Tuesday, July 08, 2008

A sweet interview

with ... Milton Bradley?!

Milton Bradley brings needed emotional edge into the Texas Rangers dugout.

Signing him long term would, by one method of calculation, add millions of $ of unnecessary payroll. Future Rangers line-ups will have Chris Davis at clean-up hitter. Further down the order, where Milton Bradley might hit, those line-ups could replace Bradley with either David Murphy, or Brandon Boggs, or longer shots Nelson Cruz or John Mayberry, Jr. Such replacements would hit effectively, and would do so at a fraction of Milton Bradley's cost.

And yet: Milton Bradley is worth it precisely b/c of the daily emotional edge he brings to the dugout. He's worth it precisely b/c of the traits which make him somewhat unstable, irrational, and dangerous. Every team needs a bit of internal, irrational emotion to push them to their best. Look at Michael Irvin: irrational, emotional, much needed by his team. Oddly enough, Milton Bradley's irrationality is worth extra $ to this Rangers team. The main Rangers are quiet personalities: Young, Kinsler, Chris Davis, Saltalamacchia(?), Max Ramirez, Murphy, Boggs(?), Josh Hamilton. They could use an emotional teammate.

And the team needs Milton Bradley for more than his irrationality. Milton Bradley dominates his own strike zone like few hitters. This is a trait which you need in Playoff and World Series games. A team might get a huge, monstrous regular season from a Nelson Cruz. Cruz' statistics might solidly outdistance Milton Bradley's statistics. However, when Carlos Zambrano toes the rubber in a World Series game: you want Milton Bradley in that batters box. You need Milton Bradley in that batters box. Against the best pitching, under the brightest lights, you need hitters with dominant discrimination regarding their strike zone. It's not even a close call.

Is it worth an extra $8M+ per year (over replacement cost) for regular season emotional edge + post-season excellence? Yeah. It is.

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