Last we heard of Milton Bradley, he was being accused of threatening to kill his wife and then vehemently denying those accusations.
A real pleasant situation.
But this is baseball’s hot stove season and Bradley just so happens to be a major league free agent.
Rumors rest for no man. Or something.
According to Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times, the Rockies met Wednesday with Bradley’s agents. There’s no telling how serious the chat was or whether the Rox actually have interest in bringing Bradley aboard this winter, but it’s fairly clear that Bradley wants to return to baseball and there’s a chance he’ll get at least some amount of consideration from teams desperate for outfield depth.
Bradley, 33, batted just .218/.313/.356 with two home runs and 13 RBI in 115 plate appearances for the Mariners this year before they cut him loose in mid-May. He posted a .378 on-base percentage over 124 games with the Cubs in 2009 and a .436 OBP across 126 games for the Rangers in 2008.
The Angels’ bench is looking woefully thin this winter — so thin, in fact, that manager Mike Scioscia says he’s considering utilizing starting pitcher Shohei Ohtani as a pinch-hitter and pinch-runner on the days he’s not scheduled to pitch.
I’ve never had a pitcher pinch-run,” Scioscia told reporters Saturday. “There’s more bad than good that can come out of it. But Shohei is not just a pitcher. He’s a guy that has the ability to do some of the things coming off the bench, whether it’s pinch-hit or pinch-run, and we’re definitely going to tap into that if it’s necessary, because we feel we’re not putting him at risk. It’s something he’s able to do.
Granted, spring training allows for a certain amount of experimentation before managers and players decide what works best for them, so this may not be the strategy the Angels employ for the entire season. In addition to coming off the bench between starts, Ohtani is also expected to see 2-3 days at DH every week, forcing Albert Pujols to shift over to first base to accommodate the new two-way star.
Ohtani’s hitting prowess has already been well-documented — he has a lifetime .286/.358/.500 batting line from NPB and crushed a batting practice home run during his initial workouts with the team this week — but his skills on the basepaths have received less attention so far. MLB Pipeline describes the 23-year-old phenom as a “well-above average runner” whose speed has yet to manifest stolen bases: he’s nabbed just 13 bases in 17 chances over the last five years. That’s a number Scioscia hopes to see increased this season, though he doesn’t want his ace pitcher making any head-first slides on the basepaths to do so.
To be sure, it’s an unorthodox role for any young player to step into, but if anyone can pull it off, Ohtani can.