7/21 Ibanez vs. Bradley

This past offseason, Raul Ibanez, Bobby Abreu and Milton Bradley were the three top left-handed hitting free agent outfielders available. Heading into Tuesday’s game, Ibanez had 25 homers, 68 RBIs and was batting .315. Bradley was hitting .239, including .201 from the left side, with six homers and 21 RBIs. He was not in the Cubs lineup on Tuesday as he continued to work on his swing in the cage with Lou Piniella.

It’s tough to predict if Ibanez would put up the same numbers he has now if he had signed with the Cubs, but he’s doing exactly what Piniella was looking for.

“The only thing I talked about last season,” Piniella said Tuesday, “was a need for a left-hand bat in a predominantly right-handed lineup who could hit the ball for power and drive in some runs. Look at our production last year, and it was mainly from the right side. We didn’t bring [Jim] Edmonds back and he hit quite a few home runs. We needed a left-hand bat, that’s it. That was what I mentioned, that we could use a nice productive left-hand bat in the middle of our right-hand hitting.”

Ibanez is playing left field for the Phillies. The Cubs are committed to Alfonso Soriano through 2014 in left. Could Ibanez have moved to right field?

“He’s probably better suited for left,” Piniella said of Ibanez. “Right field in Wrigley is not the easiest to play. It’s the sun field, it’s bigger dimensions, 353 down the line, it’s got that unorthodox dip out there.”

Then, Piniella paused.

“Look,” Piniella said, “we still need a left-hand bat who could hit in our lineup and drive in some runs.”

Bradley will be back in the Cubs’ lineup on Wednesday, and hopefully, more relaxed. Is it as simple as taking a deep breath?

“Yeah, get out of the box, take a nice breath and relax,” Piniella said. “What happens invariably is you create a little tension, and I’m not talking about Bradley in particular, but you start using your bigger muscles and you don’t get through the ball. It’s the same thing as when you play golf — the first thing they tell you is to hold the club nice and loose. When you hit the ball, that’s when you tighten up. It’s the same thing hitting a baseball.”

— Carrie Muskat


After reading this, again we ask, ‘what was Hendry thinking?’ when he signed Bradley. If you look at the numbers Ibanez and Abreu posted over the past five years it was a no-brainer to sign one of them and NOT Bradley. In RBI alone Bradley has no where near the numbers of the other two. Pinella said he needed a left-handed bat, Bradley’s left-handed numbers are poor at best. Throw in the fact that Bradley’s been known for years as being a head-case and any sane GM tries to get one of the other two. The left-field/right-field thing is not that big of an issue. If Hoff-power, an excellent first baseman, can play left field and make some awesome catches, I would think it wouldn’t be a huge stretch for Abreu to go to left, or Ibanez or Sorry to got to right (since we’re stuck with him anyway – thanks for reminding us about 2014, Carrie).

Hey I’m wondering if Hendry’s been helping the BlackHawks with some of their moves now, too. I don’t follow hockey, but doesn’t signing a guy for 12 years sound like a huge comittment and leave you open to… I don’t know someone who’d be almost impossible to unload should they go south? Now I hear the guys got some issue with a hand or something. If Hendry didn’t have anything to do with that deal, I’d have to say that whatever Hendry’s got is catching – and that’s not a good thing.

Right on Cubbeeblue. Amazing what Hendry is capable of doing with such a great payroll, mis-spend, mis-spend, mis-spend. Did he even bother to research Bradley’s history of left-handed stats vs. right handed stats? He signed Bradley to get more left-handed while both Ibanez and Abreu were available for less of a commitment. Unbelievable. Maybe a statue of Hendry should be erected instead with an inscription: “What was I thinking?” It might serve a better purpose for the next GM
(ahhh..that sounds good doesn’t it?) especially if it’s visible EVERY DAY FROM THE NEW GM’S OFFICE!!! (again, that sounds good, am I right?) DeRosa!…er…I mean Ibanez!!

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