|Bradford, 33, remains one of the toughest relievers in the business on righthanded batters. In an 11-year career, he’s limited same-siders to .240/.278/.300 averages in 1,295 at-bats, thanks to an underhanded arm angle that produces fastballs and sliders that live in the bottom half of the strike zone. The White Sox selected Bradford from Southern Mississippi in the 13th round of the 1996 draft, but he would make his mark with the Athletics, to whom he was traded for Miguel Olivo in December 2000. He had four productive seasons in Oakland from 2001 to 2004 and even was profiled in a chapter of Michael Lewis’ 2003 book “Moneyball.” Bradford also played for the Red Sox and Mets prior to signing his three-year, $10.5 million free agent deal with the Orioles following the 2006 season, and he’s under contract for 2009 at $3.5 million. He went 3-3, 2.45 in 47 games for Baltimore, with 13 strikeouts, seven walks and two home runs in 40 1/3 innings. More vitally, he boasted a 3.7 ground-to-fly out ratio with the Orioles and had induced 10 double plays.
|Led by Troy Percival, Dan Wheeler, J.P. Howell and Grant Balfour, the Rays’ bullpen has been transformed from the worst in baseball history last season to one of the game’s finest this year. And by adding Bradford, Tampa Bay gets an effective, tested option to throw at the opposition’s best righthanded batters.