A League of Her Own

Chicago Cubs Friday Headlines: The Sound of Silence

 

Once again the Winter Meetings have come and gone, and once again the Cubs leave a worse team than we went in, having let Rich Harden and his spectacular as walk off into the proverbial susnset because they wouldn't give him a measley $7.5 million. I haven't been this depressed about the state of the Cubs since I heard we signed Aaron Miles.

But don't worry, kids! Jim Hendry is ON it.


After all the meetings, phone calls and power lunches, here's where the Cubs are:

Bradley: It may sound like a broken record, but the Rays remain the prohibitive favorite in a trade for Pat Burrell. How much the Cubs will eat of the $9 million difference in their contracts remains to be seen, but the words "almost all" seem appropriate. Where Burrell will be flipped also is unknown, but the Cubs need to pull the trigger soon on a deal even if they have no current landing spot for Burrell. It was a bad signing. Get over it and move on.

I've been staring at that paragraph for twenty minutes, and I still can't figure out what "prohibitive favorite" means. Additionally, Paul Sullivan's personal vendetta against Milton Bradley continues to play itself out in a most shameful fashion. Seriously, I would rather DATE Milton Bradley and debate race in America every night over dinner than have Pat Burrell on this team.

But I digress. . .

Center field: Mike Cameron and Marlon Byrd are two players the Cubs have targeted, and each has shown interest in coming to Chicago.

(snip)

The Cubs could look at acquiring the Yankees' Melky Cabrera as a fallback plan because New York has a surplus of outfielders.

Bullpen: J.J. Putz, coming off elbow surgery and a poor season with the Mets, is on the Cubs radar. He's also on a half dozen other teams' radars because he won't cost and arm and a leg.

Puke. (snip)


Starters: The Cubs aren't looking for any big-name starter, but Joel Pineiro won 15 games for the Cardinals and could be a fourth starter until Ted Lilly returns in May.

Tom Gorzelanny, Jeff Samardzija and Sean Marshall will vie for the fifth spot in spring training and Cardinals right-hander Mike Parisi was selected in the Rule 5 draft Thursday.

Puke, Puke, and puke. Oh, and (snip).

Bench: Scott Podsednik and Rick Ankiel are available and could be picked up as spare outfielders if no one signs them as starters.

Double puke. (snip)

The Cubs will tender contracts to all their arbitration-eligible position players, meaning Mike Fontenot will return.

And now I'm angry. Though I guess Fontenot is okay in a non-starting capacity. Moving on.

Bruce Miles, give us an honest, non-biased assessment of the Milton Bradley situation:

Cubs general manager Jim Hendry has done everything now but go on late-night TV and put a sign up that says, "Come on down, we'll listen to all offers for Milton Bradley."

One day after the Cubs were involved in some false buzz (perhaps of their own making) about a Bradley deal being "imminent," things were quieter on the North Side front Wednesday at the winter meetings.

Desperation on Hendry's part? Perhaps, given that he refused to shoot down one rumor that seems absurd on its face.

There was buzz Wednesday that the Cubs could send Bradley to the Boston Red Sox for third baseman-first baseman Mike Lowell, whom Hendry tried to acquire in 2003.

Baseball people around the winter meetings hotel were shaking their heads in disbelief over that rumor. The Cubs would not publicly shoot it down or acknowledge it, perhaps in an effort to create the illusion of a marketplace that for the most part does not exist. Later in the day, a rumor linking the Rangers to Lowell popped up.

Right now, the Tampa Bay Rays are still the most logical landing place for Bradley. They're also in the catbird seat, with no obligation to help the Cubs with salary relief on a contract that has two years and $21 million left.

For those of you who were worried that you won't get to urinate in a giant, communal bowl with lots of other guys watching anymore, never fear:

Good news for men who enjoy urinating in stainless steel troughs at professional baseball games: The Chicago Cubs will renovate the bathrooms at Wrigley Field this offseason, but a team spokesman has assured the Tribune that the treasured urinal troughs, long a part of the stadium's lore, will remain.

If only we girls were so lucky.

