Cubs fans will remember this very well: All the offseason talk about how the Cubs, who led the National League in runs last year en route to a division title, needed to add a left-handed power bat to balance an overly right-handed lineup.
Manager Lou Piniella was very, very adamant about this, most likely because over the course of the last two seasons the Cubs had gone 0-6 in the playoffs with a struggling offense that was too right-handed.
And as usual general manager Jim Hendry did his best to appease Lou. There were two options, of course. One was Milton Bradley, who was an All Star in 2008 and, despite his bizarre personality, had a hell of a track record as a switch hitter with power.
Then there was Raul Ibanez, an aging RBI machine that was perceived as a liability on defense.
The Cubs, of course, went with Bradley. The fans approved. Meanwhile, Ibanez signed with the Phillies. Now let’s see how that move has paid off.
Ibanez: .310 batting average, 25 home runs, 68 RBI, 1.037 OPS in 69 games played.
Bradley: .239 batting average, six home runs, 21 RBI, .741 OPS in 74 games played. Carlos Zambrano has a higher OPS.
Through the first two games of the Cubs’ series with Philadelphia this week I’ve seen Ibanez hit a three-run homer off Ted Lilly and make a diving catch in left field. Meanwhile, Bradley has had both games off to work on “relaxation” techniques, whatever the hell that means.
In fact, when asked about the situation and how the Cubs lineup pretty much sucks these days, Piniella said his club still needs a left-handed bat that can hit for some power. I suppose that could be Bradley if he ever gets it together.
If he doesn’t, the Cubs will miss the playoffs.
On the other hand, he’s had all season to get it together.