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November 10, 2009

GM meetings: Does this Milton Bradley thing have legs?

It appears as though the Rangers have more than just a passing interest in bringing back Milton Bradley. The Rangers and Cubs talked Monday about a trade for the outfielder, who has fallen out of favor in Chicago after some late-season comments got him suspended for the rest of the year.

The Rangers like what Bradley did offensively in 2008, but they don't like the contract that will pay him $20 million over the next two years. Any chance of Bradley playing in Arlington again hinges on how much the remaining contract the Cubs will pay. Half would give Bradley to the Rangers at $5 million a year, which is the base salary he was paid in 2008.

That would be a bargain if Bradley returns to the form that saw him blossom into an All-Star in 2008 thanks to a clubhouse atmosphere that made him feel comfortable. Bradley, though, said during spring training that he didn't play as hard as he could have in 2008 as he tried to protect his stats with free agency on the horizon. That didn't sit well with some Rangers decision-makers and even some players, and Bradley might have some PR work to do if he were to land back in Arlington.

Reports say the Cubs' No. 1 off-season priority is to ship Bradley out. This might become the story the Rangers are tied to throughout the off-season.

Others notes so far from the general managers' meetings:

<>The GMs met this morning and talked about instant replay, but only about the existing system. There was no talk about expanding the system despite an outpouring of support for more replays after several calls were missed during the playoffs. Making umpires better was discussed, though improvements would be rooted in training. A restructuring of the draft to include postseason performance was also discussed, as was the possibility of altering the Arizona Fall League so that it could include younger players.

<>Daniels broke from the morning round of meetings with Boston GM Theo Epstein. They seemed deep in talk, but I have a theory: It was a fake conversation designed to avoid being approached by the media throng that was awaiting the GMs.

<>The Rangers are tentatively scheduled to meet at some point today with the agents for free agent Marlon Byrd. The outfielder is represented by Sam and Seth Levinson, who also represents Nelson Cruz and Bradley.

<>The Rangers announced that Scott Feldman has been named their Pitcher of the Year in voting by the Dallas-Fort Worth chapter of the Baseball Writers Association of America. They also announced a series of hires in baseball operations. They are (deep breath): Scott Littlefield, special assistant, scouting; John Booher, professional scout; Greg Smith, major league scout; Matt Vinnola, director of baseball operations; Jake Krug, assistant director of player development; Phil Geisler, East Coast crosschecker; Todd Walther, professional scout; Matt Klotsche, assistant baseball, operations; Richard "Hoggy" Price, equipment and home clubhouse manager.

-- Jeff Wilson


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Please -- the road to a future playoff team does lie through an aging player who has personality issues. Forget M Bradley -- focus on resigning Byrd and getting the youngsters into the lineup!

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