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Why were the Rockies talking to Milton Bradley’s agents?

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If there was ever a more apparent mismatch between professional athlete and organization than Milton Bradley and the Colorado Rockies, I can't think of it.

That's why a tweet from Chicago Sun-Times baseball scribe Gordon Wittenmyer informing us that Rockies officials had met with Bradley's representatives on Wednesday afternoon caught so many people off guard.

Actually, the slightest implication of any organization having interest in Milton Bradley, who has spent the past few months facing domestic abuse allegations from his wife, would be pretty startling.

But of all teams, the Colorado Rockies? {YSP:MORE}

This is the organization that has prided itself on building with high character people following Denny Neagle's arrest for soliciting a prostitute back in 2004, and at one time — maybe still — wouldn't even allow a Maxim magazine to be present and didn't tolerate cussing in their clubhouse. Now they're talking to Milton Bradley's people? Really?

Granted, a lot of people saw their signing of Jason Giambi as a sign they were softening their stance on character guys (given his admitted steroid use), but he's a far cry from the person Bradley is, and has already become one of the most popular Rockies to date both on and off the field due to his honesty, wisdom and the occasional 450-foot bomb.

If you listen close enough, you may hear Troy Tulowitzki unleash a string of foul language while slamming his helmet to the ground in frustration. Heck, even manager Jim Tracy gets in the act occasionally uttering the word horse followed by a form of fertilizer during postgame media gatherings. At first that stunned Rockies fans to the point that Tracy's phrase became the most popular hashtag among them on Twitter.

The clubhouse rules have obviously loosened to some, likely very small degree, but it's difficult to imagine them ever changing enough to accommodate Milton Bradley. There isn't a desperate enough scenario I can envision that would make him a sensible fit on the field, either, but I guess you can never count anything out entirely.

As they currently stand, Colorado has depth in the outfield with Carlos Gonzalez, Dexter Fowler, Seth Smith, Ty Wigginton and Eric Young Jr. under contract, and Ryan Spilborghs still a possibility to return. Also in the mix are prospects Charlie Blackmon — hit .255 in 27 games last season before breaking his foot — and Tim Wheeler — 33 home runs at Double A Tulsa.

But the increasing likelihood they trade from that depth to add an infield bat like Martin Prado or a starting pitcher could put them in the market to add another cheap outfielder.

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I suppose that's when Bradley's name could potentially come up, but he would be low on the list of options. As in, if there's a plan lower than Z, that's probably what Bradley would be. However, given Colorado's lack of success in recent seasons executing their Plan A's, B's, C's, and even further down the line, it's important to open lines of communication with several players.

Rockies general manager Dan O'Dowd could end up linked to every second tier and lower free agent or trade candidate to become available this winter. That's just the process he'll have to go through on their tight budget and with so many important gaps to fill. He will have to make a lot of alternative plans to cover his bases and create flexibility, and will be exploring the bottom third of the barrel to fill out the depth chart.

That's not ideal, but that's reality.

So yes, it's a very remote possibility that conversation on Wednesday could be the Rockies further removing themselves from the 'nice guys with good character finish first' stance. It's also possible they were just doing their due diligence. But perhaps the most likely explanation is simply they were the only team kind enough to not tell Bradley's representation to take a walk when approached. Or they were talking to the Levinson brothers about other players they represent.

Whatever the case is, just hearing Bradley's name loosely connected to my beloved team is an uncomfortable and slightly embarrassing feeling. One I'm not sure I could wish on anyone that hasn't already experienced it.

Follow Mark on Twitter — @Townie813 — and engage the Stew on Facebook

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