In his Winter Meetings Winners and Losers, Yahoo's Steve Henson adds rubs salt into our tender wounds:

Tampa Bay is also a winner for (so far) resisting overtures by the Cubs to take on moody malcontent Milton Bradley(notes), even if the Cubs pay the $21 million the outfielder is owed the next two years. At least Pat Burrell(notes) doesn't go stark-raving mad. If the Rays relent and bring Bradley aboard, they immediately go from winners to losers.

Don't forget that Alex Quigley and I kick off our weekly Chicago sports podcast this Monday at noon! If you tune in, you'll be able to actually HEAR me whining about the Cubs' off-season, rather than just reading it.

Also, our mid-Winter LOHO get-together/Tweetup (shut up, Mark) is going to take place on Friday, January 15, 2009, at Kitty O'Shea's (inside the Chicago Hilton and Towers) from 7:00 pm to whenever. I'll be there, and I think flyball will be, too (yes, flyball?). Everyone is invited--RSVP here!

And finally, because I'm grumpy about having to go stomp around the Loop and Mag Mile in the cold today . . . here's an Xmas addition of 5 Song on My iPod

1. Fairytale of New York (my favorite Xmas song ever) The Pogues and Kristy MacColl. See if you can spot the celebrity cameo in the video (and don't stop watching before the beat picks up--the song gets better): 


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2.  All I Want For Christmas is You: Vince Vance and the Valiants

 

3. It's Christmas, Baby Please Come Home: U2

4.  What Are You Doing New Year's Eve: Ella Fitzgerald

5. Happy Christmas (War Is Over): John Lennon  

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56 Comments

FrankS said:

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I'll put in a sentimental vote for Mokena's own Karla DeVito and "Santa Claus Is Coming to My House." As I understand it, she wrote with her husband, Robby Benson.

http://beemp3.com/download.php?file=3564724&song=Santa+Claus+Is+Coming+To+My+House

FrankS said:

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I tried to post the embedded code to the song and got told that it has to be approved by the owner. I suppose that's a good safeguard to make sure your site isn't bombarded with material of questionable taste.

Anyway, I was trying to track down a video of Karla singing "Santa" but have pretty much struck out. On the other hand, I found someone's list of the 100 top Christmas songs.

http://www.hipchristmas.com/lists/songs/01.php

JulieDiCaro said:

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I left "Do They Know It's Christmas?" off my 5, but I've been listening to that one a lot lately. On the other hand, Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree and Jingle Bell Rock make me contemplate joining the NRA.

Carl Heartscubs Gierhan said:

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I can't believe you listed U2 over Darlene Love's version of It's Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)

JulieDiCaro said:

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I have them both. I'm just listening to the U2 version right now. ppppbblllllt.

lotus said:

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I'm interested in that tweetup seeing as how I'll already be at the convention.

As far as holiday music, may I recommend Duke Ellington's version of music from The Nutcracker. Fun!

millertime said:

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I'm moving to Milwaukee. Out of protest. Of something. That needs protesting.

flyball said:

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east side!

flyball said:

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White Christmas is still my fav, well really anything from the movie White Christmas is good,

did you know that Bing Crosby first sang that song in a movie more than 10 years before White Christmas? Holiday Inn, sure there is no Danny Kaye in that movie, or Rosemary Clooney, but there is a dancing Fred Astaire and Marjorie Reynolds (my random Bing Crosby fact of the day)

Kitty O'Shea's? I'll stop by

millertime said:

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In happy Chicago News, the Blackhawks are still awesome, and play tonight at 6:30 Central time against Buffalo. In a town where most sports teams somehow seem to be on the decline (funny what a difference half a year makes) the Hawks are actually living up to expectations. I believe that the game can be heard on WGN radio, for free, but don't quote me on that. Otherwise, there seems to be some magical web site that lets you watch any sport you want, which I have forgotten the name of.

AndCounting said:

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"I would rather DATE Milton Bradley and debate race in America every night over dinner than have Pat Burrell on this team."

That. Is. Gold.

Dmband said:

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"Let Me Sleep" - Pearl Jam

"Oh when I was a kid...oh how magic it seemed..."

Great, yet sort of depressing Christmas song. But after reading this latest news about the state of our team, somewhat fitting.

Go Blackhawks.

