Are the Rays really going to trade for Milton Bradley?

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There are no actual named sources tied to this article, so I have to assume it’s wishful thinking more than anything else, but the Chicago Sun-Times’ Chris De Luca is chattering about a potential Milton Bradley for Pat Burrell trade:

Sources say the Cubs have been pushing the Tampa Bay Rays for a quick deal . . . The Rays emerged as potential trade partners because they are looking to shed their own deal gone bad. After losing out on Bradley last winter, the Rays signed outfielder Pat Burrell to a two-year, $16 million contract.

De Luca hooks this all on the Rays being interested in Bradley last offseason. Of course, last offseason Bradley was coming off a high-production yet quiet off-the-field year in Texas.  Aside from the arguable matchup between the bad Burrell contract and the way worse Bradley contract, there’s no indication that the Rays are interested.

The Rays are run by some smart people, so I really can’t see them going for such a deal, even if the Cubs picked up the second year of Bradley’s deal, which they’d almost certainly have to in order to get past the laugh test.

But it’s fun to think about how the Cubs could rid themselves of Bradley.  I’m dubious of the Rays taking Bradleu on, but I think this theory — a challenge trade of one bad contract for another — is the only way it’s going to happen.

Matt Shepard to be the Tigers new full-time play-by-play guy

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Fox Sports Detroit has named Matt Shepard their new full-time play-by-play guy for Tigers games. Shepard will work with analysts Jack Morris and Kirk Gibson, who will split time.

This is the move in response to former longtime announcers Mario Impemba and Rod Allen getting suspended and later fired following an in-booth altercation in Chicago last September. The two of them, who weren’t exactly friends, reportedly fought over a chair, with conflicting reports of how serious the fight was. An anonymous witness said Allen put Impemba in a choke hold. Allen recently gave an interview in which he denied that and said it was only some pushing and shoving. Either way, it ended their 16-year team-up for Tigers games.

Shepard has worked for Fox Sports Detroit for nearly 20 years, doing fill-in play-by-play for the Tigers — he replaced Impemba for the last few weeks of last season — and for Detroit Pistons games. Gibson has been a part time analyst for the network for the past couple of seasons, splitting time with Allen. Morris has done Tigers, Blue Jays and Twins games over the years, sometimes even splitting time between the Twins and Tigers, which is rather unusual.

Shepard is pretty good at his job. While Tigers fans liked and were familiar with Impemba, there won’t be a falloff in quality. Gibson makes some good analytical points and has a surprisingly sharp and biting sense of humor about him, but his gruff and monotone delivery is not everyone’s cup of tea. You get used to it. Morris is not my cup of tea — he tends to do a lot of the “back in my day” stuff former players often do — but I’m pretty sure he could recite the dictionary on TV in Detroit and a lot of Tigers fans would tune in. Such is life.