The first round of analysis arising out of the Milton Bradley trade has followed this general narrative: the Mariners fleeced the Cubs, dumping a truly useless player in Carlos Silva for a troubled but useful one in Bradley. And I think, generally speaking, it’s the right call. If everything breaks right, this could be a pretty nice deal for Seattle.
But all of that analysis seems to gloss over the Milton Bradley part of the deal with stuff like “assuming Bradley behaves himself,” and “with a change of scenery Bradley will likely . . .” After reading the fifth or sixth variation of that I can’t help but think that people are underselling just how many problems the guy has. Paul Sullivan of the Tribune has a nice little refresher, however, in the form of a list of the top 11 Bradley incidents from his short tenure in Chicago. It’s pretty impressive in and of itself, but it also speaks to personality that isn’t likely to magically transform based on a mere change of scenery.
I like Milton Bradley the player to a certain degree, and I think that, over the years, he has maybe gotten a little more bad press than he deserves. But Bradley’s reputation as a clubhouse cancer is not unjustified. The guy has issues, and no comparison of his potential OPS to Carlos Silva’s ERA against a backdrop of salary swapping truly captures it.
With Game 6 of the NLCS just hours away, the Dodgers will opt for a lefty-heavy lineup against right-hander Kyle Hendricks. Batting leadoff is rookie outfielder Andrew Toles, who made one appearance at the top of the lineup during the 2016 season. The Cubs, meanwhile, will bench Jason Heyward in favor of Albert Almora Jr.. This will be Almora’s first start of the playoffs, and while he has yet to face Kershaw in October, his right-handed bat could play well against the lefty at the bottom of the lineup.
Game time is scheduled for 8 PM EDT; lineups are below.
1. Andrew Toles (L) LF
6. Wilson Contreras (R) C
8. Albert Almora Jr. (R) RF
9. Kyle Hendricks (R) RHP
UPDATE, 5:08 PM EDT: Cubs’ manager Joe Maddon will not rule out a World Series appearance for Kyle Schwarber if the Cubs advance. MLB.com’s Carrie Muskat reports that Schwarber could play through a simulated game on Sunday, during which the Cubs’ medical and baseball staff would evaluate his chances for a late season return. If he does play, it will likely be in a pinch-hitting or DH role and not on the field.
Cubs’ outfielder Kyle Schwarber will return to the playing field on Saturday, per a report by the Chicago Tribune’s Mark Gonzales. The club’s prized left fielder suffered a season-ending injury when he collided with Dexter Fowler back in April, tearing both his ACL and LCL and undergoing intensive knee surgery later that month.
While no nerve damage was discovered during the surgery, the Cubs have kept a close eye on Schwarber during his recovery and put a kibosh on any part-time or full-time role with the team until the spring of 2017. Getting a few reps in during the Arizona Fall League appears to be the last step in the 23-year-old’s rehab process. He will be part of the Mesa Solar Sox’ ‘taxi squad,’ making him eligible for games on Wednesdays and Saturdays only.
Schwarber batted .246/.355/.487 with 16 in 69 games with the Cubs during his debut season in 2015. He will be added to the Mesa Solar Sox roster in advance of their set against the Salt River Rafters on Saturday evening.