May 09, 2011
Has the last team rolled its die on the chance that the troublemaker in question can be productive between episodic temper tantrums?
Are sportswriters everywhere lamenting the possible loss of opportunities to write about bad behavior while making easy references to board games?
Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times reports that Bradley and Ryan Langerhans(notes) were DFA'ed to make room on the roster for Carlos Peguero(notes) and Mike Wilson(notes). In the case of Bradley, it wasn't a hard move to see coming as both Baker and USS Mariner's Dave Cameron called for this move after a weekend that saw the slumping Bradley get booted from another game on Friday night and limit the team's chances to win by shortening the bench.
Simply put, Bradley's offensive production has withered to the point where his bat can no longer serve as his get-out-of-jail-free card. Since the Mariners and Chicago Cubs swapped one problem contract (Carlos Silva(notes)) for another (Bradley) two offseasons ago, the mercurial outfielder/designated hitter hasn't contributed in any positive way. Through 101 games with the Mariners, Bradley hit .209/.298./.351 with 10 homers and 42 RBIs.
The only place where Bradley's production hasn't dropped is the category of being a jerk. Whether it was giving Rangers fans the finger, leaving the stadium during a game or being tossed from one (and suspended for another) after yelling at an umpire after an RBI double, Bradley did his best to show why he wore out his welcome with seven other teams. With the Mariners set to start breaking in their youngsters like Dustin Ackley(notes) later this season, Seattle could no longer justify his stormy presence.
Will Bradley get another shot elsewhere? His bat would come cheap as the M's are on the hook for the rest of his $10 million salary this season. He's also still only 33 years old.
But given the headaches he brings to a clubhouse and the fact he's been far from an above-average hitter the past few years, it's hard to see anyone willingly accepting Bradley's problems. I'm hesitant to say that baseball has finally learned its lesson, given that teams would again be lined up for his services if Bradley had anything to offer. But at least the sport may finally be free from shamelessly groveling at the feet of someone who never appreciated all the opportunities and second chances he's been given.