Milton Bradley: A Good Fit?

Recently there’s been some talk of a potential deal between the Marlins and the Chicago Cubs involving local pariahs  Jeremy Hermida and Milton Bradley. I don’t know where this rumor got started, but the first I’d heard of it is from Maniac reader Stan Makowski.

Here is one totally off the wall. It makes two assumptions. #1 that Hermida has no future as a Marlin. #2 The Cubs would do anything to unload Milton Bradley including eat most of his salary. If these two assumptions are realistic, I’d trade Hermida for Bradley in a flash as long as there was little financial gamble. The fans can’t get on him in Florida…there aren’t any!

Then recently I read this from MLB Daily Dish.

The Cubs would have to eat almost his entire salary, but they could contact Florida about a possible Milton Bradley-for-Jeremy Hermida swap. Hermida, who is arbitration eligible, has been somewhat of a disappointment in his early career. Throwing him in the right field mix against Jake Fox, Reed Johnson, and possibly Tyler Colvin could salvage some of the potential that once followed him.

With the potential interest in a Bradley-for-Hermida swap, I decided to take a look at the possibility and the value we would receive in such a trade.


Maybe in a Florida uniform, Milton Bradley's production won't end up like this.

Before we get started, I’d like to reiterate the importance of the Cubs eating Bradley’s contract; the Marlins would be unwilling to part with anyone if they’re going to take on more salary, especially with a player like Hermida that, despite his constant troubles, still provides the promise of a young former top prospect. That being said, there is likely some flexibility in this; I would not be surprised if the Marlins were willing to take on Bradley’s salary up to the value that Hermida is being paid this season. There are two years and $21M remaining in the three year, $30M deal that Bradley signed this offseason, so for the Marlins to agree to a trade, the Cubs would have to eat some $16.5M over the course of two seasons for the Marlins to accept a deal.

With those parameters in mind, let’s evaluate Milton Bradley’s worth to the Marlins. In this scenario the Marlins would pay $2.25M each of the next few seasons for Bradley’s production. According to StatCorner, Bradley posted a .346 park-adjusted wOBA on the season. Taking a four-year sample of his park-adjusted wOBA’s for that time period and regressing with 220 PA of league average for the following year (for StatCorner data, I’m taking it as .332), I get a projected wOBA of .376. Given Bradley’s injury history, it’s likely he isn’t going to last long in the field, so I’m going to give him a total of 450 PA, a total he’s reached only four times during career. This gives him a park-adjusted wRAA of 17.3 runs.

Bradley was once a decent defensive corner outfielder, but injuries such as the knee injury he has suffered through this season have taken a toll on his outfield play. Still, he appears nowadays to be around an average to slightly below average outfielder at either corner, which is still leagues better than what Jeremy Hermida has shown. Giving him 115 games played in the outfield yields a value of 2.7 runs above average in the outfield. As you may recall, I projected Hermida to be worth -4.5 runs compared to the average fielder, which means that the addition on the defensive end is projected to yield 7.2 extra runs. Just food for thought.

For baserunning., I took Bradley’s EqBRR and simply averaged them for a given season, getting -2.6 runs. Finally, tacking on positional and replacement adjustments for the given playing time yields:

17.3 wRAA + 2.7 defensive runs – 2.6 EqBRR -5.3 positional adj. (Corner OF) + 15 replacement level adjustment  = 27 Runs above Replacement, or 2.7 WAR

That 2.7 WAR would be worth $12.15M on the open market, so the Marlins are gaining a surplus value of around $10M on Bradley’s contract. If we knock 0.5 WAR for Bradley the following year due to aging, you’d still have a surplus of over $7.5M on the final year of the contract. On the playing field, Bradley would be a great investment.

Bradley gets a lot of flak for being a supposed “clubhouse cancer.” Whatever his personality may be, I suppose the “gritty ones” are the ones to fix the situation. All the Marlins front office should care about is whether or not Bradley can produce for the team, and on the field he’s proven that he’s a solid player when healthy. I’m going to presume the “pressures of Chicago” effect will diminish coming down to South Florida, and that should even out his “clubhouse cancer” effect, making those intangibles even out (that way I don’t have to quantify the win totals for each). If so, the Marlins would have a nice stopgap for the next few seasons that can provide production until Mike Stanton is ready to take over in right field.

Tags: Chicago Cubs Jeremy Hermida Miami Marlins Milton Bradley

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