Thursday, February 12, 2009

Jim Hendry Got Fleeced By Milton Bradley (UPDATE: Or Maybe He Didn't)

NQTC reader Ethan pointed out to me this morning that perhaps the Bradley signing was a bit premature in light of the recent contracts that have been given out. In the last week, Adam Dunn signed for 2 years and $10 million dollars, while Abreu signed for 1 year and $5 million dollars. Early in the free agent period, however, Hendry signed Bradley to a 3 year deal for $30 million dollars!! Is he that much better than those other two, or did Hendry just misjudge the market? It seems pretty apparent that he did.

Looking at the career numbers of the 3 outfielders, they are very similar in terms of production:

Adam Dunn--- AVG: .247 OBP: .381 SLG: .518
Bobby Abreu--- AVG: .300 OBP: .405 SLG: .498
Milton Bradley--- AVG: .280 OBP: .370 SLG: .457

If anything, those players have far better career numbers than Bradley. That doesn't even take injuries or age into account either. Abreu is 34, but that hardly matters in terms of his contract since it is only 1 year and not a long-term commitment. Adam Dunn is actually 29, a year younger than Bradley at 30. Both Dunn and Abreu have been considerably healthier during their careers than the fragile Bradley as well.

I'm not trying to say that Bradley will be bad or that he was a bad acquisition. It just seems that with all the salary jockeying the Cubs have been doing, this deal to Bradley is unnecessarily expensive. Hendry clearly misjudged the market for free agent outfielders. It is easy to say that in hindsight, the market was way lower than Hendry had thought. But looking at all the factors, there were a bunch of decent quality outfielders available and not a lot of teams out there looking. Is the difference between Bradley's actual contract and what the market would have afforded him today what handcuffed Hendry on the Peavy deal? We will never know, but right now it looks like our ne'er do wrong GM may have made a bad miscalculation.

***UPDATE: A few things have been brought to my attention in the last couple hours since making this post. Thanks to NQTC reader Gavin, who pointed out a few things in the comments and a few things to me directly. Looks like I was wrong about Hendry being fleeced:
Phillies signed Raul Ibanez - 3 years, $31.5 million on 12/19/08.

Tampa Bay singed Pat Burrell - 2 years, $16 million on 01/08/09.

The Cubs signed Bradley officially on 01/27/09. So it's not as if they went completely out of the range for outfielder's this offseason. It doesn't appear that there were that many high-level OF's out there this off-season but once these guys were signed before Bradley, I'm surprised the Cubs didn't try to play Bradley, Dunn and Abreu off each other to at least make Bradley think they could go elsewhere to get a left handed bat.
Also, it appears that the Dunn deal was actually for 2 years and $20 million dollars. This is what I get for doubting Hendry.

9 comments:

Gavin said...

Phillies signed Raul Ibanez - 3 years, $31.5 million on 12/19/08.

Tampa Bay singed Pat Burrell - 2 years, $16 million on 01/08/09.

The Cubs signed Bradley officially on 01/27/09. So it's not as if they went completely out of the range for outfielder's this offseason. It doesn't appear that there were that many high-level OF's out there this off-season but once these guys were signed before Bradley, I'm surprised the Cubs didn't try to play Bradley, Dunn and Abreu off each other to at least make Bradley think they could go elsewhere to get a left handed bat.

Stormin' Norman Disciple said...

Good point, I forgot about those guys. If anything that just shows that the Phillies and Rays got fleeced just as bad as the Cubs did though.

Gavin said...

And the Nationals just announced that Dunn was paid $20 million for 2 years according to an article on Yahoo. So the only real deal in that batch looks to be Abreu.

real stadiums have roofs said...

when suppan's contract expires in 2010, i am totally commenting on this post

Ethan Samson said...

this is the worst article i've ever read

Stormin' Norman Disciple said...

@Ethan: This post is your fault entirely. You are NQTC's worst reader. I should ban you from the site. Boom roasted.

Bitternutz said...

The reason that the Bradley contract is so atrocious is that Bradley is basically an injury prone DH that got a 3 year deal to play the outfield. All of the other outfielders mentioned have been able to stay in the lineup while playing the field. Bradley has never been reliable and even last season could barely stay healthy as a DH and now he is in the NL and will have to play the field. Based on Bradley's past performance, the Cubs will be lucky to get 300 games total (essentially 2 seasons worth of games) out of Bradley during the contract. It is probably more accurate too look at Bradley's contract as a $30 million for 2 years because there is no way he averages more than a hundred games a year ($15 million a year). Outside of the Ibanez deal (which was atrocious by any standard) Bradley's is by far the worst,

Stormin' Norman Disciple said...

@Bitternutz: So....you're a Sox fan right? Just curious. Try to be a little more objective my friend.

Matt Clapp said...

Abreu wanted 3 years and 15 mil per at that time too. We couldn't have predicted the market would be quite like this. Hendry made Bradley his #1 priority, and there were a couple other teams rumored to be trying to sign him at about the same price at the time. If he waited, Bradley would've signed elsewhere.

Also, Abreu's hit only 12 homers in 604 at bats over the last 2 seasons away from Yankee Stadium and the 314 foot RF line. He'll also be 35 when the season starts and his defense is declining.

It stinks we had to spend that much, but it's just hard to blame Hendry for it. It seemed like a very fair price at the time, and remember Bradley won't make that much money if he spends 75 days on the DL I believe it was(which he does a lot)

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