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.

MLB executive: Bruce Maxwell’s kneeling may keep him from finding work, not his arrest

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In September 2017, former Athletics catcher Bruce Maxwell became the first major league player to kneel during the national anthem, joining the handfuls of NFL players who had been doing the same to protest police brutality and racial inequality. Maxwell’s effort was laudable, but he got into trouble a month later when he was arrested for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and disorderly conduct. Maxwell allegedly pointed a gun at a food delivery person.

Maxwell, 27, played sparingly for the Athletics in 2018 and then was designated for assignment at the beginning of September. He officially became a free agent on November 2 and has had trouble finding work in the month-plus since.

Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that Maxwell fired his agent, Matt Sosnick on Thursday because he’s still jobless. According to an unnamed MLB executive Slusser spoke to, “It’s the kneeling thing that might keep him from getting another job, not the arrest. Owners aren’t going to want to deal with that whole anthem issue.”

That makes a lot of since since abusive players haven’t had too much trouble finding new work otherwise. Addison Russell, Jeurys Familia, and José Reyes, among others have either stayed with their teams or quickly found new work. Given the relatively weak catching market, had Maxwell only had the assault charge, there is no doubt he would have been signed to be a backup catcher somewhere.

In the NFL, Colin Kaepernick — who popularized kneeling during the anthem — has remained unsigned even though teams have opted to sign and start clearly inferior quarterbacks like Mark Sanchez, Josh McCown, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Jay Cutler, Matt Barkley, and Sam Bradford, among many others. Team owners tend to run conservative in terms of politics, so they may not like the protest to begin with, then there is the public blowback to signing such a player as those who dislike such protesting make up a slight majority in the U.S., according to various polls including one done by the Washington Post.

It’s worth noting that Maxwell has a career .240/.314/.347 triple-slash line in 412 plate appearances. We’re not talking about J.T. Realmuto or Buster Posey here. That being said, there have been 15 other catchers to have put up a lower aggregate OPS since 2016 (min. 400 PA). One of those players, Derek Norris (.600 OPS since 2016), signed a minor league contract with the Tigers just three months after being suspended by Major League Baseball for violating its domestic violence policy. Makes you think.