The Padres have ridden their pitching to the top of the National League West, but their offense still could use some help. As a result, San Diego took a chance on volatile Milton Bradley, who was a key part of playoff teams with the Dodgers and the Athletics but wore out his welcome with both clubs. Oakland, which had designated Bradley for assignment before his lack of playing time would become an issue, accepted Triple-A righthander Andrew Brown in return for Bradley on Friday. The A’s also will contribute $1.36 million toward the remainder of Bradley’s 2007 salary.
The Big Leaguers
Bradley, 29, immediately went on the disabled list with the Padres because of an oblique injury San Diego understood he had when it completed the deal. The same injury scratched a potential trade with the Royals last week that would have sent Leo Nunez to the A’s. Previous injuries to his wrist, hamstring and calf have limited Bradley to 19 games this year, in which he has hit .292/.373/.446 with two homers and seven RBIs. Physical woes and his temper have held Bradley back, but when he’s healthy and happy he’s a five-tool player capable of hitting for average with some power, speed and on-base skills, and he also can play a solid center field. How healthy and happy he’ll be with the Padres remains to be seen. He’s on a one-year, $4 million contract. Bradley is a career .271/.354/.430 with 70 homers, 292 RBIs and 66 steals in 649 games.
Brown, 26, originally signed with the Braves as a 1999 sixth-round pick out of a Florida high school. His biggest claim to fame is that he has been involved in two trades for Bradley as well as deals for Gary Sheffield and Josh Barfield. Though Brown has a strong arm capable of producing mid-90s fastball and hard sliders, he hasn’t been able to make the final jump to the majors. He posted a 3.60 ERA in nine appearances with the Indians last year, but his command was found lacking. He has spent all of 2007 at Triple-A Portland, going 2-3, 2.95 in 33 games. He had a 44-15 K-BB ratio, .201 opponent average and four homers allowed in 37 innings.
The Padres invested little in Bradley, so they can turn him loose with no regrets if he doesn’t work out. If he does work out, he could provide a nice boost for their offense. The A’s had tired of Bradley, who joins his fifth team in seven seasons, and were willing to give him up for possible bullpen help.