At the outset, I feel compelled to make this point: I am not advocating the Reds sign Milton Bradley. I don't think the Reds want him, and I don't think he wants to play for a team like Cincinnati. Frankly, I think the Reds have a better chance of getting Milton Berle to come back from the dead and play CF.
Having said that, the mere fact that Milton Bradley isn't the best fit for this team doesn't mean that Juan Rivera is. Quite the opposite, in fact.
HOME: .358 / .466 / .679
ROAD: .290 / .410 / .462
Home in Arlington was very, very good to Milton Bradley -- but he wasn't a total slouch on the Road either. His OBP remained over .400, it was his SLG that took a nose dive. He was still a .870+ OPS player on the road.
By comparison, Juan Rivera has had exactly 1 seasons where he has posted an OPS that high for the season.
They both have questions, but here is what they boil down to:While Rivera has some questions, so does Bradley. But for both it is difficult to look at only the recent history to project what might happen this year. And it is even more difficult to assess when you factor in likely committment you will need to make to both ballplayers.
MB will likely see a dip in production compared to 2008 where Rivera will likely see production rise over the same time period. The only question is whether the gap will close a little or a lot.
Bradley: Can he keep doing it?
Rivera: Can he do it?
I know which of those two questions I like a lot better.
I also don't see where you think Rivera will see a major production rise. He had one great year in 2006 after two so-so years. He's 30 years old, going to turn 31 mid-season, with at least one major injury in his past. While he's likely better than his line from '08, you have to wonder whether his improvement will be to his '05 or to his '06, somewhere in between, or someplace else. There's a huge range on Rivera, and that would give me pause before tendering a multi-year commitment to him.
When you add in the fact that he doesn't walk and draws all of his value from power and making contact, I think the risk greatly outweighs the possible reward. I don't want to be left holding the bag and hoping that a 31/32 year old Rivera can keep cranking out enough base hits to avoid being an out-machine on a guaranteed deal.
Neither player is "Buy, buy, buy" from me -- but Bradley is probably a normal "buy" and Rivera is a "sell, sell."If Bradley is "buy, buy, buy", as some might say, I can't see Rivera being the polar opposite.
I don't see a lot of good things in Rivera's profile, JMO.