Sat in on the conference call that Billy Beane had with reporters this afternoon to discuss the team’s decision to cut ties with Milton Bradley, and I can tell you this: I don’t take Billy Beane’s word entirely at face value.
Yes, I do believe that this move was created by a roster crunch that’s coming in the outfield. Travis Buck has proven more productive, Jack Cust more reliable and Shannon Stewart both. All of them are cheaper, as are Bobby Kielty, Chris Snelling and Bobby Kielty. So from that perspective, Beane is right when he says Bradley was the most logical move.
But when he says that this decision had absoutely nothing to do with Bradley’s presence inside the clubhouse or his injury history, I don’t bite. I’ll refer to one of Tony La Russa’s famous quotes about Rickey Henderson. La Russa basically said that the bigger a pain in the rump a player is, the better he ought to be on the field. Bradley was clearly no picnic, and his inability to get on the field and stay there made him not worth tolerating anymore.
I feel kind of bad for the guy, actually. Bradley is pleasant enough when you deal with him, and several A’s — Eric Chavez in particular — raved about him. Beane, for his part, told reporters that the description, “bad dude,” would never be one that would come out of his mouth.
The unfortunate part for Bradley is that the A’s may have represented his greatest chance to salvage something from his immense talent. Instead, it appears he will wind up as one of the greatest wasters of it.