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Could the Rays Trade Pat Burrell for Milton Bradley?

In theory? Sure. 

A swap of disappointing sluggers, Milton Bradley and Pat Burrell, seems like a good idea on paper. Burrell has underachieved all season with the Rays and has struggled in his adjustment to the designated hitter role and the American League. Given the National League resurgence of failed AL sluggers Jason Giambi and Matt Holliday, Burrell seems like he may fit in that category.

Bradley has struggled on and off the field in Chicago. However, he is just a year removed from a career year in which he flourished as a DH in the AL. The Rays courted Bradley this offseason and were believed to be a finalist for his services before the Cubs swooped in with a 3 yr/$30 million dollar deal that was perceived to be too rich for the Rays blood; and that's where the problem lies.

It appears that there's more than a little interest in Chicago Cubs right fielder Milton Bradley. A source with knowledge of the situation said that the Tampa Bay Rays are very interested in bringing the beleaguered outfielder to Florida.

Tampa Bay was the most aggressive team to pursue Bradley in the offseason before he signed with Chicago in January. It is not known if the teams have exchanged names, but it does appear that the Rays would like to move the contract of Pat Burrell. The former Philadelphia Phillies outfielder has one year left on his contract at $9 million after signing a two-year, $16 million deal with the Rays last winter.

 More on a potential Burrell/Bradley swap after the jump

























While the match seems to be made in heaven, the economics just don't match. In 2010, Burrell will be in the final year of a 2 yr/$16 million dollar contract and is guaranteed $9 million dollars. Bradley is also due to make $9 million dollars which would be perfect had he not had another year on that contract. Because he didn't spend 75 days on the DL and is not on the DL to end the season, his $12 million dollar salary in 2011 is still due. The Rays shed Scott Kazmir's $22.5 million dollar tag and could trade Carlos Pena or Carl Crawford at some point in the next year to free up more cash. Adding Bradley, his perceived behavioral problems, injury history, and $21 million dollars just doesn't match up to the team's salary structure.  

Depending on the Rays interest in Bradley, things could still happen to get a deal done. The Cubs could agree to eat some of Bradley's contract in order to rid themselves of the headache. Or the Cubs could take on a Dan Wheeler-esque contract to help off set some of the salary constraints. Either way, I find it hard to see the Rays taking on the full $21 million dollars owed to Bradley.

There is also the little minor detail of the Cubs actually wanting Burrell in return. Remember, he's coming off his worst season in the bigs; he's getting older and he can't play defense. Still, if you believe the words of Jim Hendry, the Cubs maybe willing to bite the Burrell bullet in order to stop playing Bradley's games (I'm sorry).