atmosphere?

Nice of Jim Hendry, but I really don't see what the Cubs got out of this...

Dec 18, 2009 16:34 PM
rating: 2
 
cubfan131

They got 2 mil in savings which is most likely better then the gamble that someone signs him for more then the min.

Dec 18, 2009 17:06 PM
rating: 1
 
BP staff member Christina Kahrl
BP staff
(11)

Brecken's point is that it's more like $1.2 million, since two player-seasons at the minimum would run you roughly a combined $800,000.

Dec 18, 2009 17:23 PM
 
Richard Bergstrom

I wonder if any player has played for more AL/NL West teams than Bradley. I count Oakland, Texas, Los Angeles, San Diego and now Seattle. Rockies, Giants and Angels are left.

Dec 18, 2009 16:42 PM
rating: 1
 
markjosephs

Is Fuld really that bad? Where do you get the .320 OBP? The guy takes more pitches than most in the Cubs lineup, which isn't saying much, but still...

Dec 18, 2009 16:43 PM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Christina Kahrl
BP staff
(11)

His translated 2009 line from Iowa (.324 OBP), and the fact that, at 28, he's not a youngster with a lot of untapped potential. Extraordinary things do happen, of course; I still think of Bob Dernier's .356 OBP in '84 in those terms, although he was more patient in the minors than he's given credit for.

Dec 18, 2009 17:27 PM
 
Peter7899

Well Silva will now own two records. The worst season in Mariners history and the most expensive mop up relief pitcher in history. 2010 is gonna be awesome, just awesome, to be a cubs fan.

I can't wait for Hendry to shuck out another long term deal for a crappy outfielder in Byrd. Please lord, prove to me you're real and let them have the sense to sign Ankiel for a cheap year instead.

Dec 18, 2009 17:54 PM
rating: 0
 
mcbellows

Sure it appears that Silva sucks and he probably does but a few years back he had only 7 unintentional walks in 188 IP. If his arm isn't shredded he may have value to a team with stellar defense.

We are probably just days away from Byrd signing for 3/33 and that will be the nail in the coffin for Hendry.

Dec 18, 2009 18:46 PM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Christina Kahrl
BP staff
(11)

A fair point re: D, because the Cubs do have that going for them:

http://www.baseballprospectus.com/statistics/sortable/index.php?cid=79458

... and can expect it to be better still with A-Ram healthy, Fukudome in right, and a major league-caliber CF out there.

Dec 19, 2009 08:34 AM
 
Benjamin Harris

"bitch and Meloan," nice.

Dec 18, 2009 18:58 PM
rating: 0
 
seedanrun

Sorry if this is a bit off-topic, but after reading so many of these deal analyses, I want to just say:

Thank you, Christina Kahrl - this might be the best $5 a month I've ever spent. (insert standing ovation)

Dec 18, 2009 19:32 PM
rating: 12
 
Richard Bergstrom

I just get the year subscription, then I get a discount on the Annual.

Dec 19, 2009 08:22 AM
rating: -3
 
TheRealNeal

Point of fact - the Padres were plenty happy with Bradley, until they cleverly ruined his knee and cost themselves a trip to the playoffs.

Dec 18, 2009 19:51 PM
rating: 1
 
TheRealNeal

Point of fact two - Bradley tends to hurt himself playing offense, not defense.

Dec 18, 2009 19:55 PM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Christina Kahrl
BP staff
(11)

Point taken, but that wasn't the assertion.

Dec 18, 2009 22:07 PM
 
TheRealNeal
Other readers have rated this comment below the viewing threshold. Click here to view anyway.

"You're asking people to do things their bodies long ago stopped being able to do, and that's a recipe for failure." From the article you cited. He played 108 games in the field and lost another 15 or so due to "manager's discretion". The assertion was wrong.

Dec 19, 2009 05:07 AM
rating: -5
 
BP staff member Christina Kahrl
BP staff
(11)

Except that he didn't hit so well. It's about getting two of three things (hitting, outfield play, health), not about getting hurt playing the outfield.

