Tag:Milton Bradley
Posted on: December 13, 2009 4:28 am
 

Bradley is a Perfect Fit For The A's....Again

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.



Posted on: December 13, 2009 4:24 am
 

Bradley is a Perfect Fit For The A's....Again

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.
Posted on: July 20, 2008 12:04 am
Edited on: July 22, 2008 5:46 pm
 

Billy Beane is in a World of His Own

For A's GM Billy Beane, Greatness is All That Matters



With the Oakland Athletics in contention for a playoff spot this year, Billy Beane shocked all of us a week ago when he decided to trade Rich Harden and Chad Gaudin to the Chicago Cubs. So a week later, it came as no surprise when A's fans learned that Beane had made yet another trade, sending pitcher Joe Blanton to the Philadelphia Phillies for more prospects.

"Is he crazy?"

At least, that is the main question that is being floated around the baseball community right now. And the answer to it--well--is rather complicated. In most cases, making a trade like the two deals that Beane made last week could mean the end of your job if you were the GM of any other team. In fact, we've seen it before with Beane's protegé Paul DePodesta when Depodesta took over as the general manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers.


"I want to be great for a long time. Not have a nice, little month and make it interesting. If we have assets, ultimately, we have to turn them into more assets. This is the way we have to run the business. For us, as a small-market team, the turnover is a lot greater."
- A's GM Billy Beane



DePodesta traded Paul LoDuca, Juan Encarnacion and Guillermo Mota to the Florida Marlins for Brad Penny and Hee Seop Choi. And while the move didn't benefit the Dodgers immediately that season, it has paid off huge dividends for the team in the years that followed. Unfortunately for DePodesta, he was greatly criticized for the move and was run out of town by the Los Angeles media. That's just how it works. New Dodger GM Ned Colletti has made terrible signings like Andruw Jones, Nomar Garciaparra, Jason Schmidt, Juan Pierre, and Randy Wolf, yet because Colletti didn't trade away the core of the team, he hasn't faced nearly the same amount of criticism that DePodesta did while being in the same city.

However, in a city like Oakland, where Billy Beane has made it to the postseason in five of the past eight seasons, all anyone can ever do is trust his reputation. As most Oakland fans would say.....

"In Billy We Trust!"

Despite losing all-star pitchers such as Tim Hudson, Barry Zito, Mark Mulder, Ted Lilly, Aaron Harang, Dan Haren, Jason Isringhausen and Keith Foulke and losing solid position players like Jason Giambi, Miguel Tejada, Jermaine Dye, Johnny Damon, Ramon Hernandez, Ray Durham, Carlos Pena, Jose Guillen, Milton Bradley, and Nick Swisher the A's still compete. Even as a small market team Billy Beane defies the odds. Since 2000, only the Yankees in the American League and the Cardinals in the National League, have made it to the playoffs more than Beane's Oakland A's teams.

"I want to be great for a long time. Not have a nice, little month and make it interesting. If we have assets, ultimately, we have to turn them into more assets. This is the way we have to run the business. For us, as a small-market team, the turnover is a lot greater," Beane said a few days ago after pulling the trigger on the Joe Blanton deal.

And such is the way Billy Beane has been able to keep the A's contenders. We saw this principle applied last offseason when Beane traded All-Star pitcher Dan Haren to the Arizona Diamondbacks for Greg Smith, Dana Eveland, Carlos Gonzalez, Brett Anderson, and two other minor leaguers. By trading away one player, Haren, Beane managed to find two quality pitchers to fill his rotation, a future superstar outfielder in Carlos Gonzalez, and some other solid minor leaguers to give the team some organizational depth.

The philosophy has kept the A's winning ballgames year in and year out, but it has grown tiresome to many of the fans who come to the ballpark because of the team has no player loyalty whatsoever. Many casual A's fans can't name a single player on their team anymore. Others, can only name a few stars like Huston Street, Bobby Crosby, and Eric Chavez. But with Chavez sidelined for most of the year, and Street and Crosby likely to be traded before the July 31st trade deadline, the A's attendance will surely drop off even lower than it already is. With the A's set to move to Fremont in 2011, no one will care about this team anymore. At least, not in the east bay area.