Dmband said:

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"We're gonna have the hap-hap-happiest Christmas since Bing Crosby tap danced with Danny F** Kaye!"

JulieDiCaro said:

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this is pretty much my mind-set today.

MN Pat said:

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The Heat Miser/Snow Miser duet from "Year Without a Santa Claus." If you can't find the original Big Bad Voodoo Daddy does a good version. And "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen/We Three Kings" from Barenaked Ladies and Sarah McLachlan.

And really? We're looking to add someone named Putz to the bullpen?

millertime said:

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What about this?!?

We put all the uniform's in big Pizza Ovens before the game! That's fantastic! Keep those muscles loosey-goosey! This could be big. Big Stein's on to something, I smell a Pen-nant!

JulieDiCaro said:

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"I'm too important to this team. . . Big Stein can't be floppin' and twitchin'."

PJ Brown said:

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This is reminding me of the year Sosa was traded. Everything was on hold until they could move Sammy and his salary. Next thing you know, it's March and the team has done little to nothing to improve.

gravedigger said:

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I forgot about that. This does seem really similar. Jesus I hope this shit doesn't stretch out that long. Again, just keep him. Fewer holes to fill and better budget situation (and you won't be paying him to have a great year for a rival)

Dmband said:

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hahahahahahahaha! Great....great quote

FrankS said:

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So, no votes for Bing Crosby and David Bowie's rendition of "The Little Drummer Boy?"

flyball said:

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I have one by Perry Como, but the version you describe I am unfamiliar with

JulieDiCaro said:

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No. Good God, I hate that song.

Dmband said:

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Hey Julie-

Is your other blog only about "hot" male chicago sports stars? Can I get some love for my girl Jennie Finch?

JulieDiCaro said:

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It's going to be 99% guys, but we may throw in the lone chick here and there. When we do, Jennie will definitely be at the top of the list.

gravedigger said:

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Why would you say puke about Sean Marshall? He's adorable.

Shit, he's probably the best looking Cub left on the team.

This is depressing.

JulieDiCaro said:

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That is depressing.

He is adorable, he's just not that good at pitching.

gravedigger said:

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Also, look. This is the thing about "tweetup" that makes me not be able to shut up. Why can't we just call it what we'd normally call it when (very) strange people from the internet get together? Why does there have to be a new, gross sounding word? I seriously think "Tweetup" is the official, scientific word for when a bird regurgitates its food for its chicks. Its science.

gravedigger said:

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And one final thing. Jesus that was a long post.

gravedigger said:

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My ipod has been stale lately. Let's see what it does for us today.

Eagles of Dealth Metal - Cherry Cola
Fatboy Slim - Weapon of Choice
Clinic - Gideon
Girl Talk - Once Again
Bullets and Octane - Signed in Alcohol

flyball said:

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I am going to need to revamp my ipod over break, well, if they pass me at school anyway

AndCounting said:

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Here's my iPod's first-five list:

Mindy Smith - It Really Is (a Wonderful Life)
Rob Thomas - New York Christmas
Sufjan Stevens - Come On! Let's Boogey to the Elf Dance!
Blues Traveler - Christmas
Nitty Gritty Dirt Band - Colorado Christmas (written by Steve Goodman)

flyball said:

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wow, thats a fun group of artists

baturkey said:

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Fuck yes:

http://www.variety.com/article/VR1118012601.html?categoryid=13&cs=1

Natalie Portman to slay zombies
Actress takes on 'Pride & Prejudice' adaptation

MN Pat said:

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I'm a huge Jane Austen fan, and I love PPZ. I can't wait for the movie.

baturkey said:

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My favorite Christmas song remains Blue Christmas by Elvis.

Death2FlyingThings said:

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Nah... Blue Christmas by Porky Pig

JulieDiCaro said:

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I would love that song if they re-cut it and got rid of the #$@#*$@#$@ back-up singers. They give me such a headache.

