On at least one level I feel sorry for Milton Bradley, and that has to do with his mom, who simply won’t stop talking to the Chicago media about her son.
The latest? According to her, Bradley was distracted because his three year-old son was subjected to racist taunts. “Parents, teachers and their kids called him the n-word,” she said. Tough preschool. Also, says Ma Bradley, the fans hated him right off the bat because he wasn’t Mark DeRosa. “And he could see right away the fans didn’t accept him because they
wanted DeRosa, I think his name was, to be there. So he never really
felt accepted. He never felt comfortable at all.” Oh, and she also says that Bradley would like to play in Chicago again if given the chance.
I feel sorry for him because I could totally see my mom doing this. Except instead of racist toddlers and DeRosa envy, my mom would blame all of my struggles on gas or “a change in the weather,” which are the two things she has blamed for every bit of negativity that has happened in her lifetime, be it the space shuttle exploding, inflation, or the Kennedy assassination.
I’d say I can’t wait to hear more from Bradley’s mom, but my guess is that Milton is going to spend a good bit of time today arranging for her phone number to be changed.
The Rays were busy over the weekend, trading starter Jake Odorizzi to the Twins, designating All-Star outfielder Corey Dickerson for assignment, and then picking up C.J. Cron in a deal with the Angels. The Rays saved about $4 million — Odorizzi’s $6.3 million less Cron’s $2.3 million salary — and picked up a prospect. They’re still on the hook for Dickerson’s $5.95 million salary until they can find a trade partner, which seems likely.
Those are some head-scratching moves if you’re a Rays fan or a member of the Rays. Dickerson hit .282/.325/.490 with 27 home runs, 62 RBI, and 84 runs scored in 629 plate appearances last season, part of which resulted in his first trip to the All-Star Game. Designating him for assignment is strictly a financial move, assuming he can be traded. The Rays are currently operating with a payroll below $70 million. This comes just a week and a half after Rays ownership proposed the public footing most of the bill for the club’s new stadium. And the Rays had traded third baseman Evan Longoria — then the face of the franchise — to the Giants earlier this offseason.
Longoria expressed sympathy for Rays fans for having to put up with this. Via Andrew Baggarly, Longoria said of the curious Dickerson move, “I just kind of feel sorry for the Rays fan base. … I’m not going to take too many shots but it’s pretty obvious that guy is a valuable player and didn’t deserve to be DFAd. Corey was our best player last year.”
Longoria isn’t quite on the money there. By WAR, Dickerson ranked fifth among position players on the team, according to Baseball Reference. FanGraphs is also in agreement. Still, it’s indisputable that Dickerson, who turns 29 years old this May, more than pulled his weight. The Rays do not have a surfeit of starting outfielders, so it wasn’t like they were making room for other capable players. Mallex Smith, who put up a .684 OPS in 282 PA last year, is slated to start in left field at the moment. Designating Dickerson for assignment, as well as trading Longoria and Odorizzi, were simply cost-cutting decisions.
The Rays’ M.O. has been part of the problem leading to the current stagnant free agent market (sans Eric Hosmer‘s eight-year deal on Saturday). Teams like the Rays, Phillies, Reds, and Tigers have been explicitly putting out non-competitive teams in order to facilitate a rebuilding process. Longoria is right to express sympathy for Rays fans, who see their favorite team worsening a roster that went 80-82 last year. The Rays haven’t finished at .500 or above since 2013 and doesn’t figure to halt the streak this year.