It’s Time To Let Milton Bradley Go

Dave · May 8, 2011 at 8:32 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

Update: It’s possible that the M’s agree with the post below – Ryan Divish is reporting on Twitter that the Mariners will recall Mike Wilson from Tacoma before Tuesday’s game. The associated roster move has not yet been reported. It could be as simple as Michael Saunders going down, though given the OF defense over the weekend, I doubt the M’s want to make it worse, which that swap would do. That also wouldn’t open up a spot on the 40 man roster, so they’d need to also DFA someone else in order to add Wilson – seems unlikely. I’d guess that either Bradley or Langerhans is going away. I vote for Bradley, obviously.

When the Mariners swapped Carlos Silva for Milton Bradley, we were pretty happy, believing it was a risk worth taking. But, let’s be honest – it hasn’t worked out. As a Mariner, Bradley is hitting .205/.296/.345, and at age 33, he’s not exactly on the upswing. His power isn’t completely gone, but it’s diminished to the point that it doesn’t offset his lack of contact ability, and at the very best, you could consider him a league average hitter.

There is a place on most rosters for league average hitters, but they need to bring something else to the table – defense, baserunning, positional flexibility, cuddliness… something. For Bradley, though, all he has is his bat. He’s absolutely atrocious defensively, and was an embarrassment in left field over the weekend, letting balls fall in that should have been easy outs for most left fielders. In reality, he’s a DH that the M’s are playing in left field because they don’t have many other alternatives.

He doesn’t provide any flexibility on the roster, and in actuality, his injury-prone body and angry-prone personality actually hamper roster construction, as the team always has to be prepared for Bradley to come out of the game – either via pain or ejection – at any given moment. And, let’s be honest, Bradley is not on this team for reasons related to team chemistry or leadership. He might not be the worst teammate ever, but he’s definitely not in the running for the best, and I don’t think you can make a case that he’s an asset in the locker room.

The M’s brought Bradley here because they thought he might hit, and they’d put up with the rest of the package in order to get some offense. He hasn’t hit, though, and there’s no reason to think he’s going to start hitting any time soon. Dating back to the start of the 2009 season, Bradley has hit just .233/.341/.375 in a span over nearly 900 plate appearances. Yes, he was a great hitter in 2008, but that is so far in the rear view mirror at this point that it can barely be accounted for.

This M’s team isn’t great, and they don’t need to be sacrificing the future to win now, but Milton Bradley is certainly not a part of any future this team has, and he’s also not making them any better. The combination of average offense and terrible defense is simply not providing any value, and the Mariners can and should do better.

No, they don’t have a lot of viable in-house alternatives, even after Franklin Gutierrez comes off the disabled list. Michael Saunders is still a wreck at the plate and probably needs to work things out in Tacoma, and I don’t think even Ryan Langerhans‘ biggest fans think he should takeover as the starting left fielder. None of the kids in Tacoma are ready for the big leagues. The M’s simply have a hole at left field, which is likely why Bradley is still on this team. However, the M’s should not let that stand in their way – there are outfielders in other organizations who could use a chance to prove their skills, and at the very least could offer comparable offensive performances while also being able to run down a simple fly ball.

Ideally, I’d like to see them target a guy like Chris Heisey, who is currently serving as the Reds fourth outfielder but could play everyday for the M’s, but he might be a little tough to pry away from Cincinnati. So, maybe they end up with a guy like Nate Schierholtz, Fred Lewis, Laynce Nix, or Chris Dickerson – all of whom could likely be acquired at little cost in talent and would present an immediate upgrade over Bradley in left field.

Milton Bradley simply doesn’t offer this Mariners team anything of value. While I understand the inertia against making changes when a team is doing fairly well, the organization should be actively shopping for a new left fielder. There’s just no real point to having Bradley around anymore.

