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Cubs set to welcome Bradley for $30 million
By Bruce Miles | Daily Herald Staff

The Cubs and free agent DH/OF Milton Bradley reached a preliminary agreement Monday.

 

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Published: 1/5/2009 4:41 PM | Updated: 1/5/200 5:55 PM

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This figures to be a busy week for the Cubs.

Sources confirmed Monday that the Cubs have agreed in principle to a three-year contract with switch-hitting outfielder Milton Bradley. The deal is said to be worth about $30 million.

Cubs general manager Jim Hendry could not comment on the deal because it's contingent on the oft-injured Bradley passing a physical exam, most likely set for Thursday. If Bradley passes, it's possible the Cubs could introduce him Friday at Wrigley Field.

On top of that, expect the Cubs to announce Tuesday that they've traded right-handed pitcher Jason Marquis to the Colorado Rockies for relief pitcher Luis Vizcaino.

After a slow December in which Hendry saw a potential deal for San Diego Padres pitcher Jake Peavy "die" at the winter meetings, things have picked up.

Last week, Hendry traded infielder-outfielder Mark DeRosa to the Cleveland Indians for three pitching prospects and signed infielder-outfielder Aaron Miles to a two-year contract.

In the 30-year-old Bradley, the Cubs are getting a player who led the American League in on-base percentage (. 436) and OPS (on-base plus slugging percentage), at .999 while playing for the Texas Rangers.

Bradley also has been a controversial figure, one who has clashed with fans and umpires. He also sought out a Kansas City Royals broadcaster last year over comments made by the broadcaster, but there was no incident. With all that, Bradley seems to be well respected by teammates, and Cubs people privately say they are not worried how he will respond to the pressure cooker that Wrigley Field has become in recent years.

The impending signing of Bradley is part of the Cubs' overall plan to put more left-handed hitting into their lineup in the wake of getting swept in the National League division series by the Dodgers and their all-right-handed pitching setup.

DeRosa was the only right-handed hitter the Cubs could realistically trade, and moving him frees up playing time for left-handed hitting second baseman Mike Fontenot and the switch-hitting Miles. The Cubs also are confident left-handed hitting right field Kosuke Fukudome can bounce back from his poor second half last year.

In addition, left-handed hitting first baseman-outfielder Micah Hoffpauir will get a long look in spring training.

Bradley played in 126 games for the Rangers last year, batting .321 with 22 homers and 77 RBI. He was coming off knee surgery and saw extensive time as the Rangers' designated hitter, but the Cubs feel he is an above-average outfielder capable of playing right and center.

He came up in 2000 with the Montreal Expos and has played for Cleveland, the Dodgers, Oakland and San Diego in addition to Texas.

Bradley spent two stints on the suspended list in 2004, the second of which was for approaching the stands at Dodger Stadium and tossing a bottle into the stands after a fan tossed it in his direction. Bradley apologized for that incident.

Near the end of the 2007 season, Bradley tore up his knee in an argument with umpire Mike Winters while Bradley was with San Diego. Winters was suspended for his conduct in the altercation, but Bradley was not punished.

As far as Peavy goes, sources say Hendry has not talked seriously of late with the Padres, who are in the midst of an ownership transition, just as the Cubs are. However, Hendry has not shut the door on a possible deal.

Even if the Peavy talks are on ice, Hendry is expected to pursue a starting pitcher of some sort between now and the start of spring training in mid-February.

Marquis, the Cubs' No. 5 starter the last two years, will make $9.875 million this year, and the Cubs probably will have to pick up some of that freight.