Dmband said:

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So much for Putz..he on the Sox...Im not sure how good/bad he would have been...

clyder1 said:

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Look out for a long season! It is not that the Cubs don't spend money (they have the 3rd highest payroll in MLB) IT'S THAT THEY SPEND MONEY STUPIDLY!!!
CAN YOU SAY HENDRY!!! Worst GM in any sport. With the Winter Meeting over, Hendry didn't make up for his stupid signing of Bradley by trading him (who would be that stupid - please refer to worst GM in sports comment), Cubs didn't solve the centerfield problem, Cubs need a secondbaseman, Cubs need a leadoff hitter, Cubs are short at least one starter, Cubs need bullpen help, Cubs can't bunt, don't run the bases well, don't advance runners & don't score them from 3rd. Winter meeting are over and look how many teams have improved themselves and how many players we targeted that are off the board due to signings or trades. Please refer to Hendry being the worst GM in sports again. NO WHERE HAS THIS TEAM GOTTEN ANY BETTER! NICE START RICKETTS, SAME OLD, SAME OLD!!!

millertime said:

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I know, the Pirates are horrible!

millertime said:

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Also, just curious, did you actually look up any numbers to go along with your argument that the Cubs can't bunt, don't run bases well, don't advance runners, and don't score them from third, or are you just saying it because that is something that every fan of every team that doesn't win many games complains about? Especially considering the Cubs "only" won 83 games with their best player missing 50 games due to injury.

It's not like these things aren't documented. You can go to ESPN or wherever and actually find out that the Cubs hit 42 sac flies last season, while the Rockies hit 60 to lead MLB. Assuming that each sac fly = 1 run scored, that means that if the Cubs would have been "the best" at hitting sac flies, they would have scored an additional 18 runs over 162 games. Somehow, I doubt that would make a difference.

Also, in case you're wondering, the Yankees were much worse than the Cubs at getting Sac Flies or Sac Hits. Didn't seem to hurt them that much. Yankees were also a much worse team hitting with runners on base than with runners not on base. So. Maybe the key to scoring runs (which helps win games) isn't tied so closely to steals, bunting, sac flies, or situational hitting. Maybe it has something to do with having guys who get on base all the time and hit for a lot of HR and doubles.

Dmband said:

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clyder1-

Listen I think Hendry is bad also......and your list of needs is right on and flat out depressing...I will, however, reserve judgement on this offseason until its conclusion. Im not gonna get upset about the winter meetings being a bust...Still A LOT of offseason to go.

CaliforniaCubFan said:

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I left this question over at cubs.com but there's not a lot of action over there, so I thought I'd ask here if you don't mind. If the Cubs just released Bradley outright, and then another team signed him, would the Cubs then just owe the difference between what he signs for and what they owed him? In other words, if he signs a two year deal for 12 M - the Cubs would lose 9 M. Or would Bradley get double pay? If it's the former, then, while risky, this allows the other teams to compete for him and drive his value up. Cubs are going to lose a lot on him anyway. Of course, he could always just hang up his spikes for a couple years, but I doubt he would do that. Or has Bradley's value so plummeted that no one would bid for him? Any thoughts?

JulieDiCaro said:

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I'm not 100% sure, but the Cubs owe him the contract amount weather he plays or not. So if he gets signed by another team, yeah, I think we'd have to make up the difference.

clyder1 said:

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millertime:
Do you go to or watch Cubs games? I had the opportunity to see over half their games this year. We left way too many runners on third with one or no outs. Way too many base running blunders this year (i.e. first out in an inning made at 3rd or home). Theriot in the second half of the year couldn't hit behind the runner to move a runner to third with no outs, more bunting failures than successes, makes base running errors. Fontenot was completely inept at all of them. I won't go on but we were woefull this past year. Point here is middle infielders and utility players need to be able to do the little thing well and we dont! We don't hit cutoff men. I am not picking on Theriot, I do like him, but he is not a quality shortstop. He dives going to the hole and he has never thrown out a batter by diving to his right (so why do it, you are out of position when you miss, especially since our left fielder can't field his position). Fundamentally, we are a poor team (we have been for the past five years). You can't just look at stats to get all your information, it doesn't tell you the complete picture. One more thing please don't compare us to the Yankees or any AL team, NL needs to play more small ball than AL. But, we are the 3rd highest paid team in baseball and can't win - NOW THERE IS A STAT FOR YOU!

millertime said:

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I actually do go to games when I can (I live in WI, it's hard to get down too often). I watch quite a few. I even enjoy listening to Pat and Ron. I'll probably by that MLB TV thing next season. I don't understand what my Wrigley Field Attendance Record has to do with anything.