Billy Beane's trades of Rich Harden and Joe Blanton were meant to stock up the farm system with great prospects for the years to come. They weren't meant to keep the A's in the playoff race this season. As Beane has been quoted saying in the past, "You're not a contender unless you're in first."

While most teams would be looking to add players to make a run at the playoffs if they were in the A's position, Billy Beane decided that most likely outcome for the roster that he has now, would result in the team missing the playoffs. So instead having faith in the club he has now, Beane is constantly looking to the future.

As Beane said earlier, he wants his team to be great. Not just good for a short period of time. Beane is trying to make the A's what they were at the turn of the century. A team filled with superstars like Giambi, Chavez, Tejada, Dye, Hudson, Mulder and Zito. He wants his team to be like the team in 2001 that won 102 ballgames or the team in 2002 that won 104. You don't see that anymore in baseball. Now that the A's will have money with a new ballpark, Beane will be able to keep the future superstars around for a long time. And while everyone in Oakland is mad that Beane is looking to the future when the present team is exceeding expectations, Beane is taking the right step for the long term success of the ballclub.

Looking back at the trades, at least the Oakland fans can be happy with what they got back in return. While Rich Harden can be the best pitcher in baseball, his injury history has prevented him from doing that yet. The A's only had him locked up for two more seasons and would have been paying him a decent amount of money to pitch next season. If he would have had one more injury, the A's wouldn't have gotten anything in return and been stuck eating his contract.

Sean Gallagher is solid right hander that, like most Cubs pitching prospects, hasn't been handled right in their farm system. He has number two pitcher upside and can rack up a decent amount of strikeouts. Eric Patterson has been very good in the minors and with everyday playing time, he should develop nicely at second base for the team. Matt Murton is another underrated outfielder. Murton has a career .290 batting average, but the biggest knock on him was his lack of power. He'll make a solid 4th outfielder for the A's in years to come. As for Josh Donaldson, the former second round pick has struggled in the minors so far, but the A's needed organizational depth at catcher after Jeremy Brown retired and Landon Powell's constant injury problems.

The Joe Blanton deal might actually help the A's in the short run as Blanton was having a terrible season so far. The A's have to be happy with their return after trading a guy that is a 12 game loser and has era of around five. All that while playing one of baseball's best pitchers parks. However, Blanton is an innings eater that should help the Phillies bullpen and is a sure upgrade over Adam Eaton.

The A's have chosen to start Dallas Braden in Blanton's spot for the short term, but if Braden struggles, the A's might consider calling up top pitching prospect Gio Gonzalez to fill the void. Gonzalez has been lights out this past month for AAA Sacramento.

The prospects the A's got back from the Phillies are pretty solid too. Adrian Cardenas is one of the best second base prospects in the game and pretty much guarantees that Mark Ellis won't be with the team next season as the A's also signed first round pick Jemile Weeks. Left hander Josh Outman is a great pitching prospect and the A's will likely turn him back into a starter, where he has had the most success at in the minors. As for Matthew Spencer, he probably has no chance of making the A's roster anytime soon. The A's are overloaded at the outfield position in their minor league system and their are plenty of internal options that would be ahead of him on the depth chart. It would take Spencer a lot of commitment to move up the depth charts.

While some A's fans can be mad at Billy Beane for not making a run at the postseason this year, he is the reason the A's stood a chance this year in the first place. Billy Beane might be the most hated person in Oakland right now. He is in a world of his own right now. However, if Beane's moves pay off in the near future, he will be further cementing his legacy as the greatest GM in the game.

"In Billy We Trust!"

That's all Oakland fans can do.
Posted on: June 30, 2008 1:40 am
 

American League Midseason Report Cards

The half way point of the season is here and it's time to grade the performance of each team. How well has your team done this season?

