Padres bloggin' since 2007

Paradise Found Again?

September 25th, 2009 by Ray

During this past offseason, I wrote an article suggesting that the Padres bring back Milton Bradley. I didn’t need much more evidence than his performance over the 2007-08 seasons. Unfortunately, before I could hit the Publish button, Bradley was off the market, signing a three-year deal with the Cubs.

I, of course, bring it up because he’s back on the market and the Padres have been brought up as a team of interest by both Buster Olney and John Heyman. While such rumors need to be taken with grains of salt, it does raise the question:

Do we want Milton Bradley back?

The first thing we need to address is that corner outfield is not a hole on this team. With Headley, Blanks, and Venable, the team would seem to be set. Where they’re not set is centerfield. While Gwynn, Jr. has been dependable in the field, his hitting leaves a lot to be desired, which would seem to explain Venable starting game after game out there. Unfortunately, while he’s been hitting, Venable has not shown the range you want out of the position (-17.6 UZR/150 in limited time).

The second thing we need to address is Milton Being Milton. Before insulting his way out of Chicago, he went after an announcer in Texas and prompted a season ending Rock Bottom from Bud Black here. It’s not a question of if something will happen but when, and how bad. But while we can only hypothesize about what happens behind closed doors, Ron Washington has said that he would welcome Bradley back to Texas and the Padres offered Bradley a contract following his injury shortened 2007 season, both suggesting that Bradley left these bridges intact.

Then there are the leftover concerns, such his injury history and the two year commitment the team would have to take on. But here’s how I see it:

The Padres do not need Milton Bradley for 2010.

As I said, there’s really nowhere to put him. Assuming that Headley moves either to third base or to another team, that leaves left field for Blanks and right field for Venable, and Bradley can’t play center. But Venable hasn’t shown that he can either, but that hasn’t stopped the team from running him out there everyday. Now, ideally, this offseason sees the Padres trading for a center fielder in the tradition of Mark Kotsay or Mike Cameron. But if the team thinks Venable is their man and the team is without a right fielder, Bradley could work. He would need regular time off, and regular coddling, but he has shown that he is unintimidated by Petco Park, and he could do some damage hitting in front of Adrian.

(This all assumes that the Cubs eat most of the contract and accept a marginal prospect in return.)

RAY UPDATE:

“I haven’t had any calls from Jim about him,” Towers told ESPN.com. “But I think people kind of know what players we target. We have to take chances sometimes. We took a chance on Milton the first time we had him, and he actually played pretty well [before the injury].

“We could be in the market for an outfielder. I’m not saying it’s necessarily Milton. But our experience with him was rather a positive one. It wasn’t really a negative one.”

Padres would take chance on Bradley

Posted in hot stove, players | 6 Comments »

6 Responses to “Paradise Found Again?”

  1. Websoulsurfer has added his thoughts into the conversation:

    http://websoulsurfer.blogspot.com/2009/09/do-padres-want-milton-bradley.html

    He brings up similar arguments about other Padres players being better options in a lot of ways than Milton. I agree. Although I also think he’s underestimating Bradley’s potential offensive contributions. Certainly Bradley had a down year in 2009, but he was the best hitter in the league when healthy in 2008. I think he’ll bounce back a bit from his down year, especially when a .378 OBP is “down” for him.

    • Bradley was a DH surrounded by some very good hitters playing in a bandbox in Texas. 24.3% less hits in Petco than Rangers Ballpark. So that .321 there is a .281. His best season ever translates to a .280 in SD, or about his career average.

      In San Diego he would be playing LF or RF in the worst hitters park in baseball surrounded by a much less talented group of hitters.

      If he hit .277(his career average) over the 90-100 games he would play in a season as a Padre I would be surprised. His power numbers would certainly decrease. Which is scary from a guy that has hit just 11 hrs per season on average.

      So a guy that at his best hit 22 home runs would be a .270-.280 hitter with 10 hr or so. Yes he will walk enough to have a pretty good OBP, but that doesn’t cut it from a run producing position. I don’t CARE what the #4 or #5 hitters OBP is, I care how many runs he drives in. I care what his batting average is with men in scoring position. I care how many home runs he hits.

      Career, Bradley is a .259 hitter with RISP and a .240 hitter with RISP & 2 out. With a man on 3B he has hit .194.

      This season has been worse. .205 with RISP and .200 with RISP and 2 outs. With a man on 3rd and less than 2 outs he has hit a robust .111.

      Add to that the fact that he is a below average fielder and I don’t get the appeal.

      I just do not see how a guy like that is an improvement over either Blanks or Venable.

    • Ray says:

      He wouldn’t be replacing Venable or Blanks, but likely AJ.

    • Texas may be a bandbox, but Bradley’s park adjusted OPS+ of 163 led the league. And yes, he was surrounded by great hitters, but how much does that affect him, really? Maybe he becomes the 2nd or 3rd best hitter in the league. For the price the Padres will pay, that’s a pretty good player.

      And hitting with runners in scoring position isn’t a skill. From year to year, it has a .06 R-squared correlation. Almost completely random.

      http://www.hardballtimes.com/main/fantasy/article/the-control-hitters-have-over-everything/

  2. I just looked up Gwynn’s park adjusted wOBA, he’s at .330. Not ideal, but I’m not sure he creates that big of a hole in centerfield.

  3. Ray Lankford says:

    You’re right about his adjusted wOBA, which makes me sound a bit hyperbolic, but I have a problem with no power players (call it the Dave Roberts effect), so I stand by my comments.

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