I'm also not arguing that the Cubs were good at getting guys in from third, or bunting, or sac hitting, or stolen bases, or any of that. In fact, when it comes to trying to steal bases, the Cubs were horrible. I especially don't like how Theriot tries to steal bases even when it appears that he is not good at it.

I also agree that if the Cubs were better at these things, they would be a better team. Where we disagree is how bad the Cubs are at these things, and how much actual impact these things would make.

First things first: Are the Cubs bad at doing these things? Lets look at Sacrifice Flies. Last season, the Cubs hit 42 sacrifice flies with runners on base. The NL leader was Colorado, with 60. The League Average was 45. So, the Cubs were about average last year in sacrifice hits. Now, if they had been as good as the best team in the league at getting Sac Flies (60), and every one of those additional Sac Flies had led to an additional run being scored, they would have scored 18 more runs (60-42).

With Sac Hits, the Cubs had 65, NL leader had 100, and the average was 71. Again, the Cubs were below average. But at most, if the Cubs had led the NL in Sac Hits, and each of those Sac Hits had resulted in an additional run, teh Cubs would have scored 35 more runs.

So, while I'm not saying that the Cubs are good at these, I'm saying that even if the Cubs were the best team in the league at doing things like sac flies, it still wouldn't help them score as many runs. Bringing guys in from third with bunts/sac flies/sac hits isn't unimportant, but it's much more important/efficient to bring guys in using signles, doubles, walks, or Home Runs.

Fundamentally, you're right. The Cubs haven't played great defense, and they've been below average.

I also agree that I shouldn't just look at stats for my information. And I don't. But I also think we shouldn't base decisions/opinions just on what we see, or what we think we see. All stats do is help evaluate what happens on the field. Just trying to figure out what players are good based on nothing but your own memories of how they did in the relatively small number of games you went would be very challeneing. Do you know what Lee's batting average was last year, from going to games alone? Stats help us keep track of data we can use to evaluate our players. All these newer stats like OPS, OPS+, WAR, or BAPIP do is try and find a better way to evaluate the player using the given data. And by no means am I saying that you need to know/keep track of these things during a game. I don't even fill out scorecards (my writing is too sloppy). I have a lot of fun watching the Cubs and not caring one bit about keeping track of stats. But when it comes time to make decisions that involve a lot of money, I think those decisions should be based on research, logic, and facts, and not generalized opinions.

As far as your stat about the Cubs having the third highest payroll in baseball, you're right that it is a stat. However, the Cubs have won the division 2 out of the last three years. That's very good. Overall, they've had a decent decade. Not great, but they're getting better. If the Cubs had the 3rd highest payroll and were finishing last for 6 years straight, then it would be a problem.

Umbra said:

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My favorite: The Angel Gabriel From Heaven Came.

JulieDiCaro said:

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The Sting version!

Umbra said:

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Umbra said:

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JulieDiCaro said:

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I maintain that first "Very Special Christmas" album was da bomb. The subsequent ones? Not so much.

millertime said:

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I like Savior of the Nations Come. #2 in the Red Hymn!

Carl Heartscubs Gierhan said:

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That's an Advent hymn, silly!

Sting 10 said:

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Jim Hendry should pubically announce that the Cubs are no long activley attempting to trade Milton Bradley. Bradley's career numbers (granted a lot of AB's as aDH in the American League) are better than the names being tossed around to bring in as his replacement. Bradley should smply be told to come in, do his job, keep his mouth shut and his nose clean. The first time (in the club's opinion) he messes up. BOOM! Send hime to A ball for a few weeks. Once he is recalled, IF there is a second screw up. BOOM! Back to A Ball. Maybe for the remaineder of the season. What are we going to be out money wise? If we trade him and pay his salary. This may give him some incentive to produce the kind of numbers which was expected of him when he originally signed and he will also be playing for a 2012 contract with a major league club and none of them will want a trouble making, non producing outfielder as we have already found out this off season.

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