ST. LOUIS _ In a town famous for beer, all I can say is that we got blogability today. Had a chance to grab Milton Bradley at his locker this afternoon before the Cubs' 2-1 loss to the Cardinals, and I wrote up the proceedings on our Web site. Check it out:
The way I see it, Milton is out of here at the end of the season. Too bad. It didn't have to be this way. But Milton apparently decided there were a whole bunch of things out there to fight, and he decided to fight them.
He talked today to me about needing a "stable, healthy environment" before adding, "and you can see why they haven't won in 100 years here."
Uh, this year, Milton should have used the word "we" instead of "they."
I know Cubs people are scratching their heads. They figured that Milton got the contract he wanted with the team he wanted to be with, so what's there not to be happy about? Milton put on his best face during his introductory news conference last winter, but things got strange once spring training began.
On one hand, he could be the nicest guy in the world, as he went around the clubhouse passing out bubble-gum cigars after the birth of his child. Even the reporters got one, but I still haven't figured out how to light a bubble-gum cigar.
On the other hand, when one of my colleagues interviewed him, Milton never once looked up from his phone, on which he was texting. A few minutes later, he made an off-hand remark about how the Cubs could have signed anybody but they chose him.
You know how the rest of the season has gone. Milton never came close to the .999 OPS he put up in Texas last year, even though his on-base percentage was up over .400 for a while. The Cubs, who value RBI as an important stat, remain perplexed that Bradley has only 40 while batting .205 with runners in scoring position.
Manager Lou Piniella talked a week or so ago of needing a No. 5 hitter and an "RBI guy," so we all knew about whom he was talking.
So GM Jim Hendry will have to try and find a taker for Bradley this off-season. What the Cubs get back and how much of Bradley's contract the Cubs must eat remains to be seen. But I'm fairly certain there will be a taker. As one baseball type put it to me in so many words: Hendry was able to trade Todd Hundley; he'll be able to trade Bradley. Texas? Toronto? Who knows, but those types of non-threatening (or perceived non-threatening) places are the ones in which Bradley apparently feels he can thrive.
In the end, this was a bad mistake on both parties' parts. Bradley should have known the expectations of Cubs fans and the size of the market. And in hindsight, I'm sure the Cubs will tell you they should have heeded the red flags.
So after signing Bradley to replace Kosuke Fukudome in right field, the Cubs will be looking for yet another right fielder this winter.