The final issue Grant raises, though, is one that I've been thinking about, and I wanted to speak to:
4. Entitlement: Manager Ron Washington has taken "the Era of Entitlement is over," as his official motto. It means nothing is given, all is earned when it comes to playing time and overall treatment. It's a very noble point of view. But for it to work, the players must feel like management isn't enabling players to feel entitled. And the extra attention, cajoling, defending and excuse-making for Bradley qualifies as special treatment. The Rangers got rid of Sidney Ponson and Vicente Padilla because, despite solid performances, they were considered bad teammates. The pervading thought in the clubhouse is that despite the players strongest efforts to welcome and embrace Bradley, he ultimately was a bad teammate. If you want to send the message that the club is about a certain standard, re-acquiring Bradley would send exactly the wrong message. And it would be wrong for Ron Washington to believe that he was able to "handle" Bradley. Ultimately, it was Bradley who used the Rangers and Washington, taking advantage of the club's eagerness to make him feel comfortable and playing whenever he wanted to.
I agree with Grant here. And while I would like to see Milton Bradley back here, at the right price, I would also want him back here with the understanding that what happened in 2008, in terms of him dictating when he's going to play and when he isn't, won't happen again.
About 15 years ago, there was a lot of friction with the Rangers because Julio Franco and Jose Canseco were pretty much day to day for half the season, and got to make the call themselves about when they'd be in the lineup and when they weren't. No one ever had any idea who was going to be in the lineup or if they were going to declare themselves "fit," and finally, Kevin Kennedy (I believe it was) had to simply say, either you are playing every day or you are going on the d.l. Canseco decided to play, Franco had surgery, and life went on.
I'd like Bradley here as the regular DH, and I say that knowing that you are probably only getting 120-130 games from him. But I also want him here with the understanding that he's not going to dictate when he feels like playing and when he doesn't, and he's not going to rest the weekend before the All Star Game so he can feel good enough to play in the All Star Game.
Either he's healthy, or he's not. If he's banged up and needs an occasional day off, that's one thing...but if he's going to be out three days in a row, he can go to the d.l. and Justin Smoak or Max Ramirez or Brandon Boggs can come up and take his roster spot. If he's going to play 4 games out of 8, he is going to the d.l., rather than hold the team and the lineup hostage.
And if Bradley understands that, will accept that and not complain about that, then yes, he can come on board. The risk you run is that he says he's going to be on board, and then when it is mid-June and he's not feeling like playing every day, but he's decided it is a point of pride not to go on the d.l., are you going to have issues?
If you could bring in Bradley as your every day DH, have Garrett Atkins on a one year deal as a 4C guy (assuming Clint Hurdle thinks he can get him back on track) so you've got an option at third base if something happens to Michael Young and a righty bat to spell Chris Davis at first base against some lefties, and then Taylor Teagarden, Omar Vizquel, and David Murphy rounding out the bench, I'd feel okay about that.
But there has to be the understanding that there isn't a separate set of rules for Milton Bradley.