Rays Roundup: Should the Rays Sign Milton Bradley?

BOSTON, MA - APRIL 30: Milton Bradley #15 of the Seattle Mariners hits an RBI double against the Seattle Mariners Jarrod Saltalamacchia #39 of the Boston Red Sox defends on April 30, 2011 at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
  • The big news from yesterday is that the Mariners finally cut ties with Milton Bradley. The Mariners had traded for Bradley before last season with the hope that he'd bring some much needed power to their lineup, but he's been nothing short of a disaster for them.

    Off the field issues aside, Bradley hasn't produced like the hitter he was in Texas or Chicago. Bradley's power has seemingly disappeared, hovering around the .140 ISO mark for the last three seasons (which is a little bit better than Sam Fuld this year, and a little bit worse than Johnny Damon). This lack of power isn't just a Safeco creation either; he had a .140 ISO his last season in Chicago, which is a huge hitter's park. While he could still hit double-digit homeruns, he's no longer likely to get much above 15. He has a .310 wOBA so far this year with a .294 BABIP, so it doesn't look like his performance will bounce up anytime soon, and his release has Dave Cameron speculating that he could be finished in the majors.

    The Rays have been willing to take flyers on players that other teams passed up due to character or makeup issues, but I simply don't think that Bradley would be an upgrade for this team right now. A couple seasons ago? Yes, I would have been all for it, but his bat right now looks to have the upside of a .330 wOBA; that's not exactly something to write home about. His defense is also below average in the corner outfield spots, and he's never played first base before. He'd have to DH for the Rays, likely pushing Johnny Damon back into the field full time, and I don't think his bat is enough of an upgrade to make it worth it. Sure, the Rays could sign him for the league minimum right now, but I'd prefer letting Damon DH and giving our young players more playing time instead.

    If he could play first base at a league average rate, then I'd be willing to give Bradley a shot. But given his history of well below average defense, I don't think that's especially likely. But maybe that's just me. What do you all think?
  • In other reads, The Process Report is starting up some draft coverage and has an article on the Rays and risk up right now. Also, Rays Prospects profiles a couple hitters to keep your eye on as the draft gets closer.
  • Matt Klaassen took a look at the Rays' recent surge over at FanGraphs late last week. It's fun to sometimes take a look at what outsiders think of the Rays; it helps give me a bit more perspective.
  • Tommy Rancel wrote about Ben Zobrist's returning power over at TPR. It's definitely still too early to say anything definitive about Zobrist's power, but the early returns look very good. He's already on pace for a much better year than last season.
  • And finally BurGi over at Rays Prospects does his weekly prospect breakdown, this time focusing on the pitchers. Well worth a read.
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