Saturday, July 12, 2008

Milton Bradley Highlights Future Rangers Fire Sale

The Texas Rangers are trying to burn the candle at both ends -- pretending to compete for a playoff berth while at the same time planning to acquire prospects as proceeds from an anticipated fire sale to include outfielder Milton Bradley, pitchers Kevin Millwood, Vicente Padilla and others.

That's the perspective of Fort Worth Star-Telegram columnist Randy Galloway, who says unnamed sources both inside and outside the Rangers organization have hinted as such.

Bradley -- signed only through this year -- is having an outstanding year offensively, but Galloway cautions that his value is hurt by his difficult personality. So how do you market such an individual? Perhaps with comments like this:

"...People talk about his anger issues," says batting coach Rudy Jaramillo. "Well, he’s aiming that anger at pitchers. It’s an intensity that our other guys feed off of. In the clubhouse, or on the field, Milton is a leader for us, and I don’t care what his so-called reputation says. Our players love him. I love him."

As for Padilla, he can be dealt for a "boatload" of prospects because his value will never be higher in light of his career-best first half. But Galloway warns that the team should "never trade any pitcher with this kind of stuff and with age (he’s 30) not a factor."

Millwood's value is tarnished by his huge contract -- up to $23 million including incentives over the next two years --yet "there is interest from other teams," Galloway says.

Outfielder Marlon Byrd and catcher Gerald Laird fall into the "good things come in small packages" category, though Galloway predicts Byrd is more likely to stay with the Rangers as a valuable spare part.