Comments

56 Responses to “It’s Time To Let Milton Bradley Go”

  1. SODOMOJO360 on May 8th, 2011 8:44 pm

    I think Carp or Mike Wilson would be upgrades over Bradley at this point

  2. SODOMOJO360 on May 8th, 2011 8:45 pm

    Only on offense that is

  3. SethGrandpa on May 8th, 2011 8:46 pm

    If Bradley were to go, I guess I don’t really see the point of bringing in someone only half-decent instead of sticking with Langerhans in LF.

    Are we operating under the notion that this team actually has a shot at the playoffs? I think that’s a more unrealistic notion than Langerhans being able to adequately hold down LF. And if we don’t believe this team is making the playoffs, why give away something (even if it’s not major) for a minor upgrade that won’t be part of the team’s long term plan?

  4. thehemogoblin on May 8th, 2011 8:48 pm

    It depends on whether you’re trying to win now or if you’re just playing out the string for this year. If it’s the latter, I don’t really see the harm in not overexposing our prospects and not giving away anything of even remote value to try and replace him.

  5. xsacred24x on May 8th, 2011 8:51 pm

    I agree he looks like hes walking for balls hit his way is he even trying?

  6. l2ider on May 8th, 2011 8:53 pm

    Saw the ball that dropped in for a double by Dunn yesterday. Then saw Rios turn a single into a double all because Milton didn’t have the right angle to the ball and let it get past him.

    I knew his defense isn’t an asset but seeing him practically hobbling out there was painful.

    Can we get Choo back from the Tribe??

  7. matthew on May 8th, 2011 8:53 pm

    Milton read this with his earplugs in.

  8. Leroy Stanton on May 8th, 2011 8:53 pm

    I think Bradley knows this is the end of the line and it’s showing in his play. He’s probably looking forward to being released. If that’s the case, ANYBODY who wants to play is an upgrade.

  9. Dave on May 8th, 2011 8:55 pm

    One of the benefits of being a rebuilding team is that you can give shots to kids who might pan out and be part of your next good team. Neither Bradley nor Langerhans will be here the next time the M’s are contenders, so giving either of them a full time job in LF is just a waste of PAs.

    If you find a guy who still has some upside and would be under team control for several years, you could fill a hole in 2011 and beyond, and because you have nothing to lose, there’s no reason to waste that opportunity.

  10. Boy9988 on May 8th, 2011 8:58 pm

    Remember there are a lot of players in the minor league system and the vast majority are never going to sniff the major leagues. Its not going to cost this team anything in the long run to acquire a guy to come in and and not make us all cringe when a ball is hit to left while still producing what Bradley is, if not more. I love the idea of getting Chris Heisey, but I agree that the Reds probably won’t give him up. Fred Lewis is also a great idea too. This team has almost nothing ready in the pipeline in the immediate future, so there is no harm in trying to acquire a guy that still has some potential and stick him out there. Almost anyone is better than Bradley right?

  11. Leroy Stanton on May 8th, 2011 9:06 pm

    Ryan Doumit could probably had for nothing (essentially) but picking up his salary. That would kill two birds with one stone.

  12. DarkKnight1680 on May 8th, 2011 9:12 pm

    Bradley, along with 5 or so other “starters,” needs to go. Ichiro can stay. Smoak, sure. Brendan Ryan, if only because he plays D and SS is a hole. But Figgins (no D no O), Olivo (So bad on offense I miss Rojo or Jose Vidro), Cust (No D value and slugging that Eddie Gaedel could probably replicate), Wilson (see Figgins), and Saunders (most disappointing hitting prospect I can remember, even more so than Clement) all need to go. I’m still pushing for a complete overhaul. Empty Tacoma if you have to.

  13. NBarnes on May 8th, 2011 9:12 pm

    *checks*

    Hm, 2.1 WAR for Silva in 2010, vs -0.2 (ow) for Bradley. Silva was released before 2011 started, while Bradley has accumulated -0.3 so far this year (even more ow).

    Gonna give that one to the Cubs. Well played, Jim Hendry.

