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?

Kevin Kiermaier on Rays’ recent moves: “I am 100 percent frustrated and very upset.”

Brian Blanco/Getty Images
12 Comments

On Sunday, we heard from former Ray and current Giants third baseman Evan Longoria. The Rays recently traded pitcher Jake Odorizzi to the Twins for a prospect and designated All-Star outfielder Corey Dickerson for assignment, which didn’t make a whole lot of sense outside of a cost-cutting perspective. Longoria said, “I just kind of feel sorry for the Rays fan base.”

Today, we’re hearing from a current Ray: center fielder Kevin Kiermaier, who is set to enter his fifth full season with the club. Via Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times, Kiermaier said, “I am 100 percent frustrated and very upset with the moves. No beating around the bush. It’s one of those things that makes you scratch your head, you don’t know the reasoning why. And then you see the team’s explanation and still it’s just like, okay, well, so be it.”

Longoria — formerly the face of the franchise — was traded to the Giants in December and the Rays continued to subtract with their recent moves involving Odorizzi and Dickerson. Odorizzi has a career 3.83 ERA in what has been a solid, if unspectacular, career. Dickerson put up an All-Star season, posting an .815 OPS with 27 home runs in 150 games. Moving either player was not done to fix a positional log jam. In fact, with Odorizzi out of the picture, the Rays are planning to use a four-man starting rotation for the first six-plus weeks of the season, Topkin reported on Sunday. Dickerson’s ouster simply opens the door for Mallex Smith, who posted a .684 OPS last year, to start every day in the outfield.

The Rays got markedly worse after going 80-82 last season. They saved a few million bucks jettisoning Odorizzi and Dickerson. And Rays ownership still wants the public to foot most of the bill for their new stadium.

When it was just one small market team pinching pennies, it was fine. But now that more than half of the league has adopted penny-pinching principles popularized by Moneyball and Sabermetrics (with the Rays among the chief offenders), the game of baseball has become markedly less fan- and player-friendly. This offseason has been less about players signing contracts and changing teams in trades — which helps build excitement and intrigue for the coming year — and more about front offices doing math problems concerning the $197 million competitive balance tax threshold and other self-imposed monetary restraints. Fun. Kiermaier is right to be upset and he’s very likely not alone in feeling that way.