Tuesday, December 13, 2005

A's Get Bradley from Blue Crew

In a move that probably came a year too late, the Dodgers unloaded centerfielder and perennial head-case Milton Bradley on the Oakland A's. The Dodgers got a pretty good outfield prospect from Oakland in the form of Andre Ethier who was the Double A pitcher of the year and smoked Arizona Fall League pitching hitting .366 21 RBI and a .495 OBP in 23 games. In return Oakland got injected with clubhouse cancer and also received reserve infielder Antonio Perez. In 98 games last season Perez hit .297 with 3 HR and 23 RBI while making just $320,500. Those are the kind of numbers that send sabermetrists like Billy Beane into fits of giggles.

Bradley's numbers from 2005, .290 avg with 13 HR, 38 RBI and a .350 OBP with extended time on the disabled list while making $2.5 million have to be less enthralling to Beane but the potential of Bradley hitting .321 with 61 runs scored and 73 stolen bases as he did in 2003 with Cleveland was just too good to pass up. Of course the one thing number crunchers like Beane usually do not take into account are Bradley's other accomplishments from the last season which included being accused of choking his pregnant wife and calling Jeff Kent a racist. Those came on top of 2004's highlight reel of off-the-field antics which included throwing a plastic bottle into the stands at a fan at Chavez Ravine, throwing a hissy-fit after getting ejected and then nearly fist-fighting with a sportswriter during the Dodgers brief playoff run.

As I and many others pointed out in 2004, the way the Angels and Dodgers conducted their business with regard to problem players spoke volumes. The Angels immediately suspended Jose Guillen for the season before shipping him off to the Nationals. The Dodgers endured another 14 months of Milton Bradley induced stress before finally dumping him on Oakland. They did get a decent prospect but giving up Perez may have shifted this deal firmly into the A's win column. Oakland's primary center-fielder will be Mark Kotsay but his history of back injuries makes Bradley a decent, if not expensive, insurance policy. With a $2.5 million salary the A's will find a way to keep Bradley in the line-up, either playing right or at DH. But the over-under on when Bradley destroys Oakland’s clubhouse chemistry currently stands at September 2006. While Bradley could be a fine ballplayer he is simply too much of wildcard emotionally and a perpetual injury risk himself.

I am not sure why Oakland would make this move unless they found something wrong with Ethier. Perhaps they thought his hot streak in the Arizona Fall League was a fluke and the time was right to move him. Time will tell on this one but anytime a divisional rival picks-up a lunatic like Bradley I have to smile.


Blogger Uncle Al said...

Glenn Dickey, retired columnist for the SF Chronicle (www.glenndickey.com) points out that Jose Guillen, another ballistic hothead, had no problems with the A's:

> Jose Guillen, who has had
> trouble wherever he’s gone but
> was fine when he played with the
> A’s in 2003, even playing with a
> broken bone in his wrist in the
> playoffs.

Guillen, of course, left the Athletics because the former owners didn't want to pay his salary.

I've been wrong many times before, but at this point I think Beane took Colletti to the cleaners...

1:03 PM  
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