Some of you have admirable blind faith in second-year general manager Jack Zduriencik. Others believe veteran slugger Ken Griffey Jr.(notes) can double as an anger management therapist. Seattle, you say, will become Milton's paradise found.
Some had memories of incidents involving Bradley, one of the most complex, vexing and ultimately captivating players in the game. Others think he is destined to cause problems because that's the way he's "wired."
My responses are in italics.
Obviously Steve, you do not believe in giving Bradley the benefit of the doubt. You should be aware that this is Seattle and not Chicago. We have the nicest fans in the country, in all sports. It also seems to me that a lot of problems with players start with negative questions from writers. You and yours are always looking to stir the pot.
Port Angeles, Wash.
My first pot-stirring occurred while covering the Dodgers for the L.A. Times in 2005. Bradley "won" the position the first week of spring training by informing J.D. Drew(notes), who had signed as a free agent with the intention of playing center, that he, Bradley, would play center and Drew would play right field. The deferential Drew didn't put up a fight. Manager Jim Tracy, who expected Bradley and Drew to compete for center field throughout the spring, learned of their agreement from me. Many injuries later (Bradley has been on the disabled list 12 times), Bradley can't play center field every day, so this scenario shouldn't repeat itself.
I completely disagree with your take on the Mariners acquisition of Milton Bradley. He is certainly a risk and a head case. However, he has the potential to have at least one good season before he goes into complete meltdown.
Salt Lake City
Now there is a ringing endorsement.
Steve, I just read your column on the Mariners' signing of Milton Bradley. Amen. I cannot for the life of me understand what would compel the organization to risk recklessly all that they have accomplished this offseason. It's amazing what hubris can do, and you nailed it – it's just a matter of time before Bradley corrupts the entire season.
I was once at a Phillies game when Bradley was on the Padres and he was playing in left field and I was in the bleachers behind him. His reputation preceded him and some guys next to me were mocking and jeering to try and instigate him (as it's been proven time after time is easy to do). Bradley fired back insults between pitches and eventually held a middle finger behind his head to the stands so he wouldn't be caught flipping them off on camera. I don't think you could cool this guy off even if you sent him to Alaska.
Sadly, Bradley's reputation precedes him at every visiting ballpark and fans jump all over him. It's appalling and unfair, but only reinforces his me-against-the-world mentality.
The M's would have been paying Silva 12 million dollars to sit on the bench or buried him on the 60-day DL with back spasms. Bradley may or may not behave. History is working against him, but he doesn't have to do much to be more valuable then Silva. If he is a problem they cut him and eat the salary, which is what they were going to have to do with Silva anyway.
It was instant addition by subtraction since the pseudopodic form known as Carlos Silva wasn't doing anything for the M's. In the business world, Silva was what is called a "sunk cost." That money had disappeared into a black hole and was never going to be seen again, and no return on the "investment" was at hand. The M's were looking for ways to dump him.
Pseudopodic, derived from pseudopodia, literally means "fake feet" and is generally associated with the odd manner in which an amoeba propels itself forward. In other words, Silva is a shapeless blob with no discernable limbs. A perfect description! Well done, Jared.
Although Silva is a useless, overpaid zero of a pitcher, he was too irrelevant to be disruptive. An amoeba can't sink a ship. Bradley can.
I understand that one should be apprehensive of Seattle's acquisition of Bradley, but I think you underestimate Jack Zduriencik. The man has not made a mistake since taking over as GM. As a Mariners fan, I too am scared about what Bradley could do to a team on the rise; he's obviously a head case. However, I think in a place like Seattle, on a team that is going (or at the very least, should) to compete at a high level and could push for a deep playoff run, you have to give Bradley the benefit of the doubt.
The Mariners are Bradley's eighth team and seventh in nine seasons. He's been on good teams and bad. He's had teammates and managers of every stripe. My conclusions are based on many years of close observation and nothing more, but I'll stand by them: Bradley's temper problems are independent of environment and circumstance. Given time, they will resurface.
Imagine being Paul Depodesta. For the rest of his life, he's going to have to answer the question, "So, you thought Milton Bradley would be a good fit and Jim Tracy wouldn't. Could you please explain the thought process that went into making those decisions."
DePodesta, the Dodgers GM who traded for Bradley in 2004, was slow to recognize the depth of the outfielder's anger issues. But I can't fault DePodesta for acquiring him because it was so early in Bradley's career. Zduriencik, however, should have known better. Expecting continuous good behavior from Bradley now is nothing but wishful thinking.
Good call on Bradley: "It's all about brain chemistry." Honestly, it's about time someone associated with MLB – owners, GMs, scouts, players, the media – got it right. Just like some people are diabetic or arthritic, he's got some poorly hard-wired brain chemistry. It's hard to believe that as he's displayed this shortcoming for the better part of 15 professional seasons, I've never heard anyone just step up and say it. Give it until May 15, and Jack Z will concur.
