There was an interesting quote I saw on the A's website the other day coming from Athletics General Manager Billy Beane.
"He was pretty happy here -- and he did help us into the only ALCS we've had in all my years here.....But I can't comment on other teams' players."
Could it be possible? Could the A's actually bring back Milton Bradley? After the spat that Bradley and Beane had just two years ago, it seemed nearly inconceivable. And yet, here I am....wondering....and the same time..... hoping that Milton Bradley comes back to Oakland.
It makes too much sense for both parties involved.
The A's have holes up and down their lineup. The team was 12th in the American League in total offense last season and just released their leading home run hitter in Jack Cust. The only player that offers any form of consistency is catcher Kurt Suzuki, who led the team with 88 RBI's last year.
Bradley could fill in where Cust couldn't. Not only can Bradley DH, but he can also play the field as well. Meanwhile, Bradley strikes out much less than Cust and puts the ball in play which is much more effective with runners in scoring position.
As of right now, the A's lack a true middle of the order hitter.
Newly acquired Jake Fox is expected to fill that void, but with only 230 career major league at bats, expecting that much from him would be foolish. Meanwhile, no one can count on Eric Chavez to be healthy. And while the team expects prospects Brett Wallace and Chris Carter to eventually develop into franchise players. they aren't going to develop into that overnight. The A's need a veteran presence to fill the void while the younger players develop. The A's NEED Milton Bradley.
When Bradley left during the 2007 season, his feeling were hurt as the A's relegated him to a part-time role after spending multiple trips on the disabled list. When Bradley was unhappy, the team designated him for assignment. Bradley, meanwhile, had something to say about the A's organization and Billy Beane on his way out.
"I had more fun playing baseball in Oakland that I ever had. I [just] don't like to be lied to. Tell me the truth. You tell me I'm not an everyday player, and I just have to laugh at you because there's not a player they've got over there that's better than me. It's just a joke", Bradley said of Beane in 2007.
Bradley may be a hothead, but flashforward 3 years into the future, and this statement makes him look extremely smart. At the time he was designated for assignment, the A's outfield consisted of Shannon Stewart, Mark Kotsay, and Travis Buck.
Stewart signed with Toronto in 2008, but was released during the season after a poor performance and has since to play for a major league team. Meanwhile, Kotsay hit .214 that season and was traded to the Braves in the offseason and now remains a backup for the Chicago White Sox. As for Buck, after hitting .288 in his rookie season, his future looked promising, but Buck struggled to hit the ball well in early part of the 2008 season and has spent the past two years back and forth between the minors and big leagues.
Bradley WAS better than any player the A's had on their 2007 roster and it WAS a joke to say otherwise.
As baseball fans, we dismissed the release because Bradley wasn't on the field due to injury and because Bradley had a reputation he carried with him from Cleveland and LA. We overlooked the talent.
After peaceful years with San Diego and Texas, Bradley is now about to be traded out of Chicago. Once again, Bradley's ego has come back to haunt him. He needs a new start and needs to re-establish himself as a premier outfielder in the league. Why not do it in the place where he loved playing the most?
The A's and Milton Bradley have mutual interest.
Think the A's don't have the money to take on Bradley's salary? Think again. This is the team that ranked lowest in attendance last year and is getting the most amount of revenue sharing dollars of any team in the league. This is the same team that a year ago offered Rafael Furcal 10 million a year to play shortstop and offered Marco Scutaro 6 million a year this season.
The A's opening day payroll was 62 million dollars last season. So far this year, they only have 21 million dollars committed to the team. Even if they kept the 47 million dollar opening day payroll they had in 2008, they are STILL well under that. Do the right thing Billy and bring Milton back to the bay.