Silva-Bradley Swap Near?
Larry Stone reports that the M’s may announce a Carlos Silva-Milton Bradley trade as soon as today. This deal has been talked about for a while, because of the matching salaries and the M’s need for a hitter, but the organization had made it clear to a bunch of people that they had no interest in Bradley. That makes this a pretty big surprise, honestly.
If it goes through, there are basically two reactions that we have to reconcile.
1. Milton Bradley is a significantly better player than Carlos Silva, and a much more obvious fit for what this team needs. In terms of production, the M’s just got a lot better. A switch-hitting, high OBP LF/DH is exactly the kind of player that this roster is calling for. And the price is obviously right.
2. Milton Bradley is the exact opposite of the kind of person the organization has spent the last year bringing in. He’s as far removed from Mike Sweeney as you can get. But, the Mariners never promised to have 25 choir boys on the team, and perhaps they feel that the culture that they’ve already created will allow Bradley to have another lower-maintenance season, like he did in 2008. Remember, Wak is good friends with Ron Washington, who was able to get a good full season out of Bradley in 2008.
From the how-will-he-fit-into-the-clubhouse angle, I think we all just really have to defer to Wak on this one. If he thinks he can get through to Bradley and keep him from causing significant problems, then I’m not going to say that he can’t. Very few managers have been able to, but Wak is a very impressive leader of people.
Remember, we’re not just talking about a guy whose a little prickly here. This is a dude who wore a t-shirt saying “F*** Eric Wedge” in the clubhouse when played for the Indians. He’s worn out his welcome everywhere he has been for a reason. This isn’t the kind of “clubhouse chemistry” argument where there’s little evidence that the off-field stuff matters. With Bradley, it matters a lot. He’s a constant threat of getting ejected in any given game, and a suspension is always possible. He fights with umpires, fans, teammates, coaches… odds are decent that he’s going to be offended by the Mariner Moose at some point. It affects his ability to stay on the field and produce, so this is not a small personality flaw that can be dismissed as unimportant.
But the M’s are apparently willing to take that risk. Given that Silva’s money was essentially a sunk cost, they can hold the power to just release Bradley outright without coming out of this deal looking like they got hosed. Perhaps that kind of leverage gives them confidence that they can take a chance on the guy.
If they’re right, the M’s just added a couple more wins to their roster. From a talent perspective, Bradley is perfect for the M’s. This all hinges on how well he and Wak can get along.