A deal on Milton Bradley? You're buying a lemon

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The Chicago Cubs are eager to get rid of Milton Bradley. That much is clear.

And here is Jim Hendry’s pitch to potential trade partners (as imagined by yours truly):

Milton Bradley is a fine young man who is generally misunderstood. He has a wealth of talent, much of it as yet untapped. Just look at his career line of .277/.371/.450! Who couldn’t use that on their team? I know there was some controversy surrounding him in Chicago this past season but I’ll tell you how I’m going to help you forget about that: I’m going to eat half of the remaining $21 million left on his contract. Just for you, because I like you. How’s that sound for a deal? Are you ready to sign? *Pulls out pen*

Hendry’s used-car pitch is apparently effective. There have been rumors of a trade in the works with Toronto, as Matthew detailed earlier today. And the Rangers, obviously remembering Bradley’s league-leading .999 OPS in 2008, have shown interest in bringing him back.

Enter Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News, who makes a point-by-point plea for the Rangers to avoid such temptation.

Grant mentions the poor 2009 season Bradley had in Chicago, and his durability issues (124 games in 2009, 126 in 2008), but things get even more interesting when the author gets into chemistry issues.

Bradley said after signing with the Cubs that he didn’t play in some selected games with the Rangers down the stretch in 2008 to protect his statistics in order to put himself in the best negotiating position. The Rangers have harped on a team-first approach as a big rallying cry for the 2010 season. There is no way that Bradley’s comments and actions can be viewed as anything but selfish.

I hadn’t heard that story before, but from everything I’ve seen about Bradley, it’s hardly surprising. Wherever he goes, Bradley makes himself the centerpiece story. He never shies from telling everyone how the world is out to get him, or how he has been wronged in some way.

It has become a self-fulfilling prophecy. With 10 big-league seasons under his belt, Bradley does get ripped frequently, sometimes unfairly. But when you spend your career going on self-indulgent diatribes, hurling things at fans, throwing temper tantrums, trying to charge press boxes, and insulting your fan base, you’re going to get a lot less slack from fans and writers alike.

So if you’re the Blue Jays, Rangers, or any other team sniffing out a potential bargain in Milton Bradley, don’t be fooled by Hendry’s spin. And think long and hard about what kind of presence you want in your clubhouse and on your roster.

Remember, if an offer sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Follow me on Twitter at @bharks. For more baseball news, go to NBCSports.com.

Yadier Molina says Adam Jones “has to apologize to the Puerto Rican people”

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After the U.S. won the World Baseball Classic on Wednesday night, Adam Jones told a reporter that he and his teammates were motivated in part by the fact that Puerto Rico already had championship t-shirts printed up and plans for a parade/celebration in Puerto Rico in place beforehand.

Which, OK, whatever you need to motivate you, Adam, but all of that seems complicated by the fact that (a) ALL teams playing for a championship have pre-printed gear, thus enabling them to be put on moments after the final out; and (b) Puerto Rico’s celebration plans were not contingent on winning or losing. In fact, they went ahead and had a parade/celebration even though they lost. The WBC was a big deal to them in ways it simply wasn’t to the U.S., so it makes sense.

Yadier Molina of Team Puerto Rico did not take kindly to Jones’ comments. He tells ESPN Deportes this:

“Adam Jones … is talking about things he doesn’t know about,” Molina told ESPN. “He really has to get informed because he shouldn’t have said those comments, let alone in public and mocking the way [preparations] were made . . . He has to apologize to the Puerto Rican people,” Molina said. “Obviously, you wanted to win; he didn’t know what this means to [our] people.”

Kind of a messy little controversy, eh?

My feeling about it is that Jones probably didn’t know the whole story about Puerto Rico’s plans and misinterpreted celebration for arrogance. I also suspect that most players motivate themselves in all manner of irrational ways like this, but we just don’t hear about it all that much. Jones can do whatever he wants to psych himself up, but it changes the equation a bit when you talk about it to the press. Perceived slights that an athlete uses internally can seem petty once exposed to the light of day.

Either way: Jones does not have a reputation for being insulting or disrespectful, so I seriously doubt that was his intent here. I also think that, while Molina has a right to be miffed, the “he must apologize to the Puerto Rican people” thing is laying it on a bit thick. Maybe Jones can just text Molina and some P.R. players and say he was sorry, followed by a “we’re all good, man” and this can end? That makes the most sense.

If not, well, the Orioles do play the Cardinals in an interleague series this summer, so maybe we’ll see some fireworks.

Angel Hernandez ejects Asdrubal Cabrera from a spring training game

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You don’t see many ejections in spring training games. The stakes are virtually non-existent, so it’s not like a player is likely to blow up at a bad call or something. That’s especially true now, as we enter spring training’s final week. Everyone wants to get through it uninjured and without fuss. And it’s getting hot in Florida in Arizona too. No one’s got time for that.

Yesterday Asdrubal Cabrera and Angel Hernandez did, though. Cabrera was batting in a road game against the Nats. He asked for time to step out of the box. Hernandez didn’t give it to him. This annoyed Cabrera who, after hitting a single, jawed at Hernandez as he ran out of the box and then pointed at him once he reached first base. Hernandez ran him.

Cabrera didn’t quickly leave the field. He took a slow, slow walk to the outfield and left via the gate in right, which is where visiting players tend to enter and leave spring parks. Watch:

 

Here’s what Cabrera told reporters after the game:

“‘C’mon, man, you’re better than that,’ ” Cabrera said, recalling what he yelled at Hernandez. “And he threw me out.”

Eh. I have no love for Angel Hernandez, but “you’re better than that” is a weak sauce insult. For one thing, maybe the person isn’t better than that? For another, it’s functionally equivalent to “you know better,” which is a thing a parent says to a kid. It’s fine when your dad says it, but Cabrera isn’t Hernandez’s dad and thus saying so carries with it an implicit belittling intent. It’s an ad hominem, which violates the usual ump-player understanding in which you can say a call was b.s. but don’t say the ump is a jerk personally.

More generally, it’s just cowardly. It’s designed not to deal with the substance of the beef. “You are a fine person all of the time, kind sir, but in this instance you are not up to par.” Well, why? Say so or shut up and quit being passive-aggressive.

Again: Hernandez is generally horrible. He’s not better than that, actually. But Cabrera deserved to get run, if for no other reason, than his insult was lame.