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Tag:MIlton Bradley
Posted on: October 15, 2010 8:40 pm
 

Mariners hire a manager? Yawn

Who's the next manager of the Seattle Mariners in three or four seasons? Manny Acta?

For the second time in six years, the Mariners have dipped into the Cleveland discard pile to hire a skipper. Mike Hargrove in 2005, and Eric Wedge, according to several reports, on Friday.

Following a bitterly disappointing 2010 season, the Mariners could not have made a more uninspiring hire.

Last time anybody checked, the Indians weren't exactly overstocked with World Series-winning managers.

But it goes beyond what surely will be an avalanche of Cleveland jokes.

Wedge is a good teacher and a fine organizational person.

As a manager? His 2007 Indians team blew a 3-1 advantage to lose the ALCS to Boston, then they largely underachieved over the next two seasons. Which, much as he didn't want to, pretty much forced general manager Mark Shapiro's hand to fire him.

Wedge had his moments in Cleveland, but he never could get the Indians past that certain point. The roaring 93-65 season of 2005, when the Indians nearly overtook the White Sox in the AL Central, was followed with a crash-and-burn fourth-place finish in '06.

He comes across as uptight, and he's a zero as a personality. Which, is no small thing in today's game. The manager is the face of the organization. Hiring Bobby Valentine, now that would have given the Mariners personality.

Wedge just leaves them knee-deep in anonymity and, largely, irrelevant. And if they don't win, that will include in their own town.

(On another note, guess this means Milton Bradley does not fit into the Mariners' plans for 2011. The Indians were forced to trade him in 2004 after Wedge removed him from an exhibition game for not hustling and Bradley went ballistic. The volcanic explosion was spectacular, complete with Bradley dressing and leaving the ballpark during the game via cab ... even though his SUV was in the parking lot. He came back to retrieve it the next day).

Posted on: April 5, 2010 4:32 pm
 

Welcome to Chicago, Marlon Byrd

There was all kinds of talk this winter about the Cubs upgrading by landing Marlon Byrd and dispatching Milton Bradley to Seattle.

Well, funny how those things work.

For all the talk of chemistry, harmony and camaraderie, Byrd showed in the first inning in Atlanta on Monday how this upgrade could work by blasting a three-run homer against Derek Lowe.

And that's the bottom line: Forget the chemistry talk. If Byrd hits -- something Bradley didn't do last summer in Wrigley Field -- then it will be a huge upgrade.

If he doesn't, it won't matter if the Cubs' clubhouse is a happier place. Bottom line.

Meantime, Byrd becomes the first man to homer in his first at-bat as a Cub since Henry Rodriguez against Florida's Livan Hernandez on March 31, 1998.

I have a feeling he's won over Cubs fans already.

Posted on: December 18, 2009 2:54 pm
 

Cubs finally unload Milton Bradley

Pour the extra egg nog in Wrigley Field: The Chicago Cubs finally have unloaded troubled outfielder Milton Bradley, trading him to the Seattle Mariners for pitcher Carlos Silva. The Cubs also will receive $9 million in cash in the deal, an official with one of the teams involved told CBSSports.com.

The trade gives Seattle the productive outfield bat it's been searching for -- the Mariners were in on free agent Jason Bay, to a degree -- and boils down to an exchange of bad contracts.

Silva is due $25 million over the next two seasons and Bradley is owed $22 million.

Of the money the Cubs will receive, $3 million is to cover the difference between the two salaries. The other $6 million will be spread over two seasons, 2010 and 2011, and essentially provide the Cubs with salary relief of the Bradley/Silva contract (whichever way you want to view it).

The money will help the Cubs "fill in the cracks", as general manager Jim Hendry puts it, as they continue building their 2010 club and recover from a bitterly disappointing '09. The Cubs' chief priorities are to find a center fielder -- Marlon Byrd, a free agent who played with Texas last summer, is one of the possibilities -- and bullpen help.

The Cubs hoped the switch-hitting Bradley would do that last summer, but he got off to a bad start and never did recover. He was aloof, got into it with manager Lou Piniella, ripped the atmosphere surrounding the team (saying he could understand why the Cubs haven't won a World Series in more than 100 years) and essentially was kicked off of the team, with Hendry sending him home before the season ended. Bradley hit .257 with 12 homers and 40 RBIs in 124 games for the Cubs.

Silva, meanwhile, was a colossal disappointment after signing a four-year, $48 million deal with the Mariners as a free agent following the 2007 season. He won five games in two seasons with the Mariners, averaging a tidy $4.8 million per win. The Cubs will look at him both as a fifth starter candidate and as a long relief possibility.

