We have a good discussion going, so I'll update here a little after noontime Friday that the Cubs have outrighted infielder-outfielder Bobby Scales to Class AAA Iowa, leaving their 40-man roster at 38.
It was an early wake-up call today, but thanks to Dan Jiggetts, Mike North and Jen Patterson for having me on the “Monsters in the Morning” show on Comcast. It’s always a riot. Of course, the Monsters asked me about Milton Bradley possibly coming back to the Cubs, and I said no. The question came up because the Cubs hired Rudy Jaramillo as hitting coach, and Jaramillo worked well with Bradley in 2008 at Texas.
Here’s the deal. Cubs GM Jim Hendry has been working the phones, and was doing so today, trying to move Bradley. Cubs people tell me Jim has been talking with several teams, so there appears to be no shortage of interest, something also reported by national baseball writer Ken Rosenthal, who cites baseball people as saying there is widespread interest in Bradley.
Bradley can't come back to the Cubs for several reasons:
--How does he walk into the clubhouse and face teammates who lined up last month in St. Louis to tell the writers they were glad Bradley had been suspended and that he ought to look in the mirror?
--What happens when Bradley says something provocative to the media in spring training? The Cubs do not want any more "Here we go again" moments.
--What would happen if Bradley goes 0--for-5 with 3 strikeouts in the home opener at Wrigley and the fans start booing again? Heck, what happens the first time he heads out to right field, the scene of all that "hatred and adversity," to use Bradley's term?
--The Cubs will have new owners any day now, and you have to believe the Ricketts family wants no potential public-relations disasters on its hands, courtesy of Milton Bradley.
As I've written, if Hendry can create a market or even the perception of a market for Bradley, he might be able to get decent return and not have to eat all of the $21 million coming to Bradley over the next two years. Of course, Hendry is responsible for giving Bradley the three-year, $30 million contract in the first place.
It was an interesting interview session with Jaramillo yesterday at Wrigley. Jaramillo is known for being the boss in his coach-hitter relationships. Apparently, that was true a couple years ago when former Cub Sammy Sosa closed out his career with the Rangers.
“That was a great moment for me because I had Sammy when he was 16, 17, 18, 19 and then he got traded," Jaramillo said, referring to Sammy's days in the Rangers' minor-league system. "I never spent any time with him at the big-league level. I knew Sammy’s mentality as a hitter, and I wanted Sammy. They (the Rangers) flew him in. We met. It’s kind of funny. Our general manager and him spoke. I wanted him there on a Monday. Sammy called, and he said, ‘I don’t have to be at the workout. I’m just going to be at the dinner. My agent spoke with (Texas’) general manager.’ I said, ‘Well, tell your agent he’s not the hitting coach.’ I said, ‘I want you here at 9 o’clock on Monday.’ It was Friday. We left it at that. He showed me something. He got in his own jet. I told him, ‘Don’t be bringing all these people around, either.’ He brought one person. He beat me to the park. He was there by 9 o’clock. So then I knew that he was serious, that he wanted to play. I was always real disciplined with Sammy, and I kept the same way.”
“I’ll give you a funny story," Jaramillo said. "It happened in spring training. There were five kids (young players) in the cage. He was one of the five. There was like 100 balls hit into the net. Sammy didn’t pick up a one. He let these four guys go pick them up. I said OK. We did it again. I said, ‘Hold up, Sammy has them all.’ Sammy went and picked every ball. That was a big thing...Sammy was outstanding. When he went to the plate with men on base, it was just different animal. He was told after the all-star break that he was not going to play anymore. He was going to go home. I said, ‘No, you’re not going to go home. You’re going to stick it out. If you want to continue playing the following year, you’ve got to play.’ He had a great year. He drove in 94 runs for us, and he hit 22 home runs. He didn’t even get 500 ABs. That was pretty exciting for me to be back with Sammy and watch him have a good year going out.”
Jaramillo is a Texan, but he's fluent in English and Spanish, something that can only help.
“I think I’m the only bilingual hitting coach in baseball," he said. "I think that’s such a great asset. Nobody wants to ever talk about the bilingual part. There’s almost 42 percent of the players, I believe, (who) are Latin in baseball. I love teaching in Spanish. With the Spanish-speaking players, I’d rather teach them in Spanish than English because maybe I can emphasize a word more that they understand. That’s been a big help for me, a big key.”
When asked if he could speak Japanese and maybe get through even more to Kosuke Fukudome, Jaramillo said he could learn it.