Warning: Objects in your mirror may be more pissed off than they appear. Take cover Rangers fans, Milton Bradley is coming. In a move that makes you wonder why they ever really got rid of Kenny Rogers or Royce Clayton or even Eddie Chiles, the Rangers have agreed to a contract with one of baseball’s most combustible players.
A one-year, $5-million contract for a productive 29-year-old outfielder may seem like a bargain. But bringing Bradley to Arlington is wrong on a number of levels. The plan, at least the way I remember it, is to bite the bullet nurturing our youth and win in 2009. Let’s not kid ourselves, any team counting on solid pitching from Vicente Padilla isn’t a legit contender. So how, exactly, does a stop-gap center fielder help the rebuilding mission?
I thought the same thing about Kenny Lofton last season. And, unless the Rangers similarly parlay Bradley into a tradable asset, this move initially reeks of the same nonsensical stench. Wouldn’t it be more prudent to give at-bats and outfield chances to young prospects like Marlon Byrd, David Murphy, Jason Botts, Nelson Cruz or even John Mayberry Jr.?
The Rangers haven’t had an optimal center fielder since ... who? ... Darryl Hamilton? Garry Matthews Jr. was becoming that guy, just about the time Texas let him bolt to the Angels via free agency.
This winter the Rangers shrewdly passed on Andruw Jones but missed the boat on Torii Hunter. Now, just as we’re learning to spell Saltalamacchia, we’re being sold another over-the-hill retread. This one, even worse, comes equipped with high-powered anger issues.
Bradley is a nut job mentally and fragile physically. He’s made eight trips to the disabled list the last two seasons and in 2004 was suspended twice by MLB. Who can forget last September’s classic blowup in which he wound up tearing his ACL while fuming at an ump? Bradley may not be ready for spring training. The Rangers’ plan is definitely not ready for Bradley. --Richie Whitt
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