Dec 19, 2009 08:36 AM
 
TheRealNeal
Other readers have rated this comment below the viewing threshold. Click here to view anyway.

Seriously, let's look at the facts.

Can players hit well and field at Milton Bradley's age?
Has Milton Bradley shown the ability to hit well while playing in the field?
When Bradley was primarily a DH did he hit better as a DH or as a position player?

There's not really any evidence to support Joe's hypothesis. When it was disproved, you're trying to add additional stipulations to the hypothesis to make it seem like it was correct.

Ironically, the sort of logic that Joe used is on par with the decision making process that got Silva his four year contract. You never look at one season of data and conclusively decide anything from it, in particular when you have other data available.

Dec 19, 2009 11:11 AM
rating: -5
 
Dougie4512

We're not talking about one year of Bradley blowing out his knee arguing with an umpire. We're talking about a series of years where Bradley has been hurt, and whether he's hurt on an offensive play or defensive play, the fact he's been hurt far less when a DH supports the assertion that he can't play defense, stay healthy, and hit at the same time...oh yea, he sucked last year too while trying to do all three--so there's that.

Dec 19, 2009 08:50 AM
rating: 4
 
TheRealNeal

"the fact he's been hurt far less when a DH supports the assertion that he can't play defense, stay healthy, and hit at the same time..."

Excellent. My only problem with this is that it's not a fact. He was available for more games last year than in 2008, and the year he played his most games, he played outfield.

The facts actually support the contention that he is more likely to stay healthy while playing the outfield, if you would be foolish enough to try to tease cause and effect out of one year of him being a DH immediately following ACL surgery.

Dec 19, 2009 10:57 AM
rating: -2
 
Adam Madison

You sure proved your point!

Dec 19, 2009 11:50 AM
rating: 1
 
Patrick

You'd probably convince more of us if you gave us an example of when he did all three (hit well, play the field, and stay healthy). The only year he's managed to avoid the DL was 2004. He set a career high playing in 141 games (138 in the outfield) for the Dodgers, but only hit .267/.362/.424 - decent, but not up to his career averages. Every other year, he's missed significant time due to injury, been used primarily as a DH, hit well below his established level, or some combination of the above.

Dec 19, 2009 17:03 PM
rating: 0
 
ostrowj1

The "Fact" that Neal is disputing is based on one's years worth of data where Bradley had a BABIP "he isn't going to repeat". There is no real evidence to back up the assertion of Joe and Christina, and simply repeating the mantra is not going prove it to be true. Some people expect more out of BP. Maybe I am wrong, but when I first started reading BP, it countered narrow-minded thinking with thoughtful and insightful analysis. More and more, it just offers a different flavor of narrow-minded thinking.

Dec 19, 2009 18:20 PM
rating: -1
 
Patrick

Yes, technically it's not a fact that Milton is unable to do all three simultaneously. He might at some point in the future. Joe and Christina are simply pointing out that he has not yet proven that he can, and they have ten seasons' worth of data to back up that assertion.

Providing some actual evidence to support your position instead of arguing about semantics and bitching about BP's supposed groupthink would probably get more people to come around to your point of view.

Dec 19, 2009 18:58 PM
rating: 2
 
ostrowj1

So, I cannot complain about someone making assertions without providing actual evidence to support their conclusion but you can?

Dec 19, 2009 19:52 PM
rating: -2
 
TheRealNeal

Unlike you and Christina, I actually read Joe's article, so I guess I am at an advantage. The article doesn't say anything about Bradley having some EQA or OPS+ bar he needs to cross, to qualify for your chocolate bar wrapped in gold. It simply says that he cannot play 100 games in the outfield. He was wrong. Christina was wrong to cite the article.

Moving on, Bradley has shown in multiple seasons that he can be a very good offensive player while playing the field. What Bradley hasn't shown, even in his year as a DH is that he can remain healthy. There's no real evidence that supports the thought that "Bradley hits worse while fielding". In his best offensive season, he hit the best while playing the field. In his second best season, he played the field. Nor is there data to support that his likeliness to be available for games is positively or negatively affected by him playing the field. He was available for more games in 2009 than 2008, despite having to play the field more often.

