Milton Bradley returns to Chicago, says things

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bradley headshot.JPGNaturally, reporters and columnists were licking their chops for Milton Bradley’s return to Chicago this weekend, so even though he didn’t play on Friday due to a sore left calf, it was awful nice of him to throw everyone a bone by continuing to say some rather silly things.

Here’s a sample, via Scot Gregor of the Arlington Daily Herald:

“As a black man playing this game, I just don’t feel like
… you know, the majority of the media is middle-aged white guys, so I
don’t think you can accurately construe what I have to say, or portray
me as who I am, because you don’t know,” Bradley said. “You don’t know
where I come from, nobody has ever asked those questions. They just see
what they see. I never carried a gun, I never hurt anybody, but I am
made out to be something I’m not.”

Not sure about you, but I’m making him out to be an injury-prone .167 hitter who has already had a couple sit-downs with manager Don Wakamatsu. Meanwhile, Carlos Silva is an improbable 2-0 with an 0.95 ERA, 0.63 WHIP and a 12/2 K/BB ratio over his first three starts with the Cubs; success that played a large part in sending Carlos Zambrano to the bullpen.

Of course, logic dictates that Silva will eventually be, well, Carlos Silva, and Bradley will start to get on base at a healthy clip, but what if that doesn’t happen? Seattle can’t be the baseball Siberia he seeks if he doesn’t start to perform. And soon.
 

James Paxton will “nerd out big-time” to stay healthy next year

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To the surprise of, well, very few, the Mariners didn’t make the cut for the postseason this year. While they threw their hats in the ring for a wild card berth, their pitching staff just couldn’t stay healthy, from the handful of pitchers who contracted season-ending injuries in spring training to Felix Hernandez‘s shoulder bursitis to structural damage in Hisashi Iwakuma‘s right shoulder. Left-hander James Paxton missed 79 days with a lingering head cold, strained left forearm and pectoral strain. Heading into the 2018 season, the lefty told MLB.com’s Greg Johns that he plans to “nerd out big-time” in order to prepare for a healthy, consistent run with the club.

So far, Johns reports, that entails a new diet and workout program, hot yoga sessions and blood testing. “I just think there’s more I can do,” Paxton said. “I haven’t done the blood testing before. Finding out if there’s something I don’t know about myself. It’s just about learning and trying to find what works for me.”

When healthy, the 28-year-old southpaw was lights-out for the Mariners. He helped stabilize the front end of the rotation with a 12-5 record in 24 starts and supplemented his efforts with a 2.98 ERA, 2.4 BB/9 and 10.3 SO/9 through 136 innings. Despite taking multiple trips to the disabled list, he built up 4.6 fWAR — the most wins above replacement he’s compiled in any season of his career to date. Had he not been felled by a pectoral injury in mid-August — one that came with a five-week trip to the disabled list — the club might have been been able to make a bigger push for the playoffs.

Of course, even if Paxton manages to stay healthy next season, the Mariners still have the rest of the rotation to worry about. They cycled through 17 starters in 2017 and tied the 2014 Rangers with 40 total pitchers over the course of the season. Per GM Jerry Dipoto, their top four starters (Paxton, Hernandez, Iwakuma, and Tommy John candidate Drew Smyly) only contributed 17% of total innings pitched, just a tad below the 40% average. Finding adequate big league arms and compensating for injured aces (both current and former) will be tough. Still, getting a healthy, dominant Paxton back on the mound for 30+ starts would be a huge get for the team — whether or not the postseason is in their future next year.