Milton Bradley undergoes knee surgery, out 4-6 weeks

3 Comments

Milton Bradley’s season and maybe his terribly disappointing Mariners career could be over after he underwent surgery to repair torn cartilage in his right knee Tuesday.
Bradley hadn’t played for the Mariners since July 26. If he had undergone surgery right away, perhaps he would have been ready to return right around Sept. 1. However, he chose to wait three weeks. It’s still possible that he could make it back for the final two weeks of the season, but the Mariners probably don’t care much one way of the other.
Bradley, acquired from the Cubs for Carlos Silva in an exchange of unwanted properties over the winter, hit just .205/.292/.358 with eight homers and 29 RBI in 244 at-bats for the Mariners. Since leading the AL in OPS with the Rangers in 2008, he’s driven in a total of 69 runs in 197 games for the Cubs and Mariners.
Of course, he’s earned $18 million during that time. And he’s guaranteed another $12 million next year under the terms of the deal Cubs GM Jim Hendry gave him in Jan. 2009. The final year of the contract was voidable if Bradley spent enough time on the DL during his first season with the Cubs, but he remained relatively healthy then and it contained no provisions for any injuries suffered during the 2010 season.
The Mariners will undoubtedly attempt to move Bradley this winter, knowing they’ll have to kick in a load of money or take on another bad contract in order to make it happen. Even that might be enough. With so many teams likely to have serious concerns about whether he can contribute at all, it’s possible no one will want to risk taking on his issues.

Major League Baseball orders balls stored in climate controlled rooms for some reason

Getty Images
2 Comments

Tom Verducci of Sports Illustrated reports that Major League Baseball will mandate that teams store baseballs in “an air-conditioned and enclosed room[s]” this season. He adds that the league will install climate sensors in each room to measure temperature and humidity during the 2018 season, with such data being used to determine if humidors — like the ones being used in Colorado and Arizona — are necessary for 2019.

This move comes a year after Major League Baseball’s single season, league-wide home run record was shattered, with 6,105 dingers being hit. It also comes after a year in which two different studies — one by Ben Lindbergh and Mitchel Lichtman for The Ringer, and another by FiveThirtyEight’s Rob Arthur — found evidence that baseballs were altered at some point around the middle of the 2015 season which coincided with home run numbers spiking in the middle of that year, quite suddenly.

Also coming last year: multiple player complaints about the baseball seeming different, with pitchers blaming a rash of blister problems stemming from what they believed to be lower seams on the baseballs currently in use than those in use in previous years. Players likewise complained about unusually smooth and/or juiced baseballs during the World Series, which some believe led to a spike of home runs in the Fall Classic.

To date, Major League Baseball has steadfastly denied that the balls are a problem, first issuing blatantly disingenuous denials,  and later using carefully chosen words to claim nothing was amiss. Specifically, Major League Baseball claimed that the balls were within league specifications but failed to acknowledge that league specifications are wide enough to encompass baseballs which could have radically different flight characteristics while still, technically, being within spec.

Based on Verducci’s report, it seems that MLB is at least past the denial stage and is attempting to understand and address the issues about which many players have complained and which have, without question, impacted offense in the game:

Commissioner Rob Manfred said Tuesday that MLB commissioned a research project after last season to study the composition, storage and handling of the baseballs. He said that investigation is not yet completed. “I’m not at the point to jump that gun right now,” he said about the findings.

The investigation is not yet completed, but the fact that the league is now ordering changes in the manner in which balls are handled before use suggests to me that the league has learned that there is at least something amiss about the composition or manufacture of the baseballs.

Major League Baseball is a lot of things, but quick to impose costs and changes of process on its clubs like this is not one of them. There is likely a good reason for it.