Bradley to Mariners: "I need your help"

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bradley high-fiving.jpgUPDATE:  MLB.com’s Peter Gammons received a text from Bradley on Wednesday night stating: Any reports I said
I’m packing up and leaving are 100% fabricated.”
  It should come as no surprise.  He may be an abrasive man, but he’s not going to leave $21 million on the table.

9:49pm: As Craig chronicled earlier, Milton Bradley left the Mariners’ clubhouse in the middle of Tuesday night’s game after an altercation with the home plate umpire and, eventually, Seattle manager Don Wakamatsu.  On Wednesday Bradley took the first step in making up for that childish and immature act, asking the Mariners for “help” with his issues.

It’s good to hear that Bradley is beginning to recognize that the problems that have plagued him throughout his career are mostly of his own fault, and that there are people rooting for him to succeed.  The Mariners have done nothing but treat him with graciousness and respect, rescuing him from a volatile situation in Chicago and giving him an opportunity to play every day while other teams scoffed at the idea. 

Of course, we can’t assume that a new leaf has been turned because we’ve all seen Bradley burn faithful organizations in the past.  He needs to commit to playing the game of baseball with a level of calmness and respect — the same kind of respect that Wakamatsu and Co. have shown him this season.  He also needs to make a conscious effort to fix whatever causes him to act out, whether through therapy, medication or both.  Bradley has undoubtedly gone through required psychotherapy in the past, but it’s time for him to take it seriously and accept that changes need to be made.  Contrary to what the fans of Wrigley Field might think, the guy is not incapable of righting the wrongs in his own life.

Bradley, who just turned 32, has a .214 batting average, a .313 on-base percentage and seven extra-base hits in 70 at-bats this season.  He was not in Wednesday’s lineup and may be asked to sit out until the weekend to allow further time for reflection.

2017 Preview: The American League Central

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For the past few weeks we’ve been previewing the 2017 season. Here, in handy one-stop-shopping form, is our package of previews from the American League Central

Do the Indians have a weakness? Do the Tigers and Royals have one more playoff push in them or do they have to start contemplating rebuilds? The White Sox and Twins are rebuilding, but do either of them have a chance to be remotely competitive?

As we sit here in March, the answers are “not really,” “possibly,” and “not a chance.” There are no games that count this March, however, so they’re just guesses. But educated ones! Here are the links to our guesses and our education for all of the clubs of the AL Central:

Cleveland Indians
Detroit Tigers
Kansas City Royals
Chicago White Sox
Minnesota Twins

2017 Preview: The National League East

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For the past few weeks we’ve been previewing the 2017 season. Here, in handy one-stop-shopping form, is our package of previews from the National League East

The Washington Nationals crave a playoff run that doesn’t end at the division series. The Mets crave a season in which they don’t have a press conference about an injured pitcher. The Marlins are trying to put the nightmare of the end of the 2016 behind them. The Phillies and Braves are hoping to move on from the “lose tons of games” phase of their rebuilds and move on to the “hey, these kids can play!” phase.

There is a ton of star power in the NL East — Harper, Scherzer, Cespedes, Syndergaard, Stanton, Freeman — some great young talent on ever roster and, in Ichiro and Bartolo, the two oldest players in the game. Maybe the division can’t lay claim to the best team in baseball, but there will certainly be some interesting baseball in the division.

Here’s how each team breaks down:

Washington Nationals
New York Mets
Miami Marlins
Philadelphia Phillies
Atlanta Braves