That is the type of reasoning and data interpretation that BP has built it's reputation on, not this jumping to conclusions that Joe and Christina did in this case.

Dec 19, 2009 20:33 PM
rating: -2
 
CRP13

Ordinary logic dictates that your last paragraph is absurd.

Move around more, make quick start-and-stop sprints, increase the risk of collision with walls/other outfielders, dive face-first to catch line drives, and then immediately come to bat and swing your arms with enough force to push a 2-pound piece of cork, yarn, and beef over 300 feet with a small bit of tree?

That definitely sounds like a recipe to stay healthy for a guy who has never been able to do it - under ANY circumstances. Reminder: In his "healthy" recent season, he still missed 56 games.

Dec 21, 2009 06:37 AM
rating: 0
 
ostrowj1

Does a cursory glance at Milton's stats support Joe's statement? Yes. But does that mean that he is right to make it? David Ortiz is cluth, Arod is not. Milton can only do 2 of three things. Small sample sizes and approaching deadlines make these things true.

It seems to me that the assertion that you have to "pick 2" with Bradley is based on his 2008 season, where he primarily DHd (though still played 40 games in the outfield) and had an excellent year at the plate. A year, that as Christina points out, where he enjoyed a fluke BABIP. Note, prior to 2008, he only DHd in 10 games.

My argument (I will not speak for TheRealNeal), is that (1) Joe's claim was not well supported when he made it (which would be fine, until it is repeated) and (2) it does not seem that there is enough evidence to support the claim. Point (1) is a lot more important than point (2). I can disagree with a claim (or "fact in this case), that has not been supported. I do not need to disprove the claim.

I feel lot of the criticism is based solely on the fact that someone is disagreeing with Joe. Chris, you claim "Bradley has never been able to do it [stay healthy]- under ANY circumstances". You agree with Joe when he says that Bradley can stay healthy and be a productive hitter if he is not fielding? Is that not a circumstance?

Dec 21, 2009 08:58 AM
rating: 0
 
CRP13

I'm not sure I take your point. Suppose you're right about everything you said, and that Joe can't back up his assertion and therefore Christina is wrong for agreeing with it in writing.

What's your freaking point?

Are you and Neal here to read about baseball, or to try to "win" an imaginary argument against the writers? Joe and Christina have an opinion based on a certain set of data, and you have yours. Why this ridiculous ongoing thrust to be RIGHT?

You made your point, and in some places it's valid, now drop it for Pete's sake!

My own comment wasn't a defense of either "side", simply an attempt to humorously point out that this debate between You, Neal, and (who? Christina certainly hasn't responded beyond the first questions posed...) really seems to be (from an outsider's viewpoint) as an attempt to sound smart by discrediting people that do way, WAY more research on the subject than either you or I do.

Anyway. I enjoy BP and sometimes I disagree. But I don't make a federal case out of it.

Dec 21, 2009 09:30 AM
rating: 1
 
ostrowj1

Not exactly on point with this article, but I was thinking how good the media has been at telling us who the "good guys" are. Tiger Woods, he is (was) a good guy, before him, Kobe Bryant, Kirby Puckett, ... Not that I put much thought into what the "mainstream media" says, but I do wonder how far off base their good guy / bad guy stories are.

Dec 19, 2009 06:53 AM
rating: 1
 
Richard Bergstrom

Reminds me of the Dustin Hoffman movie "Hero". The media spends a bunch of time building people up just to tear them back down, selling time/space to advertisers along the upslope and the downslope. Then, don't forget the heartbreaking redemption stories, cue the analyst, makeup in 5... 4... 3... (2) (1).

Dec 19, 2009 08:26 AM
rating: 3
 
ChuckR

"The disappointment what they achieved in building up their fractious relationship with Bradley and then fracturing it is that, having decided he was a waste of a roster spot, they made absolutely sure of it by trading him for Silva."

- by far my favorite line from BP.com in all of 2009.

I should know the answer to this, but in the event that Silva is hurt and misses substantial parts of the next two years, do the Cubs get a break on his salary from some insurance contract? Is there a financial upside to the team for a lost season due to injury?

