Let that sink in for a minute.
Milton Bradley, a 33-year-old corner outfielder with 125 career homers and 481 RBI, is making $12 million this year.
Credit Cubs GM Jim Hendry, who gave Bradley a three-year, $30 million contract after the biggest season of his career.
Even though Bradley was viewed by most as a head-case with major anger issues.
Even though Bradley was terribly injury prone.
Even though the one team that Bradley had played for that seemed to have no real problem with him and for which he had just enjoyed his career year and had the DH spot available for him wasn’t interested in offering him anything more than a one-year deal.
(That would be Texas.)
Three years and $30 million for a player who just a year previously had his season ended when he blew out his knee while being restrained by his manager so that he wouldn’t go after an umpire.
If Bradley is done as a major leaguer — and given the way he’s played since joining the Mariners, he may well be — he’ll leave the game tied with Michael Tucker and Tito Francona, among others, for 550th place on the all-time home run list. He wouldn’t even crack the top 1,000 in RBI or runs scored.
That’s an awful lot of ink spilled and money spent on a guy who only occasionally proved to be worth the hassle.
We’ve poked fun often at the spring training trope of players showing up to camp in the “best shape of [their] life.” Reds first baseman Joey Votto has turned that entirely on its head. Talking about his offseason, the 2010 NL MVP said, “I tried to get fatter. I succeeded at that apparently. We did all the testing and I am fatter,” Zach Buchanan of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports. Votto, of course, wasn’t trying to say he’s not in shape; he was just using some of his trademark self-deprecating humor.
Votto did get serious when discussing the state of the rebuilding Reds. As Buchanan also reported, Votto said, “I think we’re starting to get to the point where people are starting to get tired of this stretch of ball. I think something needs to start changing and start going in a different direction. I’m going to do my part to help make that change.”
Votto, 34, is under contract with the Reds through at least 2023, so he still has plenty of incentive to help see the rebuild through. He has been nothing short of stellar over the last three seasons. This past season, he hit .320/.454/.578 with 36 home runs, 100 RBI, and 106 runs scored in 707 appearances across all 162 games. Votto led the majors in walks (134) and on-base percentage and led the National League in OPS (1.032).
Despite Votto’s presence, both FanGraphs and PECOTA are projecting the Reds to put up a 74-88 record. The club had a pretty quiet offseason, expecting to enter 2018 with largely the same roster as last year.