American League East

Baltimore Orioles
Record:
41-39, 4th Place in the AL East
Grade: A -

The Orioles made the right moves during the off-season by trading both Erik Bedard and Miguel Tejada. Those two trades brought the team some quality players in return that the team can build upon. While many people wrote the Orioles off this season--some going as far as predicting the team would have 100 losses--the O's have remained competitive all year long. The only step left for GM Andy MacPhail is to continue the firesale and trade off the remaining veterans for prospects. With the team having a top 3 relief pitching staff, there will be quite a bit of demand for veteran relievers like Chad Bradford, Jamie Walker, and George Sherrill. Trading them would make the team much better in the long run.


Boston Red Sox
Record:
50-34, 2nd Place in the AL East
Grade: A

The Red Sox have played very well this season. Despite the fact that David Ortiz started out slow, Curt Schilling is done for the year, and multiple players have spent time on the DL, they still have one of the best records in baseball. However, because they play in baseball's best division, they are finding themselves in the middle of what should be a three team race for the American League East. With regards to that, I give the team an "A" for overall performance. However, because Schilling is out with injury, I don't trust anyone on their team other than Josh Beckett to start in the playoffs. Despite Tim Wakefield having his best season since 2002, he has never been a good postseason pitcher. The young guys--Lester, Buchholz, & Masterson--have only one playoff start between them and lack longevity in the regular season. Meanwhile, Daisuke's walk totals are increasing and his performance in the postseason last year was terrible. It will be interesting to see if the team pursues a veteran starter at the deadline.


New York Yankees
Record:
44-38, 3rd Place in the AL East
Grade: B

The Yankees haven't exactly been playing their best ball, yet they haven't played bad baseball either. The team has consistently remained around .500 and have just recently made a run above it. In my opinion, the Yankees can't get much worse, but they have the potential to be much better than they are playing. With Joba finally making the transition to the rotation, if the Yankees can add one more starter, they'll be right in the thick of it. The teams offense is potent, especially with the return of Jason Giambi to the lineup and the bullpen has been holding its own so far. The Yankees were my prediction to win the division and I still think they will do it.


Tampa Bay Rays
Record:
49-32, 1st Place in the AL East
Grade: A

Wow. Who would have thought the Tampa Bay Rays would have been in first place in the American League East at the halfway point? I certainly didn't. This team has been loaded with talent, but it never fully developed until now. The off-season trade of Delmon Young for Matt Garza has payed dividends as well and given the team a formidable front three of Scott Kazmir, Garza, and James Shields. In addition, Evan Longoria is showing that he will be a true superstar in this league for years to come. What the team really needs going forward is one more bat, perhaps in right field or DH, to solidify the lineup. Other than that, the Rays will stay competitive until the very end. You can be assured of that.


Toronto Blue Jays
Record:
40-43, Last Place in the AL East
Grade: D

Everyone's favorite preseason pick is in last place in the division right now. The Blue Jays haven't played bad baseball, but they just haven't been given a commitment to winning by their management. The early season release of Frank Thomas (who is hitting .319 with the A's) is a perfect example. The team has the pitching staff to be a good team and they could make a 2nd half run, but it might be too little too late in the toughest division in baseball. If the team wants to remain competitive, they need to make a trade for an impact bat. You can't expect to win too many games with Matt Stairs, Brad Wilkerson, Kevin Mench, and Shannon Stewart in your lineup. It just doesn't happen.



American League Central

Chicago White Sox
Record:
45-35, 1st Place in the AL Central
Grade: A

Maybe we were a bit too harsh on GM Kenny Williams this offseason as many of his signings have proven to work out great. The additions of Octavio Dotel and Scott Linebrink have shored up the bullpen problems the team has been having for years. Meanwhile, Carlos Quentin is among the league leaders in home runs this season, while Alexei Ramirez is batting over .300 and has shored up the the 2nd base spot for the team. Even the decision to keep Joe Crede is looking brilliant now. The only move that isn't looking great is the Nick Swisher deal as Ryan Sweeney is outperforming him in Oakland. However, Swisher is batting .302 with 5 homers and 18 RBI in the month of June so he might be on the verge of turning it around.


