Take a chance on bad boy Milton Bradley?

Milton Bradley doesn’t like the Chicago Cubs, and the Cubs aren’t exactly crazy about him either. It’s been another widely publicized season of scrutiny for the Cubs slugger and now he’ll spend the remainder of the season on the bench thanks to some comments he made to the media.

Now the Chicago Cubs are in a difficult situation – with two years remaining on Bradley’s contract and $21 million dollars. Could the Blue Jays possibly pick up the pieces from a broken Milton Bradley and benefit from this situation?

It’s a long shot, but if the Blue Jays include the right players in a trade and the Cubs agree to certain contract terms, then both teams could benefit in a deal. I don’t think there’s anyway way in hell that a team would be willing to pay off one year of a player’s contract when they’re not even on the team, but for the Cubs that means they would only have to pay one year of Bradley’s salary as opposed to two.


First off, keep in mind that this proposed trade is completely hypothetical. Obviously the Cubs want to get rid of Milton Bradley by any means necessary, aside from merely letting him go and eating the remaining $21 million dollars in his contract. Any situation where the Cubs wouldn’t have to pay out that money would be beneficial for them. So here goes:

Chicago Cubs trade Milton Bradley for Scott Downs.

I know it seems like a completely lopsided deal, but let me explain. The Cubbies are looking for stability in their bullpen and could benefit from getting Scott Downs as a setup guy or lefty specialist. The Cubs get a great relief pitcher and they don’t even have to pay out all of Bradley’s contract.

The trade would be conditional on the fact that the Cubs would have to pay Bradley’s 2010 salary, so the Blue Jays would only be on the hook for Bradley’s 2011 salary which is $12 million (if he even makes it that long). The great part about Bradley’s contract in 2012 are these options courtesy of Cot’s Baseball Contracts:

2011 may become $12M club option with $2M buyout if:

Bradley has more than 75 days on DL in 2009, or
Bradley is on DL at end of 2009 season with specific injury and not on active roster by 4/15/2010

Bradley has not played more than 126 games in a season since 2004, and the Chicago Cubs noticed this and put those clauses into his contract when they signed him in the offseason. He’s notorious for getting hurt and that contract option would work in the Blue Jays benefit when Bradley turns 33 in 2011.

The problem with the Blue Jays trading for Milton Bradley is the baggage that comes with it. If the fans in Toronto enjoyed booing Vernon Wells then they would absolutely love to sink their teeth into Milton Bradley. He could wear out his welcome very quickly in a city that lets players know where they stand very loudly.

The other thing is that it seems like the Blue Jays have basically committed to making Adam Lind their full-time DH next year, which all but eliminates the need for Milton Bradley in the lineup. Although they would be better served having Lind in left field and having him hone his skills, it looks like the organization is leaning more towards having Lind take charge of the designated hitter spot.

Milton Bradley on the Blue Jays seems like a crazy idea, but sometimes you have to think outside the box and take a big risk to enjoy a big reward.

Note: I realize the similarities between this post and the Milton Bradley article posted earlier at Tao of Stieb. Make sure you read Tao’s version too because it’s much shorter and more concise anyway.


Ian Hunter

Ian has been writing about the Toronto Blue Jays since 2007. He enjoyed the tail-end of the Roy Halladay era and vividly remembers the Alex Rodriguez "mine" incident. He'll also retell the story of Game 5 of the 2015 ALDS to his kids for the next 20 years.

11 thoughts on “Take a chance on bad boy Milton Bradley?

  • September 22, 2009 at 2:13 am

    I'm leaning "no" on the bad boy, but I guess it depends on the financial situation. If wallets open up, I think Bradley is far too likely to be bad news to bother with.

  • September 22, 2009 at 5:43 pm

    No on the deal you suggested, but yes in general. I'd rather start the year with Bradley on the roster than have to go trolling for Wilkersons and Delluccis in May when someone gets hurt or is sent down.

  • September 22, 2009 at 6:48 pm

    QJays, Bradley is probably not worth the trouble but if the Cubbies are willing to pay the bulk of the salary then the Jays can probably afford to pick him up if the payroll expands like we're expecting it to.

    Mattt, I'm also leaning towards no but I'll leave the door open to discussion just in case things change down the road.

    Torgen, better for the Jays to be proactive and have too many bats than not enough. If for some reason they have a surplus midseason next year, they could just trade them away.

  • October 9, 2009 at 4:41 pm

    I'd be more interested, and would even pay Bradley's entire salary, if the Cubs were willing to take Vernon Wells in return.

    I think one deal that the Jays should be looking into at the moment is a deal for JJ Hardy and Matt Gamel. The Brewers have made both available and are looking for pitching in return. The Jays could package a couple of their young arms for these two.

  • October 9, 2009 at 4:52 pm

    Nice article. This is about the sixth blog I've read recently that compares drinking/bringing home women with bad contracts. I get it, you were drunk, but really, what kind of women are you bloggers bringing home? Milton Bradleys? Jeez.

  • October 9, 2009 at 4:54 pm

    Copycat! Copycat! Copycat! Copycat! Copycat! Copycat! Copycat! Copycat! Copycat! Copycat! Copycat! Copycat! Copycat! Copycat! Copycat! Copycat! Copycat! Copycat! Copycat! Copycat! Copycat! Copycat! Copycat! Copycat!

    Just kidding. Interesting thought. But I want no part or MB.

  • October 9, 2009 at 6:36 pm

    Brutal idea, brutal.

  • October 9, 2009 at 6:47 pm

    Peter D, I think the only way the Cubs would take Vernon Wells is if the Jays picked up Soriano's contract. The Jays still owe Wells $98.5 million and the Cubs owe Soriano $90 million. Both teams are unhappy so maybe a swap would benefit both clubs.

    I'm on board with the Jays going for J.J. Hardy – they need a new shortstop unless they sign Scutaro, and they could get Hardy for cheap too.

    Wachs, it's almost the perfect analogy. It seems like a great idea at the time, but then reality sets in the morning (or season) after the fact. At least at the end of the night, we'd be going home with Milton Bradley rather than no one at all. Talk about low standards!

    Tao, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Sometimes I consider myself a professional hack – either that or I blog about something about 6 hours too late.

  • October 9, 2009 at 7:48 pm

    Yeah, I don't ever see a Wells for Bradley deal happening, but that's probably the only way I would consider picking up Bradley to be a good idea.

    I loved Scutaro this year, but I don't really want the Jays to re-sign him, I think it's a bad idea to sign a 34 year old SS coming off a career year, you won't get value for your dollar.

    Meanwhile Hardy is the ultimate buy low opportunity. Even Gamel is a buy low right now.

    I would actually offer Romero for the two.

  • October 9, 2009 at 8:17 pm

    Peter D, I like the way you think! I actually did an article about how the Jays should get J.J. Hardy – I just think it's too good a deal and they could get him for a steal right now.

    The Jays will probably have to end up re-signing Scutaro because there are not a lot of other options out there, unless they move Aaron Hill over the shortstop and sign a second baseman. Either way it would be much easier to just get Hardy. We'll see what happens! *fingers crossed*

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