As for Seattle, this is one more move in a busy offseason. The Mariners this week acquired ace left-hander Cliff Lee and earlier signed free agent third baseman Chone Figgins. Bradley is expected to play left field for the Mariners.

Under GM Jack Zduriencik, the Mariners have emphasized character in their clubhouse as well as talent on the field, and the hope is that veteran Ken Griffey Jr., Figgins and the rest will provide a good enough atmosphere and example that Bradley will behave.

As for Bay, his market appears to be rapidly dwindling. The Mets have made him an offer, but Boston and now Seattle appear to have cashed out on the 32-year-old free agent outfielder.

The domino effect of that probably extends to Matt Holliday, whose odds of returning to St. Louis seem better with each passing day this winter.

Posted on: December 9, 2009 6:23 pm
 

Notes on Johnny Damon and more

INDIANAPOLIS -- Where might outfielder Johnny Damon land if he and the Yankees can't get back together on a deal following New York's acquisition of Curtis Granderson? Here's one potential spot: San Francisco.

The Giants are looking to improve their offense and met this week with agent Scott Boras, who also represents third baseman Adrian Beltre, another potential fit with the Giants. Damon's bat certainly would compliment an ace rotation featuring Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain and Barry Zito well.

The Yankees remain interested in retaining Damon, though the acquisition of Granderson provides them with leverage to bring him back on their terms rather than on his -- or, at the very least, to meet on middle ground.

While announcing the three-way blockbuster trade with Detroit and Arizona that netted the Yankees Granderson on Wednesday, Yankees' general manager Brian Cashman said that the move does not necessarily preclude them from talking with Damon and free agent designated hitter Hideki Matsui.

"We're still fluid in our discussions right now," Cashman said. "It gives us comfort to know we have solved a big part of our offense. We have a great offense as it is, but when you have the potential of losing a Damon and Matsui ... with Granderson in mix, [it's like], 'All right, I've got certain things taken care of, it's not as bad as it was an hour before sitting at this podium."

-- Free agent third baseman Adrian Beltre expects to sign a multi-year deal, sources with knowledge of his thinking said Wednesday. Baltimore and San Francisco are among the interested teams.

-- Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski says he expects newly acquired outfielder Austin Jackson, from the Yankees as part of the Granderson trade, to break camp with the big league club next spring.

-- Dombrowski on the difficulty of dealing a player as popular as Granderson is in Detroit: "It's very difficult. When I talked to him on the phone today, I said it's one of the more difficult phone calls I've made in my career. You've all seen the ability, it speaks for itself. But he's as quality a human being as you'll find. He's an individual who meant a lot to our franchise, to our city, to our state. I know he's well-loved, and it's deserved, but as I told him, we're making some adjustments and it's a business decision. He's a unique individual, and I understand when you trade players that are known for players that are unknown, it's never a popular move with your fans."

-- Not much today on the Cubs' front in their efforts to deal Milton Bradley, other than the fact that it remains their No. 1 goal. "They're trying to push Bradley out the door as soon as possible," one source says.

-- Congratulations to Bill Madden of the New York Daily News, who will be inducted into the writers' wing of the Hall of Fame next July as the winner of this year's J.G. Taylor Spink award.

-- Congratulations also to the legendary Peter Gammons, who ends his 20-year run at ESPN this week and will move over to the MLB Network. The move will allow Peter more flexibility, less travel and more time in his native Boston area. Well deserved for one of the game's class acts.

 

Posted on: December 8, 2009 12:41 pm
Edited on: December 8, 2009 12:43 pm
 

Rangers looking to deal Millwood

INDIANAPOLIS -- The Texas Rangers, broke and awaiting a new owner, continue discussions with Baltimore and other clubs to trade starting pitcher Kevin Millwood and the $12 million salary he's owed for 2010.

The Orioles and Mets have been the most persistent in the talks. Two other unidentified clubs have inquired as well. The Rangers are requiring cash and a right-handed bat in return.

There was some thought that if the Rangers could acquire enough cash in a Millwood deal, it would allow them to pursue a right-handed bat like Jermaine Dye through free agency. That is not going to happen, said one source with knowledge of the Rangers' situation, because even in that scenario, they could not acquire enough cash to shop in the free agent aisle.