  14. griffin on May 8th, 2011 9:14 pm

    Once Guti is ready, may as well give the LF PA’s to Saunders. Even if he’s sucking, so is Bradley, and Saunders obviously has more upside at this point.
    If were going to stay within the organization, then let Saunders and Langerhans split LF time.
    I can’t imagine Bradley keeping the job once Guti gets to Seattle. There’s no reason to let him take the field at this point. He’s blowing it left and right. If we don’t have the balls to release him, let him DH with Cust, they both can blow chunks there. At least it wouldn’t carry over to the defense…

  15. DarkKnight1680 on May 8th, 2011 9:21 pm

    I don’t see any reason to keep him OR Cust on the roster as a DH. A guy like Mike Wilson will give you equal defensive value to Bradley and more than Cust, and can’t possibly hit worse than Cust. He also has *some* potential upside where those 2 have none.

  16. Dave on May 8th, 2011 9:24 pm

    Mike Wilson sucks. Give it up.

  17. DarkKnight1680 on May 8th, 2011 9:33 pm

    Sub 600 OPS and no future sucks? Or a different kind of sucks?

  18. lalo on May 8th, 2011 9:42 pm

    The answer is Guti, if he´s ready, they can put him in CF for the rest of the season, Suanders and Halman could be our LF, Ackley our 2b, Cust should be released, and Bradley would take his place in the lineup as DH, maybe Branyan is available again and we can trade for him, so we can release both, Bradley and Cust…

    Ichi RF
    Ackley 2B
    Guti CF
    Branyan DH (DFA CUST)
    Smoak 1B
    Olivo and hopefully Moore C
    Ryan SS
    Saunders and Halman LF
    Figgins/L ROD/ SEAGER??? 3B

    This lineup could be worse, but at least without Cust and Bradley in LF

  19. Longgeorge1 on May 8th, 2011 9:45 pm

    Let’s faace it NOBODY in Tacoma is ging to give an immediate upgrade anywhere on this team. The fear is always ruining a guy by bringing him up early but you can’t learn to hit major league pitching in the PCL. For now we just have to suffer with what we have. There is no use in trading prospects for a temporary fix. I think it might be best to bring up one or two (Ackley?) and let them know they are not here to save this season. I am sure the coaches ( Chambliss ) and resources for teaching in Seattle are better than in Tacoma and they might progress faster IF handeled right.

  20. lalo on May 8th, 2011 9:49 pm

    Jorge Vazquez can play 3b and hit for power, 9 homers in AAA so far, so we can trade for him too, he should be better than Cust

  21. griffin on May 8th, 2011 9:57 pm

    Ryan Divish just posted on Twitter… “@RyanDivish OF Mike Wilson to be called up from Tacoma by #Mariners for Tues., not certain of the corresponding roster moves. http://bit.ly/ju0BAQ
    http://twitter.com/RyanDivish/status/67452312326635520

  22. bronmaderine on May 8th, 2011 9:58 pm

    The FO and Wedge claim there are no scholarships. If that were true they would cut Bradley and Cust tonight.

    God help me, I’d rather watch Tui hack away than Bradley or Cust. How much worse could it be?

  23. lalo on May 8th, 2011 9:58 pm

    RyanDivish just posted on Twitter… “@RyanDivish OF Mike Wilson to be called up from Tacoma by #Mariners for Tues., not certain of the corresponding roster moves. http://bit.ly/ju0BAQ”
    http://twitter.com/RyanDivish/status/67452312326635520

    Yes!!! I know he´s not Barry Bonds but is good that he´ll make his debut… he´s 30 or so

  24. IwearMsHats on May 8th, 2011 9:59 pm

    Mike Wilson it is.

  25. eb on May 8th, 2011 10:01 pm

    What about the thought of cutting Cust instead. Wouldn’t this provide the team more overall flexibility than cutting Milton? For the most part Cust has even worse #’s than Milton this year, all except OBP. As well as Cust being a worse base runner, only hitting from one side of the plate and is unable to play in the field pretty much at all. Their salaries this year are both sunk costs anyway. This way Milton is our full time DH which improves our outfield defense and gives younger guys a chance and we lose nothing overall at the plate. With the additional small possibility that playing the field is hurting Milton’s hitting. His last good season was 2008 and during that season he spent 80% of his AB’s as a DH. I know that is 3 years ago but it is possible he is at least a slightly better hitter when he does not play in the field.

