The first round of analysis arising out of the Milton Bradley trade has followed this general narrative: the Mariners fleeced the Cubs, dumping a truly useless player in Carlos Silva for a troubled but useful one in Bradley. And I think, generally speaking, it’s the right call. If everything breaks right, this could be a pretty nice deal for Seattle.
But all of that analysis seems to gloss over the Milton Bradley part of the deal with stuff like “assuming Bradley behaves himself,” and “with a change of scenery Bradley will likely . . .” After reading the fifth or sixth variation of that I can’t help but think that people are underselling just how many problems the guy has. Paul Sullivan of the Tribune has a nice little refresher, however, in the form of a list of the top 11 Bradley incidents from his short tenure in Chicago. It’s pretty impressive in and of itself, but it also speaks to personality that isn’t likely to magically transform based on a mere change of scenery.
I like Milton Bradley the player to a certain degree, and I think that, over the years, he has maybe gotten a little more bad press than he deserves. But Bradley’s reputation as a clubhouse cancer is not unjustified. The guy has issues, and no comparison of his potential OPS to Carlos Silva’s ERA against a backdrop of salary swapping truly captures it.
The Athletic’s Andrew Baggarly and Zach Buchanan report that Diamondbacks starter Madison Bumgarner has been competing in rodeos under a fake name as recently as December. The fake name is Mason Saunders. Bumgarner explains that “Mason” is shortened from “Madison,” while “Saunders” is his wife’s maiden name.
Bumgarner — err, Saunders — and one of his rodeo partners, Jaxson Tucker, won $26,560 in a team-roping rodeo competition in December. The Rancho Rio Arena posted a picture of the pair on Facebook, highlighting that they roped four steers in 31.36 seconds.
As Baggarly and Buchanan point out, Bumgarner also pointed out in a rodeo competition last March, just a couple days before pitching in a Cactus League game versus the Athletics, back when he was still with the Giants.
Bumgarner suffered bruised ribs and a left shoulder AC sprain in 2017 when he got into a dirt bike accident. Given that, Bumgarner’s latest extracurricular activity does raise a concern for the Diamondbacks, who inked him to a five-year, $85 million contract two months ago. Baggarly and Buchanan asked Bumgarner about such a concern. Bumgarner referred them to the club’s managing partner Ken Kendrick. Kendrick directed them to GM Mike Hazen. Hazen declined speaking about “specific contract language.” For what it’s worth, Bumgarner says he primarily uses his right hand to rope.
The jig is up on Bumgarner’s hobby. He jokingly said to The Athletic’s pair, “I’m nervous about this interview right now.” He added, “I’m upset with both you two.”