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.

Brandon Belt signs $6.2 million deal, avoiding arbitration with Giants

Brandon Belt
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In a last-second compromise before a scheduled heading today, first baseman Brandon Belt and the Giants have avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one-year, $6.2 million deal.

Belt requested $7.5 million and the Giants countered at $5.3 million, so they’ve settled slightly on the team-friendly side of the midpoint. Belt will be arbitration eligible again next season for the final time before hitting the open market as a free agent.

He’s coming off a very good season in which he hit .280 with 18 homers and an .834 OPS in 137 games and Belt has a lifetime .803 OPS through age 27, making him one of MLB’s most underrated all-around first baseman.

Orioles sign ex-Padres reliever Dale Thayer

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Right-hander Dale Thayer and the Orioles have agreed to a minor-league contract that includes an invitation to spring training.

Thayer had a rough 2015 season for the Padres, posting a 4.06 ERA and spending time in the minors, but he was a solid part of San Diego’s bullpen from 2012-2014 with a combined 3.02 ERA and 173/50 K/BB ratio in 188 innings.

At age 35 there’s no guarantee that Thayer will look good enough to claim a spot on the Opening Day roster, but he’s got a strong chance to wind up pitching middle relief for Baltimore.

Phillies acquire Taylor Featherston from Angels

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Taylor Featherston, who was designated for assignment by the Angels last week, has been traded to the Phillies for a player to be named later or cash.

Featherston stayed in the majors with the Angels for all of last season due to being a Rule 5 pick from the Rockies organization, but the 25-year-old infielder hit just .162 in 169 plate appearances.

He’s been much better in the minors, but nothing about his track record there screams quality regular and the Phillies are likely viewing him as a defense-first bench option for now.

Keith Law: The Braves have the best farm system in baseball

Braves 2
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Flags fly forever! Hooray for The Process championship!

Ah, sorry. This is about as much rooting as I’ll get to do this year, so cut me some slack.

This is the week when ESPN’s Keith Law releases his prospect and farm system rankings. He kicks off his content this week with a top-to-bottom ranking of all 30 farm systems. As a rule he limits his analysis to players who are currently in the minors and who have not yet exhausted their rookie of the year eligibility. The top system: the Atlanta Braves. The bottom: the Los Angeles Angels, about whom Law says “I’ve been doing these rankings for eight years now, and this is by far the worst system I’ve ever seen.” Enjoy Mike Trout, though, you guys.

If you want to know the reasons and the rankings of everyone in between you’ll have to get an ESPN Insider subscription. Sorry, I know everyone hates to pay for content on the Internet, but Keith and others who do this kind of work put a lot of damn work into it and this is what pays their bills. I typically don’t like to pay for content myself, but I do pay for an ESPN Insider subscription. It’s worth it for Law’s work alone. And though he drives me crazy sometimes, Buster Olney’s daily column/notes thing is also worth the money over the course of the year.