Texas' best bet right now toward adding an impact bat remains ex-Ranger and current Chicago Cub Milton Bradley, whom the Cubs are shopping hard and hope to deal this week before the winter meetings end. But that is not going to happen, either, unless the Cubs agree to assume most of the remaining $23 million that remains on Bradley's contract over the next two years.

Posted on: September 20, 2009 10:27 pm
 

Survivor: Milton Bradley

The next baseball team that takes a chance with Milton Bradley is, unquestionably, the stupidest team in the game.

There comes a day when a guy has to look in the mirror.

For Bradley, that day should have been, oh, like sometime back in 2002 or 2003.

The list of teams that now has chased him away numbers five: Cleveland, the Dodgers, Oakland, San Diego and the Cubs.

Five down, 25 to go.

He got into it with manager Eric Wedge in Cleveland. Engaged in a bitter public spat with Jeff Kent in Los Angeles. Turned on Oakland general manager Billy Beane. Ripped up his knee when Padres manager Bud Black tried to keep him away from an umpire (in that one, the umpire, Mike Winters, crossed the line in baiting him).

He behaved so badly in Chicago that manager Lou Piniella chased him into the clubhouse and called him a "piece of s---" earlier this summer. Then Cubs general manager Jim Hendry suspended him for the season on Sunday after his me-against-the-world comments to a suburban Chicago newspaper.

"You understand why they haven't won in 100 years here," Bradley told the Daily Herald of Arlington Heights in what should be his farewell comments to the game. "It's just not a positive environment. I need a stable, healthy, enjoyable environment ... It's just negativity."

The next time anybody attaches the words "stable" and "healthy" to Bradley will be a first.

He is an intelligent, articulate man.

But on good days he needs professional help, and on bad days he is a reprehensible human being.

He's out of excuses. Those chips on his shoulder? At times in the past he's expressed bitterness that he's always having to prove himself.

Well, the Cubs took that last excuse away when they signed him to the three-year, $30 million deal. It was his first multi-year contract. No more proving himself. He was valued and loved. What he owed them was hard work and gratitude.

But he couldn't even do that. And now another team is burned.

No way the Cubs can bring him back now. He's embarrassed the organization, made enemies in the clubhouse, backstabbed teammates who had his back for far too long and essentially flipped Chicago fans the middle finger.

Worst free agent contract of the year.

Now the Cubs are going to have to eat all or part of the $23 million remaining ($9 million in 2010, $13 million in 2011).

Part of it if they can find another team stupid enough to welcome a toxic player into their clubhouse.

All of it if they can't.

Good luck with that.

Likes: Playoffs starting, two weeks from Tuesday.

Dislikes: Looks like the last part of Tiger Stadium is going to be torn down on Monday. Man, that and Ernie Harwell's illness is almost too much to bear.


Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"You see the world through your cynical eyes
"You're a troubled young man I can tell
"You've got it all in the palm of your hand
"But your hand's wet with sweat and your head needs a rest
"You're foolin' yourself if you don't believe it
"You're kidding yourself if you don't believe"

-- Styx, Fooling Yourself (The Angry Young Man)

Posted on: May 27, 2009 7:50 pm
 

In Cubs vs. Umps, umpires will win

Maybe the Chicago Cubs are right and they've been hosed by a rash of bad umpire calls lately.

Or maybe they're dead wrong and totally delusional.

Whatever, one thing could not be more clear in the midst of the emotion:

The Cubs are going to have to get a grip, because there is no way they can win this battle.

While Carlos Zambrano's sensational meltdown against Pittsburgh on Wednesday will be grist for video highlights and high entertainment the rest of this season and beyond, it was the Cubs' third major incident with an umpire in the past four days.

One day after being called out on strikes by plate umpire Doug Eddings, Milton Bradley on Sunday told Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune that, following an April 16 run-in with umpire Larry Vanover that resulted in a one-game suspension for Bradley, Vanover's colleagues are out to get him.

Monday night, starting pitcher Ted Lilly was ejected for chirping at plate umpire Bob Davidson over balls and strikes calls from the dugout. Lilly wasn't even the starter that night -- he had pitched Sunday in San Diego. Lilly told reporters that he was run after telling Davidson to "concentrate" more.

Tuesday, Davidson accused Lilly of lying, telling The Tribune's Sullivan that "everything [Lilly] said was bull. Everything I read in the paper that he said was untrue. He never said one of those words. What he said to me, you couldn't print in the paper."

Wednesday came Zambrano's tirade against plate umpire Mark Carlson. Zambrano was just activated from the disabled list on Friday. Now he's certain to miss more time with a hefty suspension.