  26. Bremerton guy on May 8th, 2011 10:01 pm

    Mike Wilson sucks. Give it up.

    You’re joking, right? He’s tearing it up in Tacoma: 1.111 OPS, .683 Slugging pct., .429 OBP, and .381 BA. Let’s see what he can do in the bigs, he can’t be any worse on defense than Bradley.

  27. griffin on May 8th, 2011 10:11 pm

    Eb makes a good point. Other than Cust’s ability to draw walks, he’s doing no better than Bradley, or so it seems on the surface (I don’t know the details within the numbers to back myself up).
    Bradley full time DH gives us a switch hitter as opposed to just a LH bat, and though I don’t see where this would happen, Bradley is also an insurance outfielder/4th OF.

    Something to think about I suppose.

  28. lalo on May 8th, 2011 10:15 pm

    Eb makes a good point. Other than Cust’s ability to draw walks, he’s doing no better than Bradley, or so it seems on the surface (I don’t know the details within the numbers to back myself up).
    Bradley full time DH gives us a switch hitter as opposed to just a LH bat, and though I don’t see where this would happen, Bradley is also an insurance outfielder/4th OF.

    Agree 100%, Cust has been worse than Bradley, at least Bradley can hit lefties, Cust should be released before Bradley…

  29. DarkKnight1680 on May 8th, 2011 10:18 pm

    RE: Wilson call-up.

    Best Mariner move in a while. Guy has more than paid his dues and has crushed the ball the last half of last year and this year at AAA while experts/scouts took shots at him. With a ML team filled with no-hit vets with no future, there is no downside to getting him into the lineup. Applause to JZ and the Mariner staff.

  30. Leroy Stanton on May 8th, 2011 10:23 pm

    I wouldn’t put too much faith in Wilson, but on the plus side, his K% did significantly improve in 2010 and 2011 over his career numbers. He may be starting to figure it out somewhat. BTW, he’s 28.

  31. Leroy Stanton on May 8th, 2011 10:24 pm

    gree 100%, Cust has been worse than Bradley, at least Bradley can hit lefties, Cust should be released before Bradley…

    That’s ridiculous. Cust has had one bad month. Bradley has been terrible for over a year and bad since 2009.

  32. DarkKnight1680 on May 8th, 2011 10:31 pm

    I wouldn’t put too much faith in Wilson, but on the plus side, his K% did significantly improve in 2010 and 2011 over his career numbers. He may be starting to figure it out somewhat. BTW, he’s 28.

    I don’t need a kid prospect to be happy. A guy on the right side of 30 who I haven’t seen flail over and over at hittable pitches is enough for me. Bonus that he can hit it further than 200 feet, too.

  33. rick m on May 8th, 2011 10:36 pm

    Technically, Mike is still 27. There’s no one available on any scrapheap who’s got better numbers than he. The dude has earned his opportunity. He’s paid his dues, and improved his game. It would be a crime to not give him his shot here, and pass him up to give someone like Lance Nix the job. If Heisey was pry-awayable, then certainly. I think Wilson could give us .725-.750 OPS. That would be a significant improvement for this team.

  34. kenshabby on May 8th, 2011 10:40 pm

    Bradley’s only 33? He plays like a much older man. Much, much older.

  35. shortbus on May 8th, 2011 10:44 pm

    Left field is one of the best opportunities to improve the team and the Mariners should spend the rest of the season trying to do so cheaply. The list of free agent left fielders for 2012 is not inspiring. We might as well start looking for internal candidates and trade options now.

  36. Leroy Stanton on May 8th, 2011 10:45 pm

    Bradley’s only 33? He plays like a much older man. Much, much older.

    Stress is a killer.

