Milton Bradley traded to the Mariners: Wow, this is actually happening

Leave a comment

Larry Stone of the Seattle Times tweets that the Cubs are actually going to trade Milton Bradley to the Mariners for Carlos Silva.  An announcement could come later today. Holy Moses, it was more than just a rumor.

Now all Seattle has to do is figure out where to play him. Left field seems the most obvious choice, but there goes that vaunted Mariner defense. Maybe he’ll split time with Griffey at DH. Maybe a little first base.

No matter the case, with Bradley out in Seattle, we won’t be hearing nearly as much about him as we did when he was in Chicago.

UPDATE: The Mariners are paying the Cubs $9 million in the deal, which means that Chicago is saving $6 million after accounting for the imbalance between Bradley and Silva’s salaries. This makes it a much better deal for Chicago than it appeared at first blush, given that Silva is one of the worst pitchers in existence, while Bradley at least still has a chance at being a productive hitter.

UPDATE IIThe deal is officially announced.

12:20 P.M. Jon Heyman reports that the Cubs and Mariners are talking about a Milton Bradley trade, with the idea being that Seattle will send bad-contract Carlos Silva ($24 million) to Chicago for bad-contract Bradley ($21 million). Financially that makes sense, but I’m having a hard time picturing M’s fans enjoying Bradley (a) taking DH at bats away from Ken Griffey, Jr.; or (b) messing up an outstanding defensive team.  If Milton is manning the spacious Safeco outfield Cliff Lee might just retire and go sell insurance or something. But a suitor is a suitor, and the Cubs will take whatever they can get right now.

But are the Cubs “hamstrung” until they trade Bradley?  That’s what Heyman relates some people as saying.  This makes little sense to me.  Yes, a team usually is unable to make a move on a free agent or trade bait until they can unload the player whose absence will create the vacancy.  It’s a question of leverage really: if the team winds up with two guys for one position everyone will know that they are desperate to move the old guy, and it will be hard to make a good deal.

But this doesn’t apply to the Cubs and Bradley. Everyone already knows they need to move him. They know the Cubs are desperate. There is no way they can go into 2010 with Bradley in their outfield, so their leverage is already shot.

Maybe this Carlos Silva deal with work out for them — and if it does, Mazel Tov to Jim Hendry — but shot of that, the Cubs are either going to have to pay someone off to take Bradley or they’re going to have to release him.  In light of this, why not just go get Marlon Byrd or whoever they want to roam the Wrigley outfield next year right now?

Maybe Alcides Escobar shouldn’t bat leadoff

Alcides Escobar

Alcides Escobar finished with a .292 OBP this year. He came in at .246 in 117 at-bats in August and .257 in 109 at-bats between September and October, so he wasn’t exactly flying high entering the postseason. Still, that didn’t stop Ned Yost from putting him into the leadoff spot for Thursday’s Game 1 against the Astros.

Yost finally did reconsider hitting Escobar first in September. It took Alex Gordon‘s return to health, plus the previous addition of Ben Zobrist to the lineup, in order to make that happen. However, it didn’t stick. Escobar hit ninth in each of his starts from Sept. 7-26, batting .236 with a .276 OBP during that span. With five games left to go, he was suddenly returned to the leadoff spot. The Royals went on to win all five games. Yost saw it as a sign, even though Escobar went 5-for-22 with no walks in those games.

Escobar went 0-for-4 in Thursday’s loss to the Astros. He did not swing at the first pitch of the game, which probably explains the defeat.

It’s been difficult to argue with Yost since last year’s World Series run and this year’s incredible run out of the game. The blind spot with Escobar, though, gets rather infuriating. One can defend hitting him leadoff against the Astros’ lefties. His career OBP against southpaws is .319 (.316 this year). Against righties, he’s the most obvious No. 9 hitter alive, with a career .258/.290/.342 line (.252/.284/.314 this year). He’s not a pace-setter. He’s not a spark plug. He’s a liability.

Astros top Royals in Game 1 of ALDS

Houston Astros' Jose Altuve, left, celebrates with teammate Luis Valbuena after scoring a run during the first inning in Game 1 of baseball's American League Division Series against the Kansas City Royals, Thursday, Oct. 8, 2015, in Kansas City. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)

After shutting out the Yankees in the AL Wild Card game on Tuesday, the Astros beat the Royals 5-2 in Game 1 of the ALDS on Thursday at Kauffman Stadium. Road teams are now 4-0 to begin the 2015 postseason.

The Astros grabbed an early 3-0 lead against Yordano Ventura through two innings. Chris Young took over for the Royals after a 47-minute rain delay and was very effective for the most part, allowing just a solo homer to George Springer over four innings while striking out seven batters. Colby Rasmus, who homered in the Wild Card game, took Ryan Madson deep in the eighth inning to give the Astros’ bullpen some extra breathing room.

Collin McHugh stayed in after the rain delay and ended up tossing six innings while allowing just four hits and one walk. Kendrys Morales did all the damage against him with a pair of solo homers. He’s the first Royals player to hit two home runs in a postseason game since George Brett in the 1985 ALCS.

The Royals’ offense showed some signs of life in the bottom of the eighth inning with back-to-back two-out hits against Will Harris, but Oliver Perez got Eric Hosmer to foul out to end the threat. Luke Gregerson tossed a scoreless ninth inning to finish off the victory.

Consistent with their identity during the regular season, the Astros won despite striking out 14 times. The same goes for the Royals, as they struck out just four times. Despite putting the ball into play more often, the Kansas City lineup wasn’t able to muster anything aside from the home runs by Morales.

Game 2 of the ALDS will begin Friday at 3:45 p.m. ET. Scott Kazmir will pitch for the Astros and Johnny Cueto will get the ball for the Royals.

George Springer homers to extend Astros’ lead over Royals

Houston Astros' George Springer (4) celebrates with teammates after scoring a run in the first inning in Game 1 of baseball's American League Division Series against the Kansas City Royals, Thursday, Oct. 8, 2015, in Kansas City. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
AP Photo/Charlie Riedel
Leave a comment

After Kendrys Morales brought the Royals within one run in the bottom of the fourth inning with his second solo home run of the game, George Springer took Chris Young deep in the top of the fifth to extend the Astros’ lead to 4-2 in Game 1 of the ALDS.

According to Statcast, the ball traveled an estimated 422 feet and left Springer’s bat at 109 mph. Royals fans are happy it was just a solo home run. It could have been worse, as Jose Altuve singled to lead off the fifth inning before being thrown out trying to steal second base during Springer’s at-bat.

The Royals will try to answer as we move to the bottom of the fifth inning at Kauffman Stadium.