Cleveland Indians
Record:
37-45, Tied for Last Place in AL the Central
Grade: F

I don't understand how a team this talented could perform so poorly all year long. The Indians aren't even putting themselves anywhere close to contention which is making the decision to trade C.C. Sabathia easier by the day. The more and more I see of Travis Hafner, the uglier that 6 year extension is looking that he signed a year ago as well. The only two Indians ballplayers that are performing are Grady Sizemore and Casey Blake and Blake is as good as gone at the seasons end. The Indians better hope that Sabathia brings them back players that will help them in the immediate future, because the Indians window of opportunity is closing.


Detroit Tigers
Record:
41-40, 3rd Place in the AL Central
Grade: C

Well, it isn't what we expected, but to be a game above .500 and only 4.5 back of the division leaders at the halfway sign is good for the Tigers who started the season off poorly. The pitching staff is starting to come around--though Dontrelle Willis may be done as a pro--and the team should get better in the bullpen when Joel Zumaya and Fernando Rodney start to come around. It wouldn't surprise me if the Tigers overtook the White Sox in the American League Central by the end of the year. Then again, it also wouldn't surprise me if the team remained mediocre for the rest of the season. Much like the Yankees, the offense will be there for this team. EVERYTHING relies on the pitching staff down the stretch. I would suggest the team making a trade, but after the deals with Florida and Atlanta, they can't have much left in their farm system.


Kansas City Royals
Record:
37-45, Tied for Last Place in the AL Central
Grade: D

We knew the Royals were going to be bad to start the year, so the fact that they have a higher grade than the Indians is because the Indians failed to meet anywhere close to their expectations. However, I still don't understand how many of these players on the Royals have jobs. I mean, how long is it going to be until Tony Pena, who has a .142 batting average and an OPS of -2 (yeah...negative two) is sent down? I mean, he can't be in their for his defense either as he has the 2nd worse. Their other alternative, Angel Berroa, was recently traded away to the Dodgers which made no sense at all. At least Berroa could hit the ball out of the infield. This team has some talented players, but they are nowhere near turning into a good ballclub.


Minnesota Twins
Record:
45-37, 2nd Place in the AL Central
Grade: B+

The Twins lost both Johan Santana and Torii Hunter this offseason and are still in contention. How you may ask? For one, Hunter has always been overrated and is just an average ballplayer. Secondly, Joe Mauer has been able to stay healthy this season which has given the offense a spark. And third, the bullpen (as usual) has been outstanding. The Twins really don't deserve to be where they are with the performance of the offense (as a whole) and the poor starting pitching they've had. However, they'd remained in the hunt the entire time and had tons of success against the National League this season. I gave them a B+ because of their record, however, I think both the White Sox and Tigers will finish ahead of them by the end of the year.



American League West

Los Angeles Angels
Record:
49-33, 1st Place in the AL West
Grade: A -

The Angels got exceptional performances from Joe Saunders and Ervin Santana while John Lackey was out, and now that he's back, the team has one of the most dangerous pitching staffs in the majors. However, the offense of the Halos has been a huge disappointment this season as the team is 2nd to last in the American League in team OPS. Only two players on the team have double digit home run numbers and one of them (Mike Napoli) is just a part time player. The Angels most obvious need for the second half is an impact bat, preferably at shortstop. The Angels should be able to keep pace in the west as the A's and Rangers aren't much of a real threat, but if they want to avoid another October disappointment, they'll have to make some changes.


Oakland Athletics
Record:
44-37. 2nd Place in the AL West
Grade: B+

If there is one thing I've learned over the years, it's not to doubt Billy Beane. He's the only guy that can make his team better the next season by trading his best pitcher and his best hitter. Many people had the A's predicted as the last place finishers in the west this season, but the A's have continued to succeed with their foundation of strong pitching. The team is on pace to set another record for most people on the disabled list in a season. Much like the division rival Angels, the A's offense has been terrible this season. However, I don't think it can get much worse than it already is. Daric Barton has struggled all year long, but the A's have no other options at the position now that Dan Johnson is gone and it's probably best to let Barton swing his way out of it. Carlos Gonzalez has finally arrived at the major league level and his swing is amazing. He is only 21 and you can tell that he'll be a great ballplayer in the future. The team has a lot of potential and was initially geared up to compete in 2010-2011. Anything they do now is just a bonus.


