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

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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?

Tigers in discussions with Jordan Zimmermann

Jordan Zimmermann
AP Photo/Alex Brandon

Jon Morosi of FOX Sports reports that the Tigers are in discussions with free agent starter Jordan Zimmermann. His sources have told him that the talks have become “serious”.

Zimmermann, 29, has a career 3.32 ERA across parts of seven seasons in the majors. He finished fifth in National League Cy Young Award balloting in 2014, finishing with a 2.66 ERA and a 182/29 K/BB ratio over 199 2/3 innings.

Among starters who have amassed at least 1,000 innings since 2009, only Cliff Lee, Dan Haren, Madison Bumgarner, and Zack Greinke have compiled a better strikeout-to-walk ratio than Zimmermann’s 4.09. While he doesn’t have the star power of other free agents such as Greinke or David Price, the Tigers would certainly improve their rotation by bringing him on board.

Blue Jays still focused on upgrading their pitching

Marco Estrada
AP Photo/LM Otero

Having already added Jesse Chavez and J.A. Happ to the mix and re-signing Marco Estrada early in the offseason, Blue Jays interim GM Tony LaCava said the team will continue to pursue pitching upgrades, as Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith reports. Nicholson-Smith added that LaCava declined to comment on free agent ace David Price. It is believed that the Jays will not pursue Price and other big-name free agent starting pitchers given their November activity.

The Jays re-signed Estrada to a two-year, $26 million deal on November 13, acquired Chavez from the Athletics in exchange for reliever Liam Hendriks on November 20 and signed Happ to a three-year, $36 million deal on Friday.

Nicholson-Smith notes in a column on Sportsnet that the Jays need to address the bullpen in particular. That is especially true after swapping Hendriks, who had a career-best 2.92 ERA out of the Jays’ bullpen in 2015, for a back-end starting pitcher.

Report: Jonathan Papelbon is “untradeable”

Jonathan Papelbon
AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin

Jon Heyman of CBS Sports spoke to an anonymous baseball executive, who said that Nationals closer Jonathan Papelbon is “untradeable”. The Nationals are hoping to trade both Papelbon and the man he displaced, Drew Storen.

Papelbon has a poor reputation in baseball, particularly after a dugout altercation with superstar outfielder Bryce Harper. Focusing strictly on what he does on the field, Papelbon still gets the job done. The 35-year-old finished the last season with a combined 2.13 ERA, 24 saves, and a 56/12 K/BB ratio over 63 1/3 innings between the Phillies and Nationals.

The Nationals owe Papelbon $11 million for the 2016 season.

Minor league home run king Mike Hessman retires

NEW YORK - JULY 29:  Mike Hessman #19 of the New York Mets bats against the St. Louis Cardinals on July 29, 2010 at Citi Field in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. The Mets defeated the Cardinals 4-0.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Baseball America’s J.J. Cooper reports that corner infielder Mike Hessman has retired from professional baseball after 20 seasons. Hessman hit 433 home runs in the minor leagues, an all-time record. He broke Buzz Arlett’s record this past August and with style as #433 was a grand slam.

Hessman, 37, was selected in the 16th round of the 1996 draft by the Braves and remained with the organization through the 2004 season. He then went to the Tigers from 2005-09, the Mets in 2010, then drifted into the Astros and Reds’ farm systems before returning to the Tigers for the last two years.

Hessman took 250 plate appearances at the major league level, batting .188/.272/.422 with 14 home runs and 33 RBI.