It’s award season in MLB, and the disappointing Chicago Cubs didn’t figure to get much recognition.
Except the bad kind. Milton Bradley was named the Least Valuable Player in the NL by Sports Illustrated.
Anyway, put it all together, and including those all-important intangibles, the 2009 LVP is Bradley. He was lousy on defense (minus-12 Dewan in right; minus-4.7 UZR) and not much on offense (99 OPS+ and missed 38 games with injuries). Plus, he was his usual pleasant self… leaving Cubs GM Jim Hendry publicly babbling about how the team doesn’t HAVE to trade Bradley, they might WANT to keep Bradley, hey some of the best trades are the ones you DON’T make — while privately Hendry’s working the phones like Judy the Time Life Operator to get rid of this guy.
Bradley did lead the American League in OPS+ in 2008. And to be fair, he was not the worst player in the National League, not really all that close. After a horrendous start in 2009, he hit pretty well for a good chunk of last season. From May 25 through Aug. 29 he hit .300/.431/.454. I suspect he’s got something left in the bat.
But he turns 32 in April. And he’s Milton Bradley. A scout once told me that Bradley is the only high school player he ever scouted who hit a home run and did not have a single teammate come out to congratulate him. He’s only signed for two more years — he’s due $9 million and $12 million. Think about all you get for the money.
Several brilliant readers on my blog pointed out I initially shortchanged Soriano for LVP. That contract is brutal. And I did not realize just how much Soriano’s offense AND defense regressed in 2009 — I thought he was pretty good defensively in 2007 and 2008. He makes a compelling case. I think Bradley, because of his whole game, was the LVP though. SI.com.
Hard to argue with much of that, though I would bet that Alfonso Soriano hurt the Cubs more this year than did Bradley.