Good Sunday morning, one and all.
This week, the Cubs inked Milton Bradley to a three-year, $30 million deal. During his introductory press conference at the Wrigley Field (you know, that Wrigley Field?), Dave van Dyck of the Chicago Tribune provided us with this snippet from Bradley on his often times balky right knee:
"I didn't have any issues with my knee last year and I don't anticipate any this year."
He better hope not. Without the luxury of the designated hitter role to take the occasional sabbatical from playing in the field, it's going to be outfield or nothing for the Cubs and Bradley. An oft-publicized number that should scare Cubs fans about their new right fielder is as follows: Bradley has played more than 100 games just three times in his nine-year career. He played in 126 games with the Rangers in 2008, but just 20 of them as an outfielder. The rest of the time he was the designated hitter. That option is gone with the Cubs, so you can count on more games missed.
And though he claimed the knee wasn't an issue last year, I seem to remember him needing more than just a game or two (or 37) to rest his knee that exploded during a bizarre incident involving first base umpire Mike Winters towards the end of the 2007 season. Also, was there ever a player you remember seeing "left the game in ____ with a ____" attached to his name in the box score the following day more than Milton Bradley?
Still, there's no doubt about it -- Bradley can help your club win ballgames. Last season, he led the American League in on-base percentage at .436 while establishing career highs with 22 homers and 77 RBI, and he hit .321. If he's healthy, he'll surely be a major factor in how deep the Cubs can go into the post-season.
But that's a pretty big "if".