Bradley has problems, but this ain't one

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The Milton Bradley-Lou Piniella brouhaha erupted and then more or less resolved itself over the weekend, with the name-calling apparently ending on Saturday and the rapprochement beginning (now they’re searching for the leaks). But before we let all of that go, I have to focus for a second on one part of this, and that’s one of the things cited in Saturday’s Sun-Times article detailing the meltdown:

From the front office to the clubhouse, Cubs personnel sympathize
with Bradley’s frustration, and nobody blames him for struggling. But
an apparent preoccupation with his individual issues over the team’s
efforts to shake a first-half malaise has worn on teammates, even down
to things as simple as working close pitches for walks with runners on
base when putting the ball in play with less than two outs might score
a rare and needed run.

Is this really a valid reason to be angry at Bradley? That he’s trying
to get on base? It’s be one thing if he were ignoring bunt signs or
something (not that I’d bunt with Bradley, but hey, directions are
directions) but trying to get on base is pretty much an unequivocal
positive, isn’t it?

I think the final takeaway from all of this is that, for all of his
craziness, there is a pretty rational and self-aware dude somewhere
inside of Milton Bradley. Here he is on Saturday, when asked whether Piniella’s yelling at him was unfair given that there are a lot of hotheads on that Cubs team:

“Like I’ve said, I don’t have the same set of rules as other people.
I’ve committed mistakes in my past to where you don’t get the leeway
other guys might get. To a certain extent, I guess that’s fair.”

(thanks to reader Arun Gupta for catching the on-base bit)

Report: Padres trade Matt Kemp to the Braves for Hector Olivera

SAN DIEGO, CA - JUNE 06:  Matt Kemp #27 of the San Diego Padres talks in the dugout prior to the start of the game against the Atlanta Braves at PETCO Park on June 6, 2016 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Kent Horner/Getty Images)
Kent Horner/Getty Images
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Update (7:01 PM EDT): David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports the deal has been completed.

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ESPN’s Keith Law reported on Saturday evening that a bad contract swap involving the Braves’ Hector Olivera and the Padres’ Matt Kemp was “getting close.” Olivera has been pulled off the field, per Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY. Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that only a last-second medical would kill the deal at this point, and that the Padres will be sending money to the Braves.

Kemp, 31, will have $64.5 million remaining on his contract through 2019 after this season, but the Dodgers will pay $3.5 million annually over those remaining three years, so the $64.5 million is really $54 million. The veteran has compiled a .262/.285/.489 triple-slash line with 23 home runs and 69 RBI in 431 plate appearances for the Padres this season.

Olivera, 31, will have $28.5 million remaining on his contract through 2020 after this season. The outfielder was handed an 82-game suspension, beginning on May 26, for his involvement in a domestic dispute on April 13. The suspension is up on August 2. He has a .501 OPS in 21 major league at-bats this season and a .278 OPS in 37 PA at Triple-A.

Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports that the Padres will consider designating Olivera for assignment. The trade is all about the salary dump for the Padres, as they’d rather give outfield playing time to prospects Hunter Renfroe and Manuel Margot.

Athletics trade Billy Burns to the Royals for Brett Eibner

ST. PETERSBURG, FL - MAY 13: Billy Burns #1 of the Oakland Athletics waits on deck to bat during the fourth inning of a game against the Tampa Bay Rays on May 13, 2016 at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images)
Brian Blanco/Getty Images
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The Athletics and Royals swapped outfielders on Saturday. The Athletics sent Billy Burns to Kansas City and the Royals sent Brett Eibner to Oakland.

Burns, 26, doesn’t provide much in the way of offense, but he runs the bases well and plays solid defense. He was hitting .234/.270/.303 with 11 doubles, four triples, and 14 stolen bases in 274 plate appearances.

Eibner, 27, was batting .231/.286/.423 with three home runs and 10 RBI in 85 plate appearances. He has spent most of the season with Triple-A Omaha, where he’s put up a .902 OPS in 219 PA. Eibner played the outfield corners in the majors, but racked up a ton of time playing center in the minors, so his versatility will be valuable to the A’s.

Burns will become eligible for arbitration for the first time after the 2017 season while Eibner has hardly accrued any service time, which might explain part of the motivation behind the trade for the small-market Athletics.