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.

Cubs won’t make Kyle Schwarber available in trade talks

Kyle Schwarber
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Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports that the Cubs won’t deal Kyle Schwarber this winter, despite multiple inquires from teams around the league. Schwarber is approaching his first year of arbitration and will remain under team control for another three seasons before reaching free agency in 2022.

The decision comes on the heels of one of the strongest seasons of the 25-year-old outfielder’s short career. Over 137 games and 510 PA for the Cubs, he proved a passable defender in left field and batted .238/.356/.467 with 26 home runs, an .823 OPS, and 3.2 fWAR in 2018. He also led the National League in intentional walks, with 20, and bumped up his total walks from 59 in 2017 to 78.

Despite his marked improvements from previous years, Schwarber’s performance still left something to be desired — specifically against left-handed pitchers, who held the slugger to a paltry .224/.352/.303 with four extra-base hits across 91 PA. Still, it’s evident the Cubs feel Schwarber is capable of strengthening his splits in the years to come, and they might stand to get more value from him on the field than they would in a trade this offseason.

Of course, that’s not to say the Cubs intend to pass the Winter Meetings in total silence, especially as they’ll be seeking bullpen and catching depth in advance of their 2019 run at the division title. As club president Theo Epstein remarked last week, “We’re certainly open and active in trade talks with a lot of deals that usually don’t come to fruition. So, we may make some trades. We could make big ones that transform the roster. We may make smaller complementary ones. But there’s certain things we’d like to accomplish.”