UPDATE: 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.
The Athletics have hired former MLB manager Matt Williams, the team announced Friday. Williams will take over third base coaching duties under manager Bob Melvin, filling the vacancy left by Nationals’ bench coach Chip Hale after the 2017 season.
Williams is no stranger to the Bay Area, but this will be his first time sporting the green and gold. He got his start in pro ball with the rival Giants in 1987, where he manned third base and collected four All-Star nominations before jumping ship to the American League in 1997. After a one-year stint in the Indians’ organization, he returned to the NL to finish off his 17-season career and eventually hung up his cleats with the Diamondbacks in 2003.
Post-retirement, Williams has crafted a resume that almost over-qualifies him for a coaching gig. He led the Nationals to a cumulative 179-145 record from 2014 to 2015 and earned props as NL Manager of the Year after bringing the team to a first-place finish in 2014. In 2016, he split the season as a first and third base coach in the D-backs’ organization, then accepted a studio analyst position with the Giants for the 2017 season. Although he has yet to suit up for the Athletics in any role, he’s not unfamiliar with skipper Bob Melvin. The two were teammates on the Giants’ 1987-88 roster and spent some time in Arizona together when Melvin took a coaching job there in the early 2000s.
While next year’s reunion will be fun to watch (unless, I suppose, you’re a Giants fan with a long memory), Williams may not have his sights set on a coaching role forever. As the San Francisco Chronicle’s John Shea reported back in July, the 51-year-old knows what it feels like to win as a manager, and it’s a position he might be open to pursuing in the future.
“For me, my most comfortable space is in uniform,” he told Shea. “I’ve done the ownership thing and front-office stuff, and that’s fun. The most gratification I get is swinging a fungo and throwing batting practice and being on the field. It’s what you know and love. I look at myself as a teacher first and foremost. At the end of the day, I think that’s how I have my greatest influence.”