Bradley and Burrell sign

By Jason Wojciechowski on January 6, 2009 at 3:48 PM

A couple of big signings today in Lee Sinins' email. First, Milton Bradley to the Cubs for three years, $30 million. This is a terrible deal for the Cubs, mainly because they don't get to use a DH. Even DHing 97 times last year, Bradley was only able to get on the field for 126 games. That's his highest total since 2004, and his second highest career total. Three years of guaranteed money to an injury-prone guy just strikes me as a poor allocation of resources, even if he is a great hitter. Bradley certainly had a great year in 2008, but he hit .321: this brings his career average up to .280. If you lop 40 points of batting average off, he's a .395/.523 OBP/SLG hitter. That's still an excellent hitter, one of the best in the game: but is it a hitter you pay $10 million to for 300 games over three years (at best)? Especially when you're paying for his age 31-33 seasons, when his hitting is likely to decline a bit anyway?

Pat Burrell got two years and $16 million from the Rays, which strikes me as a much better deal. Burrell will DH for the Rays, negating the fact that his glove might chop two wins off his value as a hitter, even in left field. As has been written elsewhere, Burrell is a fantastically consistent hitter: for the last four years, he's had an OPS+ of 128, 122, 127, and 125. He'll be 32 and 33 during the contract, which is certainly the beginning of the decline phase, but it's only the first two years of it: the Rays didn't go crazy and give Burrell and a four-year deal or anything. Even if you're pessimistic and you figure Burrell puts up a 120 and a 115 OPS+ in his two years in Tampa, this deal looks excellent.