MLB Trade Rumors cites two sources that say the Detroit Tigers are showing interest in Cubs outfielder Milton Bradley. Apparently, Steve Stone mentioned this on his Twitter feed (I say "apparently" because I don't follow Stone on Twitter, and thus can't verify it, but MLBTR did). Soon thereafter, however, David Kaplan of ChicagoNow.com confirmed that two "very solid" baseball sources told him that the Tigers have asked about Bradley.
They believe that Bradley would be a much better fit as a DH than as a right fielder and that he would mesh well with Tigers manager Jim Leyland.
Both sources say that the Tigers have scouted Bradley and are interested depending on how much of his contract the Cubs are willing to eat.
But any deal might be contingent upon how much of Bradley's remaining contract the Cubs might be willing to pay out. He's signed for next season at $9 million, but his 2011 year is a club option (with a $2 million buyout) if Bradley spends more than 75 days this season (or ends the year) on the DL. Bradley could also kick in that option with various performance incentives.
For the season, Bradley is hitting .242/.375/.368 with six homers and 22 RBIs, which isn't anywhere near the sort of production the Cubs were hoping for when they signed him to a three-year, $30 million deal. While fighting injuries to his groin and calf, he's also butted heads with manager Lou Piniella (which might be why he's available to begin with), who's grown tired of his temper tantrums and moodiness.
In addition, Bradley has been so bad as a left-handed batter against right-handed pitching (.201/.364.323) that there's been some talk of him batting exclusively right-handed for the rest of the season. As a right-hander against lefties, he's batting .343/.405/.478. Both Bradley and Piniella, however, have scoffed at that idea.
If he's really only productive batting right-handed and can't play the field, don't the Tigers already have enough of those types of players? Is he worth picking up just to platoon with Carlos Guillen? Especially with all of the baggage and potential headaches he could bring along with him? Would he upset what's currently a strong clubhouse or would the veteran leadership on the team (along with Leyland) make him fall in line?
Before last season, I would've supported the Tigers signing Bradley, as they needed a left-handed bat who could play left field. But now, I don't think he's worth the risk and this move wouldn't make a lot of sense.