The Chicago Cubs finished out 2008 by trading super-sub Mark DeRosa to the Cleveland Indians for three minor league pitchers and signed former St. Louis Cardinal, Aaron Miles, to replace him. Miles’ deal is a 2 year agreement reportedly worth $4.9 million. Along with the three young hurlers, right-handed closer Jeff Stevens, right-hander Chris Archer and south-paw John Gaub, the Cubs gained more payroll flexibility for next year with DeRosa due $5.5 million next year.
That payroll, along with the savings from trading starting pitcher Jason Marquis, was used, as expected to ink the switch-hitting outfielder, Milton Bradley to a 3 year deal worth $30 million. The deal is still contingent on Bradley passing a physical, which given his history of injuries is no small matter. I would expect the deal to be completed barring some major health related red flags, and the Ken Rosenthall is reporting that the Cubs plan to use Bradley primarily in right field, spelling him occasionally with Kosuke Fukudome. Despite Bradley’s injury riddled past, the 30 year old should provide the power the Cubs had been looking for this offseason.
Bradley smacked 22 home runs last year, dividing them evenly between the left and right sides of the plate, driving in 77 runs with an average of .321 in 126 games last year for the Texas Rangers. The Cubs had long been reported to be seeking a left handed bat for the outfield and with his switch hitting abilities, Bradley fit the mold perfectly.
Over the course of a week the Cubs will have replaced Marquis and DeRosa with 3 minor league pitchers, Luis Vizcaino, Aaron Miles, Milton Bradley, and about $24.5 million in debt payed out over the next three years. While the DeRosa to Miles switch is likely a step backwards, it’s tough not to like the Cubs flury of moves. Assuming Bradley can stay healthy (which might prove to be a big assumption) the holiday season of 2008 will have been a VERY productive one for Cubs GM Jim Hendry.