Chalk this one up in the “You take my problem, I’ll take yours” category. The Chicago Cubs are apparently pushing hard for the Tampa Bay Devil Rays to cut a deal for troubled outfielder Milton Bradley.
The Chicago Sun-Times is reporting that the new Cubs ownership wants to resolve “The Bradley Question” (as I’ve dubbed it) as soon as possible. Tampa was interested in Bradley last winter before the Cubs outbid them for his services. The Rays then signed Pat Burrell – fresh off a World Series title – to a two-year, $16 million contract.
Burrell rewarded the Rays by hitting .221 with 14 home runs, 64 RBI and a .682 OPS (which was 200 points lower than his career average). Thanks buddy, appreciate that, enjoy your new Maserati and see you at Spring Training!
Burrell is owed $7 million next season, while Bradley is due $21 million through 2011. So to make this deal happen the Cubs would certainly have to eat a large portion of Milton”s contract.
The Rays really have all the leverage in this situation, since they can just park Burrell at the DH spot if they are unable to move him. Tampa Bay’s outfield is certainly in flux at the moment, since the Rays have to figure out what to do with Carl Crawford long-term and whether or not they plan to hold on to B.J. Upton for the future.
After getting to the World Series in 2008 the Rays finished this year at 84-78, 19 games back of the Yankees in the American League East and 11 games behind Boston for the Wild Card.
Clearly they aren’t against shaking things up, as evidenced by their late season trade of former ace Scott Kazmir. They might be one of the more interesting teams to watch this winter.
The Cubs should also be interesting (as always) this winter. Coming off such a disappointing season and armed with new ownership, what will they opt to do? Add more salary, stand pat, or go young? Should they dump Lou Piniella or stick with him?