Four Things You Have to Know about the Milton Bradley Trade

Dec 18, 2009, 10:44 AM | Updated: Apr 4, 2011, 7:51 pm

by Mike Salk

The Mariners continued their campaign to make us talk about them every single day in December by trading Carlos Silva to the Cubs for Milton Bradley. Larry Stone of the Seattle Times broke the story, with the Mariners confirming the trade a couple hours later.

So many angles from which to consider this trade but let’s try to take them one by one:

The Mariners traded Carlos Silva!

This has to be the ultimate coup for Jack Zduriencik and his gang. Silva was the ultimate bad contract left over from the Bavasi era, and whether Bradley works out or not, the M’s are now free of it. Silva was set to make $24 million over the next two years. He would have earned none of it since he has not been a bona fide major league starter (let alone a highly paid one) for the past two seasons! There was a decent chance they would have cut Silva at some point to keep him from taking up a roster spot – it was yet another thing he was “eating up.” Storing him on the 60-day disabled list worked last year, but it’s hard to count on that trick for two more seasons. Bradley is due $21 million over the next two years. Getting anything for Carlos Silva – let alone something that costs less – is a minor miracle.

The Mariners traded for Milton Bradley…

No exclamation point here and for good reason. Bradley is a nice player. He is a career .277 hitter who gets on base 37% of the time and has some pop as well. In fact, he was an all star in the AL West for Texas just two years ago. Oh, and he switch hits (like Figgins).

But at the age of the 32, he’ll be on his seventh team in just ten years. That’s not an accident.

He has literally turned every clubhouse he has walked into against him.

Before he landed in Chicago last year (and was eventualy publicly benched, sent home and ripped by Lou Pinella), the Chicago Tribune put together this list of offenses, including in 2008 when he “attempted to confront Royals television announcer Ryan Lefebvre in the press box after a game due to what he believed were unfair comments made on the air. Texas manager Ron Washington and GM Jon Daniels chased after him and stopped Bradley before he got to Lefebvre.”

Can you imagine Bradley stroming the press box trying to confront Dave Niehaus or Rick Rizzs while Jack and Wak chase after him? That image alone might be worth the $21 million!

But Bradley is more useful than Silva, at least for the M’s. For problematic players like Bradley, it usually takes some time before they wreak their havoc. If he can get through one season without a problem, the M’s could conceivably cut him at some point next year since that was the likely course of action with Silva. In fact, because Silva’s contract was already a $24 million albatross, you could cut Bradley at any point and this trade still would be fine because you’d be saving $3 million!

Jack Zduriencik might be a genius

In the past few months, he has unloaded the awful contracts of Kenji Johjima and Carlos Silva. Both Bavasi-administration deals were considered unmoveable. He has added Chone Figgins (and taken him away from the Angels). He traded for the 2008 AL Cy Young winner (who was nails in the playoffs last year) while preserving most of his best prospects. And he is still in the running for some big names including Adrian Gonzalez.

Furthermore, he hasn’t given in to temptation and overpaid for guys when the bidding got out of hand. He let the Rangers pony up the cash for Rich Harden; he let the Red Sox add a fifth year for John Lackey; he let Carl Pavano return to Minnesota; and he he didn’t cave on a second year for Russell Branyan. That is patience personified!

And amazingly, Jack Z. continues to make deals that all sides involved seem happy with right after they are made. The Phillies were quite satisfied with the way the Cliff Lee turned out. And the Cubs should be happy today. They unloaded a problem and received a project. Who knows? Maybe Silva will turn it around in AAAA — whoops, I mean NL! Look at the success John Smoltz, Vincente Padilla and Brad Penny had there last year!

The Mariners won’t be seriously after Jason Bay

I assume the acquistion of Bradley means the Jason Bay sweepstakes no longer include the Mariners. Bradley should become their left fielder meaning Bay could only fit here as a DH.

Even more, that means they have solved the LF spot without spending a dime because Silva’s contract was already on the books. So, let’s say you replace Silva on the big league roster with Doug Fister. He makes $500k this year. Silva would have made $12 million and Bradley makes $9 million. You have saved $2.5 million!

Now, add that $2.5 million to the roughly $15 million you could have spent on Bay, and there should be some $17.5 you could spend on a first baseman, DH, and more starting pitching. With that cash, you could sign Branyan, Washburn, and Vlad and still have money left over for a nice reliever (like Jose Arredondo who the Angels let go). Or you could afford a high risk/high up side guy like Ben Sheets or Erik Bedard. Unbelievable .

Edit – once the info came out that the Mariners will be sending $9 million over the next two years to the Cubs, I guess I have to amend my math! Obviously, that tempers some of my excitement just a little. But, I still think this is a fantastic trade – and there still shou;d be some left over money (from not signing Bay) that the team can afford to get a legit option at first and DH.

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Four Things You Have to Know about the Milton Bradley Trade