Milton Bradley Is Staying Put, For Now

Cubs GM says Bradley trade isn't in the works

It's been a rough year for Milton Bradley. Cubs fans were probably never completely sold on the notion of getting rid of Mark DeRosa -- a useful utility outfielder and one of those easy-to-like baseball guys -- in favor of an occasionally surly, oft-injured and streaky Bradley. Bradley's talent is undeniable; his peripherals, not so much.

Bradley had a hostile audience to win over. In four months, he has not done so. Not at all. Instead, he's been almost comically bad, seemingly working on a new swing every week. When Lou Piniella descends from his perch to spend some time in the batting cage, as he did last week, you know things are getting bad.

And now come the trade rumors. The current rumor is that Detroit is interested in acquiring Bradley, and that Jim Hendry is interested in trading the player if the return is reasonable. Today Hendry is doing his best to dispel such rumors, and his case is pretty convincing:

Hendry said Tuesday he usually laughs such rumors off, but added: "I think it's unfair to the player, and in this case obviously there wasn't anything to it, and we're finally getting a little better, starting to swing the bats a little better. Milton certainly right-handed is swinging well, and working like heck to get better left-handed. He has played very well in the outfield. He has stayed healthier than most people gave him credit for. All someone has to do is pick up a telephone and call.

"I'll never give out information the world doesn't need to know, but I wouldn't deny it if it was true. ... I never had any talks with anyone about Milton."

Like we said: convincing. What's less convincing is whether or not Bradley is going to turn what has been a disaster of a first half into something productive. And if he does figure out his swing, there's no guarantee he'll stay healthy enough for his time to be productive. On its face, maybe trading Bradley isn't such a bad idea.

But when you consider how low his stock must be, a trade probably is a very bad idea for the Cubs. Why trade Bradley now, when he has no value, and right when he could begin to get productive again?

Much better to take the risk and see what happens. If it doesn't work out, at least you had the chance. Few MLB players are as talented as Bradley. If it doesn't go well, Jim Hendry has to live with it. He's a big boy. He can live with this decision a few months more.

Eamonn Brennan is a Chicago-based writer, editor and blogger. You can also read him at Yahoo! Sports, Mouthpiece Sports Blog, and Inside The Hall, or at his personal site, Follow him on Twitter.

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