Texas Rangers
Record:
42-41, 3rd Place in the AL West
Grade: B

Nolan Ryan......."Take That!" At least, that's what I'd be saying if I were Rangers manager Ron Washington. After feeling the heat much of the first half, Ron Washington has the Rangers maintaining a respectable winning percentage. He is getting the most out of the players he has and it's turning into wins for the ballclub. Milton Bradley might just be the best offseason signing for the Rangers as he has continued to crush the ball. Now all the team needs to do is to finally get some decent pitchers to the big league level instead of trading their best talent away (i.e. Chris Young, Edinson Volquez, John Danks). If I were GM Jon Daniels, I know my team doesn't stand much of a chance at the postseason this year, so I'd look to see if I could trade Vincente Padilla (and his contract) to a contender.


Seattle Mariners
Record:
31-50, Last Place in the AL West
Grade: F

What a joke. I think I was the only person here to question how good the Seattle Mariners would be this season. I KNEW they weren't as good as everyone has been saying and they only proved me right by having the worst record in baseball. It's about time they fired Bill Bavasi as he did nothing good for the team. I don't even know what to say about the Mariners right now other than a firesale should be about to begin (with everyone except for Ichiro). The Mariners have a lot of rebuilding to do and now that Bavasi damaged the teams future, who knows how long it's going to take.

Posted on: May 31, 2008 11:55 pm
Edited on: May 31, 2008 11:59 pm
 

Milton Bradley: The Key to the Rangers Success?

Laugh all you want, but Milton Bradley has proven to be one of the most feared hitters in the American League this season. While Josh Hamilton is getting most of the attention in Arlington these days, Bradley has been just as key to the Rangers success this past month. In fact, one could argue that Bradley has been the best free agent signing this offseason (considering the price he was signed for). Entering May, the Rangers were a pitiful 10-18 and there was already talk of 2nd year manager Ron Washington being fired by team president Nolan Ryan.

However, the strong play of Bradley coupled with the power of Josh Hamilton in the middle of that lineup and the teams improved starting pitching has helped the Rangers gain respectability. At 29-28, the Rangers were 19-10 in the month of May so far and are only 3 games back of the division leading Angels. In the month of May alone, Milton Bradley has hit .341 with five home runs and 19 RBI. On the season, Bradley is hitting .327/.435/.561 with 8 home runs, 31 RBI, 33 walks and 16 doubles. He leads the American League with a .996 OPS and is top 3 in the AL in slugging, on base percentage, batting average and doubles.

Now, the question we must ask ourselves is if this performance by Bradley is a fluke, or if we can expect it to continue throughout the season. Personally, I think he might be able to keep it up. If you recall, Bradley performed just as well in his time with the San Diego Padres last season and was the sole reason for their second half run. I think Milton Bradley is finally entering the prime of his career and is playing the type of baseball we expected from him when he first emerged as a star with the Indians back in 2002.

However, there are several limiting factors with Bradley. First, Bradley hasn't had the greatest track record in the clubhouse and one may wonder when will be the next time he blows up. In regards to this though, I think he's finally matured as a player. He hasn't had any problems since he left the Dodgers in 2006.

The other--and most important--limiting factor for Bradley has been his injury history. In his 8 seasons in the big leagues, Bradley has only played more than 140 games in a season only once and only more than 100 games only twice. Right now, Bradley is on pace to set career highs in just about every stat category, but an injury could prevent him from doing so. However, if Bradley can remain healthy all season long, the Rangers could become a darkhorse to win the American League West this season.

I know this might be difficult for some people to grasp, but the Angels just haven't been playing that good of baseball and the Athletics are more committed towards the future now that they are once again on pace to shatter their record of using the disabled list. Because of the play of Bradley and teammate Josh Hamilton, the Rangers now have the number one offense in the American League. If the pitching staff stays on par, don't sleep on the Rangers.....
 
 
 
 
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