  37. Sports on a Schtick on May 8th, 2011 10:45 pm

    I’m ready for the Mike Wilson Experience. If it’s terrible, well then it’ll be business as usual for the M’s lineup. No real downside.

  38. Leroy Stanton on May 8th, 2011 10:49 pm

    Technically, Mike is still 27.

    Technically he’s 27.86, but who’s counting? :)

  39. olystuart on May 8th, 2011 10:51 pm

    I’m in the “give Mike Wilson a shot” group. I wouldn’t call him a prospect and I as well as anyone can admit there’s a good chance he looks lost against MLB pitching and can’t adjust or slug his way out of the strikeout doom, but I just don’t buy that AAA is completely useless, his numbers there mean absolutely nothing, and he doesn’t even deserve a shot. In a vacuum you have better options but we’re comparing the man to 2011 Milton F’ing Bradley.

  40. eponymous coward on May 8th, 2011 10:53 pm

    God help me, I’d rather watch Tui hack away than Bradley or Cust. How much worse could it be?

    Tui has almost 450 plate appearances in 2010 and 2011, combined between AAA and the majors. He’s been pretty terrible for them, and is clearly behind Wilson and Carp as a hitter at this point.

    In other words: Tui sucks, give it up.

  41. make_dave_proud on May 8th, 2011 10:56 pm

    …all of whom could likely be acquired at little cost in talent and would present an immediate upgrade over {insert-name-here} in {insert-position-here}.

    With all due respect, Dave, these comments have been made here for years, and we’ve seen very few transactions like these occur. While I’d like to think this is just management not getting out of their own way, I bet it’s not quite this simple. JZ is no fool, and would move to upgrade the team in a logical way if he could.

    You’re on the right track with the players, but I would venture the asking cost is a higher than estimated.

  42. Typical Idiot Fan on May 8th, 2011 10:57 pm

    Wilson seems like an odd choice. I wonder if Carlos Peguero hasn’t yet reached the minimum number of days before he can be called up again. Easier to take someone already on the 40 man who’s already been optioned once than to have to make a 40 man roster move. And I think they’re higher on Peguero than they are Wilson.

    But this also means they’re higher on Wilson than they are Carp, etc. Or, they just realize that this is about the best time to give Wilson a shot… when it doesn’t really matter.

  43. eponymous coward on May 8th, 2011 10:58 pm

    Left field is one of the best opportunities to improve the team and the Mariners should spend the rest of the season trying to do so cheaply. The list of free agent left fielders for 2012 is not inspiring. We might as well start looking for internal candidates and trade options now.

    That list of free agents is majorly depressing, to be honest, considering that the M’s are realistically needing a couple of hitters for DH/LF AND a 3B, none of which have obvious candidates in the farm system.

    So much for “ZOMG when Bradley’s salary falls off the Mariners will be able to contend!!111″. Sigh.

  44. DarkKnight1680 on May 8th, 2011 11:02 pm

    Peguero can still realistically improve at AAA, work on his pitch recognition and hitting breaking pitches. Wilson, I have to believe, is pretty much a finished product. Not much more for him to learn in the minors. It’s sink or swim time.

  45. Kazinski on May 8th, 2011 11:04 pm

    It’s probably a coin flip between Cust and Bradley. Neither one has shown anything.

    It could also be Saunders being sent down but that doesn’t make any sense defensively, especially the way Saunders (good) and Bradley (bad) have been playing defensively lately.

  46. DarkKnight1680 on May 8th, 2011 11:11 pm

    Honestly I could see them cutting Ray to add Wilson and then flipping Saunders and Guti when he’s ready – if they aren’t willing to give up on MB or Cust.

    The hope for Wilson is that he’s a Kevin Millar type – didn’t get MLB at-bats til he was 27 and was decently productive. Millar is/was a bad defender at an easy defensive position (1B) and a disaster as an OF.

  47. rick m on May 8th, 2011 11:21 pm

    I like the Millar comp. Very similar in power and in their respective late blooming careers. Let’s hope. I remember watching Wilson play center field in Bellingham, when Tui was a new signee playing shortstop. Has it really been that long?