One thing manager Lou Piniella liked about the addition of Bradley was that he thought the outfielder might bring an edge to the club that at times was soft last year. But they can't keep going on like this.

Losers of eight of their past 10 games, clearly, the Cubs are frustrated. But right now, they have the look of a team that's totally out of control.

If this persists, say goodbye to the notion of any close call going in their favor. The umpires have the final word. Teams have to figure out a way to get along with them. It's just the way it is.

Likes: Zack Greinke just keeps on rolling in Kansas City. He's now gone 14 consecutive starts without allowing a home run. That's a good baseball city in need of a good story, and good for Greinke. ... Baltimore set to summon catcher Matt Wieters from the minors on Friday. The Orioles continue to sail north under president/GM Andy MacPhail, even if they are fifth in the AL East. In Wieters, Nick Markakis and growing star center fielder Adam Jones, and with some young pitching developing quickly in the minors, this is a team that's a year -- maybe two at the most -- away. ... Texting taking a toll on America's teenagers? Very interesting story in the New York Times the other day.

Dislikes: You get the DVD from Netflix, you set aside for a few days, you finally pop it in and sit down to watch it one night and ... it's cracked and unplayable. At least Netflix is terrific in quickly solving the problem, and it happens only very rarely. But you've still gotta come up with Plan B that night.

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

" If you want you can get to know me well
We get along so we shouldn't argue
And I don't know, said I don't know
All these feelings, cloud up my reasoning"

-- Matchbox 20, Argue

Posted on: January 5, 2009 5:45 pm
 

Cubs land Bradley, address left-handed problem

The Chicago Cubs have landed the left-handed bat they so badly wanted this winter, agreeing to terms with switch-hitting outfielder Milton Bradley on a three-year deal worth $30 million, CBSSports.com has learned.

Bradley is due in Chicago this week for a physical examination as one of the final hurdles to finalizing the deal. The contract is expected to be formalized later this week, possibly as early as Thursday.

The move is significant for the Cubs in that a team that breezed through the NL Central and won 97 games last summer was exposed as being too right-handed at the plate during a bitterly disappointing first-round playoff loss to Los Angeles. Dodgers pitchers feasted on the Cubs' steady stream of right-handed hitters during the three-game sweep, holding Chicago to a .240 batting average and six total runs in the three games.

Bradley, whose re-emergence in Texas last season after a significant knee injury in San Diego in 2007, batted .321 with a .436 on-base percentage and a .563 slugging percentage for the Rangers last summer. His patience and selectivity at the plate are exactly what the free-swinging Cubs need.

However, Bradley, 31, also has a checkered injury history and in this, the first multi-year deal of his career, his challenge will be to stay on the field. Among the injuries that have sent Bradley to the disabled list over his seven-year career are knee, oblique, calf, shoulders and hamstrings.

In Texas last season, after serving as the Rangers designated hitter early while recovering from knee surgery last winter, he played only 165 innings in the field.

Nevertheless, by the winter meetings in Las Vegas last month, the Cubs, scouring the market for left-handed hitters, had identified Bradley as their No. 1 target. Hendry and manager Lou Piniella both have researched the volatile Bradley extensively, checking on both his injury history and several controversial incidents in which he's been involved.

Included in those are a very public feud with second baseman Jeff Kent in Los Angeles in 2005 that forced the Dodgers to trade him that winter, a bitter public disagreement with Oakland general manager Billy Beane in 2007 and the knee injury in San Diego late in the '07 season that came when manager Bud Black was attempting to keep Bradley from charging umpire Mike Winters.

Winters was subsequently suspended by major league baseball for provoking Bradley.

In the end, the Cubs decided that Bradley is a risk well worth taking. Aside from the incident with Kent, Bradley mostly has gotten along well with teammates throughout his career and been viewed positively in his clubhouses.

And to that extent, there are those with the Cubs who believe that maybe Bradley's fierce intensity will be beneficial for a clubhouse generally viewed as nice and docile.

The Cubs plan to play Bradley in right field and move Kosuke Fukudome to center. Their hope also is that Fukudome, who faded badly following a hot start last summer, will come back strong in 2008.

Specifically, the Cubs' strength and conditioning people have given Fukudome a workout regimen to follow while he trains in Japan this winter. The club thinks that a major-league season longer than the campaign in Japan caught up to Fukudome, who was in good shape entering 2008 but, in hindsight, maybe wasn't strong enough for the duration of a 162-game season.

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com