Dec 19, 2009 08:04 AM
rating: 1
 
EnderCN

I'll take the under on a 4.75 ERA from Silva. 2009 was basically lost to injury and in 2008 most of that ERA was BABIP/LOB%. Assuming his shoulder is healthy he is most likely that 4.50-4.75 ERA type of guy that his peripherals suggest.

Dec 19, 2009 09:01 AM
rating: 0
 
J Scott

Did Cashman have a choice between Burnett and Lackey? I must have had my head turned at the wrong moment.

Dec 19, 2009 09:20 AM
rating: 0
 
Matt Kory

Well, in the same way he had a choice between Mark Teixeira and Matt Holliday.

Dec 20, 2009 05:40 AM
rating: 0
 
ScottyB

Re: Milton Bradley

990 OPS as DH
790 OPS as OF

Joe and Christina are right about him

Dec 19, 2009 17:14 PM
rating: 2
 
ostrowj1

It would be foolish to draw the conclusions you are inferring based on those statistics.

Dec 19, 2009 18:06 PM
rating: -2
 
Bill N

It's not news that he hit in Texas. His presumed replacement in Chicago, Marlon Byrd, also hit in Texas. Gary Matthews Jr. also hit... in Texas!

Dec 22, 2009 08:34 AM
rating: 0
 
sbnirish77

The reason Bradley didn't last in Chicago was his BAT and ATTITUDE - not his abilty to remain on the field ...

Joe said it would have NOTHING to do with his temper or bat ... which was WRONG and Christina was wrong to cite his article as predictive as such ...

"Let's repeat that: Milton Bradley has played in 100 games in the field just twice since becoming a full-time major leaguer. That, and not his temper, is the biggest reason to be wary of how this story ends...

That's why this signing was a mistake. It has nothing to do with Bradley's anger-management issues, ones that have defined his career. It has nothing to do with Bradley's skill set as a hitter"

Dec 19, 2009 21:35 PM
rating: -1
 
Richard Bergstrom

Here's a silly question. I know the Mariners had a 20-something game swing upwards from 2008 to 2009. Why is no one mentioning the plexiglass principle? Even the Rays, a much more talented squad than the Mariners and also built simila

rly on pitching and defense, regressed from 2008 to 2009. Also, in 2009, for all the pitching and defense the Mariners had, they still had a negative run differential. Does Bradley/Figgins/Lee really change all that? Help it? Yes... but the Angels were +122 and that's a lot to catch up to.

Dec 19, 2009 21:49 PM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Christina Kahrl
BP staff
(11)

I wouldn't rush to assert the plexiglass principle because they won't be fielding the same team in 2010 as the one that made that jump from 2008 in 2009. Instead, Zduriencik's working on making it a better club.

The more interesting point is that "fixing" a defense, a la the Rays in 2008, doesn't necessarily mean it stays fixed--the Rays regressed to the middle of the pack in PADE in 2009. That isn't to strike a cautionary note about the Mariners: Gutierrez and Ichiro in the outfield plus a full year of Jack Wilson at short plus Figgins at third should all equal improvement, not regression, but that only goes towards how little we know about patterns and predictability in fielding performance, let alone what we can discern relying on fielding performance metrics.

Dec 20, 2009 01:32 AM
 
Richard Bergstrom

I'm not saying the plexiglass principle is guaranteed, but I haven't even seen it mentioned yet.

As noted, evaluating defense is still a bit of a gray area, where players are lumped into "probably helps", "probably hurts", "everyone else" depending on what three to four different defensive metrics say. Gutierrez and Ichiro were in the outfield last year, both are getting older, and might regress every so slightly. Throw in a 32 year shortstop and a 31 year old third baseman, and the offchance that Beltre resigns, pushing Figgins to second and Lopez to first, and there's a decent chance of defensive regression.

The problem is, this is a team relying on pitching and defense with a real weakness on offense. That's a pretty unstable tripod. Sure they had a great defense last year, but if the defense regresses ala the Rays, then the Mariners will be tip over.

