by Joshua Worley
It's not official as I write this, but it's going to happen according to this article. The Padres are going to acquire Milton Bradley from the A's for a minor league pitcher. I'm guessing it's not a top-level pitching prospect, since the A's seem to have very little leverage here. I assume Kevin Towers asked Paul DePodesta what he knew about Bradley from his time as Dodger GM, and that this influenced the decision to go ahead with the trade.
If Bradley can play up to his potential, he'd become the best hitting outfielder on the Padres. Brian Giles is coming back from injury this weekend, but he's been really mediocre this season, producing about what a gimpy Rafael Furcal has produced with the Dodgers. Center fielder Mike Cameron has hit a lot better since his awful start, but at this point in their careers I think Bradley at his best is better. With Giles out, the Padres were going with a combination of Branyan, Cruz, and Sledge at the corner spots with an occasional helping of Bocachica. The first three were doing better than I thought, all with OPS's above 0.700, but Bradley will be a definite upgrade over them. If Bradley stays healthy the Padre offense will be better than it is now.
This seems like a no-risk move for the Padres. All it costs them if it doesn't work out is likely Hiram Bocachica's roster spot and probably a low-level pitching prospect. If it works out, they get a significant upgrade in the outfield. This move seems like bad news for Dodger fans.
I don't know if Bradley is healthy enough at the moment to play in the series against the Dodgers this weekend. He apparently injured his oblique muscle in his last at bat with the A's, which is what scuttled the deal to send him to Kansas City. I doubt the Padres know for sure yet either if he can play! In my experience watching baseball, oblique injuries are hard to predict and temperamental, much like Bradley. It's a fascinating development coming into this big June series.