It's not a done deal, but it looks to be all but set, as Chicago will be picking up a guy who last season was among the five most productive hitters in baseball. Bradley comes with obvious injury concerns, as he's averaged just 100 games a season since 2002, but when he's healthy enough to swing a bat, he's peaches. His .384 Marcel-projected wOBA is only two points lower than that of Mark Teixeira. Bottom line, he's going to hit.
By taking Bradley off the market, the Cubs are removing what may have been the easiest and best way for the Mariners to add a few wins in 2009 without making much of a sacrifice. Had the M's been able to, say, sign Bradley for three years to DH (at a reasonable price due to injury and attitude issues), they could have shifted Jeff Clement to a job-sharing role with both Bradley and Kenji Johjima, and in so doing made themselves two or three wins better without in any significant way impeding the rebuilding process. It would've been a good way to draw closer to the top of a mediocre division.
Instead, with Bradley all but gone, Zduriencik is left with a host of less desirable free agent alternatives, like Adam Dunn and Ken Griffey Jr. Manny and Pat Burrell might as well be in there, too, but for a number of reasons none of these four seems as ideal a match. Bradley was the guy I wanted. Who knows, though; maybe he didn't want to DH, in which case there was nothing we could've done. Still, as much as I didn't expect us to get involved, it's just a little bit of a bummer.
We'll see how Zduriencik goes about navigating the rest of the offseason. As things currently stand, I imagine Clement and maybe Balentien would get a good bit of time at DH, but I wouldn't put it past the front office to go hard after another bat. And if they're able to land one without making too big of a commitment, more power to them. There's no harm in trying to make this team better now provided you keep an eye towards the bigger picture, and if that's the path that Zduriencik intends to pursue, then even without Bradley, he has my trust. Because this is all we've wanted since Bavasi went away, and because I think he's earned it.