Larry Stone of the Seattle Times found some people to say some nice things about new Seattle Mariner Milton Bradley, and it seems the man Lou Piniella called a “piece of s***” might not be so foul after all.
“Everyone gets him wrong, man,” said reliever Eddie Guardado, who was a Texas teammate of Bradley’s during his best (and least disruptive) season, when the switch-hitter led the American League with a .999 OPS (on-base plus slugging percentage) in 2008.
“To the media, he’s not very outgoing, very quiet. But by no means is he a distraction in the clubhouse. He’s ready to play every day. He’s different, no doubt. I got along with him great; a lot of guys got along with him great. He’s a good asset to that team [the Mariners]. Milton can flat-out hit.”
I was thinking of making a crack about Tiger Woods hiring Guardado to handle his PR, but the story doesn’t end with Guardado.
Former Padres GM Kevin Towers, Padres manager Bud Black, and former A’s manager Ken Macha all praised Bradley, too.
Even Piniella concedes that Seattle might be a good fit for Bradley, especially with Ken Griffey Jr., a player Bradley admires, on the team.
Of course there are plenty of people around baseball not buying any of this. So where do you fall? Can Bradley turn over a new leaf, or should we just start the meltdown clock now?
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Update (8:51 PM EST): The deal is in place, according to Heyman.
Update (8:27 PM EST): Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the Cardinals made an “over-the-top offer” to Fowler to ensure he’d sign.
Frank Cusumano of KSDK Sports reports that free agent outfielder will take a physical in St. Louis on Friday. Presumably, that means that Fowler and the Cardinals have gotten pretty far along in negotiations.
Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports recently reported that Fowler was looking for $18 million per year. The Blue Jays reportedly made an offer to Fowler in the four-year, $16 million range several days ago. The Cardinals’ offer to Fowler, if there is indeed one, is likely somewhere between the two figures.
Fowler, 30, is coming off of a fantastic year in which he helped the Cubs win their first World Series since 1908. During the regular season, he hit .276/.393/.447 with 13 home runs, 48 RBI, 84 runs scored, and 13 stolen bases in 551 plate appearances.
Fowler rejected the Cubs’ $17.2 million qualifying offer last month. While the QO compensation negatively affected Fowler’s experience in free agency last offseason — he didn’t sign until late February with the Cubs — his strong season is expected to make QO compensation much less of an issue.
Tommy Stokke of RanRag Sports reports that the Braves and Rangers agreed to a trade. According to ESPN’s Keith Law, the Braves will receive pitcher Luke Jackson from the Rangers in exchange for pitchers Tyrell Jenkins and Brady Feigl.
Jackson, 25, is under team control through 2022. He has logged only 18 innings in the majors, yielding 14 runs on 22 hits and eight walks with three strikeouts. While Jackson has struggled with control, the Braves likely see upside because his fastball sits in the mid- to high-90’s.
Jenkins, 24, is also under team control through 2022. The right-hander made eight starts and six relief appearances in his first major league season in 2016, putting up a 5.88 ERA with a 26/33 K/BB ratio over 52 innings.
Feigl, 25, was an undrafted free agent and was signed by the Braves in 2013. The lefty underwent Tommy John surgery in 2015 and briefly rehabbed in rookie ball this past season.