  48. matthew on May 8th, 2011 11:23 pm

    I bet this was how the Twins fans felt when Johan Santana had just won the Cy Young in 2004 and Liriano joined the team in 2005. In fact, I wonder if there are many similarities between the 2005 Twins and the 2011 Mariners. Might make for an interesting write up, although I’m guessing Dave’s already considered it…

    I am excited to see what Z will do with the money that falls off the books, assuming the brass keeps the budget the same — or close to what it is now. That and the teams upcoming draft, and whether or not we can sign the kid(s) quickly.

    Yeah, the team lost 2 of 3 to the terrible White Sox. I’d be okay if we hovered around .500 for the year, as long as the young guys continued to show improvement and Wedge doesn’t turn into Box Of Rocks by continuing to make illogical decisions.

  49. Adam S on May 8th, 2011 11:28 pm

    Wow, Bradley really fell off a cliff at 31. Honestly I’m surprised he never bounced back from his 2009 season.

    Glad I could help spur this thread (I think) with my tweet earlier today.

  50. SODOMOJO360 on May 8th, 2011 11:29 pm

    Mike Wilson sucks. Give it up.

    He has zero major league AB’s so why don’t you let him get a few under his belt before you jump to conclusions.

    Can he be worse than Bradley, Saunders, Langer, and Cust? I doubt it. Our only right handed power hitters vs. Lefties were Bradley, Olivo and Smoak with Smoak being the only one worth a crap so Wilson is worth a shot.

  51. Kazinski on May 9th, 2011 12:07 am

    Baker points out that Wilson is not on the 40 man roster, so someone is going to get DFA’d to open up both a 25 and 40 spot for him, so it is not Saunders.

    I really can’t see it being Langerhans, but it is possible.

  52. ppl on May 9th, 2011 12:54 am

    Yesterday it got difficult to discern between the Space Needle and the fork sticking out of Bradley.

    There is nothing sentimental going on with this situation. It is not like Junior last year. It is just the money they have to pay. They got to pay it anyways, might as well get some return from someone else who can still play.
    His replacements will come at the base salary
    anyways so let him go.

    If he somehow lands somewhere else and hits good for him.

  53. The_Waco_Kid on May 9th, 2011 2:37 am

    I don’t see why you’d DFA Bradley right now. He’s hitting okay. Sure, he is a distraction and not good for roster flexibility, but I’d settle for way less time in LF and platooning him with Cust more. For now, Bradley’s okay as a DH for a team not going anywhere this year. He just doesn’t seem like the biggest zero on the roster. (most overpaid, yes) I wouldn’t dump him quite yet. I’d wait for Guti’s return probably. I really don’t know why Olivo ever starts against righties or why we couldn’t have paid Bard a lot less to do at least as well as Olivo has. Not that we’d DFA Olivo, so how about Ray? Wedge never uses him anyway and thank God for that.

  54. Paul B on May 9th, 2011 6:28 am

    Honestly I could see them cutting Ray to add Wilson and then flipping Saunders

    +2. Larry Stone had an interview with Wedge in the Sunday Paper, or at least a quote from him, and sounded like they were thinking of going with reducing the bullpen by 1 pitcher, since they have 3 relievers right now that aren’t getting any work.

  55. JH on May 9th, 2011 10:50 am

    That list of free agents is majorly depressing, to be honest, considering that the M’s are realistically needing a couple of hitters for DH/LF AND a 3B, none of which have obvious candidates in the farm system.

    So much for “ZOMG when Bradley’s salary falls off the Mariners will be able to contend!!111?. Sigh.

    There’s more ways to spend money than on free agents.

  56. JH on May 9th, 2011 10:52 am

    Am I the only person left who thinks Willy Aybar would be good if given a full-time job? He’s not a great fit for the park, but he can be had for nothing (didn’t get a job this off-season). Give him a minor league deal, have him learn how to play OF for a month in Triple-A, then call him up and see what he can do.

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