According to sources, the Chicago Cubs agreed to a three-year, $30 million contract with Milton Bradley today, thus ending the Nats pursuit of the talented, but oft-injured and bat-ship crazy outfielder.

This is good news on several fronts. First, the Nats aren't on the hook for silly money to the mercurial Bradley. Since Pat Burrell finalized his deal with Tampa Bay for $8 million per, the Cubs look a little silly signing Bradley for $2 million more per year.

Next, signing Bradley would have created a SERIOUS logjam in the Nats outfield, not that there isn't one already. Now I realize that having too much talent is better than not having enough, and with Bradley's track record the backup would probably get full-time playing time anyway. But it's a headache Manny Acta doesn't need to deal with now. At least until Bowden goes out and signs or trades for another "toolsy" outfield prospect.

Third, as previously mentioned, Bradley is loony tunes. He went after an announcer last season to confront him in person, charged an umpire later in the year, and the year before his season was cut short after his manager had to restrain him from assaulting an umpire. Oh, and with the Dodgers he slammed a plastic bottle down in the front row of the right-field seats after a fan threw the bottle onto the field and was suspended for the rest of the regular season.

Does this sound like the guy you want standing next to Elijah Dukes in the Nats' outfield?

Good luck Cubbies.

Now that this plan has been thwarted, where should the Nats go to improve the major league lineup? There have been plenty of rumors about Orlando Hudson, even to the point of him saying publicly that he'd be happy playing here. I'd fully endorse that, Anderson Hernandez' winter league numbers notwithstanding. Hudson, 31, is a plus defender and a switch-hitter and who went .305/.367/.450 with 8 homers and 41 RBIs last season. As a lefty, he went .321/.382/.480.

As spring training looms in the not-so-distant future, Hudson is clearly the class of middle infielders available, but with demand lower than supply, could the Nats get three years of Hudson for right around, or slightly more than, the $6.25 million he made last season?

And what about Dunn? Now that Bradley and Burrell have both signed, and Giambi pegged for Oakland, that pretty much leaves Dunn, Bobby Abreu, Garrett Anderson and Rocco Baldelli as "impact" bats available. Dunn is the only one that has played 1B. If the market is set now for outfielders at $8-$10 million per, say Bowden throws a three-year, $36 million deal at Dunn. Would Dunn be crazy not to take it? Would Bowden be crazy to offer it?

Could the Nats add a gold glove caliber second baseman and a 40-homer, .381 OBP guy for $20 million a year for each of the next three years?

Would a batting order like this:

2B Hudson
CF Milledge
3B Zimmerman
1B Dunn
RF Dukes
LF Willingham
C Flores
SS Guzman

Make you re-think buying a 20-game plan?

1 comments

  1. Yard Yoder // January 8, 2009 at 10:52 AM  

    Batting the teams only .300 hitter last? hmm...