Milton Bradley and Eric Wedge clashed numerous times while in Cleveland in 2003 and 2004, leading to Bradley being traded by the Indians, and now that they’re together again in Seattle it seemed inevitable that the Mariners would try to deal the oft-disgruntled outfielder as well.
However, shortly after Wedge was hired last month Bradley said he was “over it” and willing to work with Wedge again, and general manager Jack Zduriencik recently told Jeff Fletcher of AOL Fanhouse that Bradley is being given a “clean slate” on his various issues:
That’s water over the dam. That was several years ago. He and Eric talked since Eric got the job. They are both grown men. They are both pros. They will turn the page and move on and play baseball.
First of all, since when is “water over the dam” a thing people say?
Secondly, I’m still very skeptical. The problems Bradley and Wedge had in Cleveland weren’t exactly minor issues. Wedge pulled Bradley from a spring training game, Bradley wore a “F*** Eric Wedge” shirt around the clubhouse, and the Indians banned Bradley from their spring training complex.
My guess is that the Mariners would love to move Bradley, if they could. Instead he’s coming off the worst season of his career that included a .205 batting average and injuries, and the number of teams interested in him was fairly limited even when he was playing well. Bradley and Wedge co-existing seems awfully unlikely, but when the alternative is simply eating the $12 million remaining on Bradley’s contract the Mariners probably figure they might as well give it a shot.
Three weeks after hiring Eric Wedge as their new manager the Mariners announced his coaching staff:
Hitting coach: Chris Chambliss
Pitching coach: Carl Willis
Bench coach: Robbie Thompson
First base coach: Mike Brumley
Third base coach: Jeff Datz
Bullpen coach: Jaime Navarro
Willis served as interim pitching coach after the Mariners cleaned house at midseason and previously held the same job under Wedge in Cleveland, so keeping him on board was a no-brainer.
Chambliss beat out Milt Thompson and Leon Durham for the hitting coach gig. Daren Brown lost out to Wedge after serving as interim manager down the stretch, but is expected to remain in the organization as the skipper at Triple-A.
Hired as the Mariners’ new manager yesterday, Eric Wedge’s ugly history with Milton Bradley from their time together with the Indians in 2003/2004 seemingly makes it unlikely that they’ll be asked to co-exist again in Seattle.
That may prove true–Wedge hasn’t even been officially introduced to the local media yet–but in the meantime Larry Stone of the Seattle Times reports that after hearing about Wedge’s hiring yesterday Bradley did his best to clear the air by text messaging the following note to an unnamed member of the Mariners organization:
Whatever took place was six or seven years ago and I’m over it. He was a disciplinarian and I felt our team lacked discipline last year. Hopefully, he instills some of that.
That’s nice and all, but coming from a guy who’s worn out his welcome with seven different teams and engaged in some pretty serious insubordination against Wedge the first time around … well, it doesn’t carry much weight.
Stone suggests that “perhaps this marriage can work the second time around” but I’d certainly bet against Bradley and Wedge being in the same dugout come Opening Day.