Hey, I'm as happy as anyone that the Mariners have a plan and people in place to put it into motion, but I'm not ready to assert that they're the favorites in the AL West yet. The Angels have had a good team for a long time that keeps defying assertions with an ownership that'll make moves if it sees the need. Meanwhile, the Mariners still need another bat... be it a return of Russell Branyan or some other first baseman masher... because they kind of ran out of position player slots to attempt an upgrade.

Dec 20, 2009 14:09 PM
rating: 0
 
elm
(41)

Well, let's say the plexiglass principle is in place and last years 85 win team would have become, what?, a 75 win team this year? Adding Lee adds, say, another 6 wins to that. Figgins and Bradley add, say, 3 wins over who they're replacing. So that gets the Mariners back to 84 wins: probably a move or two short of really contending, but if the Angels regress enough, the Rangers need another year, or the Mariners get lucky, that might be good enough to win as constructed and they're probably not done yet either.

Dec 21, 2009 05:59 AM
rating: 0
 
Richard Bergstrom

Part of the problem is just the league. If the Mariners were in the NL, where no team really runs away with the division and the wild card isn't mostly limited to Boston or the Yankees, then a team that makes moves like the Mariners have been makes more sense because there are, in effect, two playoff spots to shoot for (division title and wild card).

In the AL though, they really only have a shot at the AL West and a lesser one at the wild card. In other words, instead of having two ways to reach the playoffs, they really only have one. A lot of things have to break right for the Mariners just so they contend in the AL West, but they don't have the safety cushion of a wild card to fall back to. Is it worth taking on payroll or trading away prospects and/or forfeiting draft picks by signing free agents for a semi-shot?

Dec 21, 2009 09:36 AM
rating: 0
 
eighteen

Jim Hendry not telepathic? My God, the man's barely sentient.

Fortunately for Cubs fans, they won't have to put up that bozo much longer (he'll be gone by August). But it will take years to re-build the organization - and 2010 is going to be a very, very long one.

Dec 21, 2009 10:18 AM
rating: 0
 
Peter7899

I have to disagree with you eighteen. Not sure how you can't expect some regression towards the mean (in the good direction) for Soriano and Soto and possibly Fontenot. The core from the 97 win 2008 team (Soto, Soriano, Lee, Ramirez, Zambrano, Dempster, Lilly) is still expected to be very productive, and with a creative and smart solution for CF, I think this team is well equipped to contend in the NL Central in 2010. I don't see the Cardinals running away with it by any means.

Although I can't defend Hendry in creating the stifling roster inflexibility he's dealing with now, he has had the Cubs in the playoffs two out of the last three years, and in decent position for three years out of four. You gotta give him credit for that.

Dec 22, 2009 09:13 AM
rating: 1
 
eighteen

Well, only the future can tell, but...

2008 was the aberration for Soto. As for the rest, they're all a year older, a step slower, more susceptible to injury; and expecting improvement from any of them is, as Christina so eloquently puts it, pure wishcasting.

Jim Hendry hasn't found smart, creative solutions for either RF or CF the past 5 years (unless you want to count a half season of Jim Edmonds a couple years ago). You expect he'll pull one out of his hat this time? Good luck with that.

The Cubs are the only big-market team in baseball's weakest division. They're a giant among midgets in market terms. They should be in the playoffs EVERY year. Instead, they've been to the playoffs only 3 times since Hendry took over in 2002; and were swept in the first round twice. The Milwaukee Brewers have won more playoff games the past 6 seasons than the Cubs. Think about that a few minutes. Let the magnitude of that epic fail sink in.

You want to give that moron Hendry credit, fine. But I doubt you'll be so charitable 9 months from now.

Dec 22, 2009 16:58 PM
rating: 0
 
Patrick

I agree that the Cubs should be more successful than they are and that Hendry makes a lot of questionable decisions, but I just wanted to point out that Houston is something like the fourth biggest market in the country. If it was just about market size, the Cubs and the Astros should be fighting for the division every year.

Dec 23, 2009 05:35 AM
rating: 0
 
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