Tampa Bay and Texas both appear to be interested in trading for outfielder Milton Bradley, but it may come down to how much money the Cubs are willing to pick up in order for general manager Jim Hendry to move him.
Bradley had his best season with the Rangers in 2008, when he led the American League in on-base percentage, hit 22 homers and drove in 77 runs.
A high-placed official said on Sunday that even though Bradley is the type of player the Rangers need in their lineup and they are familiar with him, they weren't sure they wanted to deal with that "headache" again and may be looking at him as a last resort.
Texas is looking for some bullpen help, which the Cubs could provide in a trade. However, the Rangers do not want the switch-hitting Bradley if the Cubs aren't willing to pick up a chunk of the $21 million owed him.
The Rays, apparently, feel the same way in regard to the money. They also like the idea of having someone like Bradley in the lineup. Last year, when Bradley was a free agent, Tampa Bay courted him, with executive vice president Andrew Friedman and manager Joe Maddon taking him to lunch to get a better read on him, according to the St. Petersburg (Fla.) Times.
"I would have no problems whatsoever if he became part of our organization," Maddon told the Times. "If that were to ever happen, I'm pretty sure we'd get along pretty well."
That casual lunch revealed a different side of Bradley, whose first year in Chicago ended with a 15-game suspension for detrimental conduct. Maddon had heard good things from Bud Black, who managed Bradley in San Diego in 2007.
"You get all this what you hear, what you see, and obviously, some of the things that he has done," Maddon told the Times. "Then you sit with him and you get a totally different perspective on him. ... I found him to be a bright, thoughtful, family-oriented kind of a guy. So I thought he was interesting."
The Rays would like to move outfielder Pat Burrell, who batted .221 with 14 homers and 64 RBIs in 122 games last season. The Cubs do want a right-handed hitter who can play right field against left-handers in place of Kosuke Fukudome, who was 9-for-55 against southpaws. Again, money could be a problem. Bradley is owed $9 million in 2010 and $12 million in 2011. Burrell is owed $9 million next year.
The third team talking to the Cubs about Bradley is believed to be the New York Mets, who would like to move second baseman Luis Castillo, who has two years, $12 million remaining on his contract. The Mets would like to add some pop to their lineup, and they were also believed to be talking to the Rays about Burrell.
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