Milton Bradley may actually be wanted somewhere

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This part of the season usually gives us playoff races, but we really only have one in play right now.  In their absence, we’re sort of in a pre-postseason holding pattern, with no major news or action to keep us busy until the games start to truly matter again.

Thank goodness, then, for some early hot stove action, courtesy of the St. Petereburg Times.  They break down the Rays’ offseason roadmap this morning.  The upshot:  keep the rotation as it is, plan on Longoria, Upton and Zobrist being untouchable, but dangle anyone else and see if a good deal comes along.  Yes, anyone, including Jason Bartlett, Carl Crawford and Carlos Peña, all of whom have probably peaked even if a lot of people haven’t noticed it yet.  The goal: get some bullpen help and address the problems at catcher and DH.  Oh, and this is fun:

In a perfect world, the Rays upgrade at catcher or DH without hurting themselves elsewhere. How do you do that? Finding the right match. For instance, the Rays were interested in Milton Bradley last off-season before he signed with the Cubs.

Bradley had a tumultuous season in Chicago — as he has elsewhere — and will probably be traded. If the Rays convince the Cubs that Burrell could excel by returning to the NL in the walk year of his contract, they might have a willing partner. Their 2010 salaries are a wash, but the Rays will have to figure out a way to negate Bradley’s $12 million salary in 2011.

Is it likely? Probably not, but that’s the sort of deal the Rays will probably be seeking.

Yes, you read that correctly. Mere days after he was suspended for being utter cancer to a ballclub, people are out lobbying for Milton Bradley.  And I’m not sure what’s crazier: Bradley himself, the idea to bring him to Tampa Bay, or the fact that I kinda like it.

I know it’s premature, but man you gotta love the hot stove season. Anything can happen and nothing is nuts.

Padres sign Jordan Lyles

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The Padres announced on Sunday that the club signed pitcher Jordan Lyles to a one-year major league contract with a club option for 2019. According to Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports, Lyles will earn $750,000 in 2018. Pitcher Travis Wood was designated for assignment to create room on the 40-man roster for Lyles.

Lyles, 27, had miserable results between the Rockies and Padres last season, compiling an aggregate 7.75 ERA with a 55/22 K/BB ratio over 69 2/3 innings. While he specifically gave up 24 earned runs in 23 innings across five starts with the Padres, it was a small sample. A full season at the pitcher-friendly Petco Park, as opposed to Colorado’s Coors Field, might help revitalize his career.

Wood, 30, went to the Padres at the non-waiver trade deadline from the Royals this past season. Overall, the lefty posted an aggregate 6.80 ERA with a 65/45 K/BB ratio in 94 innings. He’ll earn $6.5 million this season and has an $8 million mutual option with a $1 million buyout for 2019. So, the Padres are just eating $7.5 million minus the league minimum, assuming Wood latches on elsewhere.