I appreciated your likely accurate and insightful comment about Bradley's issue being one of brain chemistry. I know this is sports, a diversion from "real" life (which I appreciate), but it is refreshing when elements of commentary serve to educate about issues rather than demonize individuals. While Bradley may not be happy about your piece (irony abounds), including that comment was both helpful and important to those of us who deal with mental illness (our own or our loved ones). And there are quite a few folks affected by it.
Your article about Milton Bradley was great. Everything you said was true and it was well written. It's only a matter of time before he blows up. I always say some people are just 'wired' a certain way, and he is.
Steve, great article with regards to Milton Bradley and the mistake the Mariners are making. I disagree only based on the fact that the Mariners will simply release him and eat the contract if he becomes a problem. … The fact that Ken Griffey Jr. is one of the funniest, light-hearted and respected influences in the baseball world MAY loosen Bradley up and get him to have fun. Griffey has that effect on everyone in the clubhouse.
Your concerns are completely warranted, but I think the rational for this move is simple. Nobody owns a clubhouse like Ken Griffey Jr. and last year's turnaround in clubhouse attitude vs. the 2008 clubhouse was nothing short of miraculous.
Griffey is a future Hall of Famer. He isn't a babysitter and he isn't a therapist. Bradley has already said he has the utmost respect for Griffey, that he idolizes him. That's wonderful, but it won't keep Bradley from being Bradley. Releasing him after an incident would be an admission of failure for Seattle and likely mark Bradley's last chance in baseball.
Do you really put people down for their past mistakes? Do you see any good in those types of people? Sure, some of the things you say are true, but knowing what I know, as how I lived to be 64, is that people change. There is NOTHING to substantiate that Milt will be a hazard to the M's clubhouse or continuity. He can hit, he hits for some power, he can play left field, and until he actually does something detrimental, why nag at his past?
If Mr. Bradley plays well and carries himself like a pro, will you write an expose on how the invigorated leadership in Seattle made a bold and insightful trade? If Milton Bradley tears his shirt off and throws water bottles at the fans then your point was made, and well enough, but if he plays and acts like a pro he'll find a home here with the Seattle fans. Thanks for the article, it will be interesting to watch!
Keep your article on Bradley the M's handy, because you're probably going to have to admit you were wrong. I do say "probably," because he is at the turning point of his career, and with his talent, I think he is going to rise to the occasion. Merry Christmas!
Michael and Bill, here's hoping your faith is rewarded. Maybe Bradley has been misunderstood all along.
I was the Expos play-by-play announcer when Bradley arrived in the majors. As a rookie he used to wear a tee shirt under his baseball uniform with this caption: "Do I look like a [bleeping] people person to you?"
… on the other hand.
Winter meetings winners/losers
Granderson's contract is not so nice coming up. In two years he will be paid a whopping $18 million which goes along with the other bad contracts the Tigers have put together and that is the reason for trading him. He's a nice player but not at that cost.
Grand Blanc, Mich.
Granderson's left-handed power will be accentuated at Yankee Stadium and he will thrive in the biggest media market. I predict at least two productive seasons in pinstripes out of him.
The Brewers sign Randy Wolf(notes) for some much needed improvement to their starting rotation and sign LaTroy Hawkins(notes) to bolster the back end of the bullpen and you don't even mention them? Even if they overpaid a bit, you have to admit that they are a better team coming out of the meetings than they were going in. I see a potential five-win increase from just these moves.
Sorry I couldn't list all 30 teams as winners or losers. Yes, the Brewers added a reliable starter in Wolf and a reliable reliever in Hawkins, but they paid top dollar for pitchers getting a tad long in the tooth. Wolf and Hawkins are tremendous people that will make up for the loss of the relentlessly positive Mike Cameron(notes) in the clubhouse. Hopefully for the Brewers, their performance will be as marvelous as their personalities.
You are way off on the Baltimore Orioles. How can you consider them losers for picking up a veteran starter, which we needed, for a reliever and a Rule 5 pick? Especially considering we've endured 12 straight losing seasons; this is a smart move. I read this and actually assumed you have something personal against Kevin Millwood(notes), Andy MacPhail, the Baltimore Orioles or all of them.
I have nothing against Millwood or the O's. I merely pointed out that MacPhail's expectation that Millwood would be a good example for young pitchers is odd considering that Nolan Ryan felt the need to have a stern talk with Millwood about proper conditioning and work habits in Texas.
Hey, I have nothing against Milton Bradley, either. Despite my admittedly dire predictions, I sincerely hope he succeeds in Seattle. That would be the best story anybody could write.