Tag Archives: Milton Bradley

So Long, Milton

A few days ago the Mariners cut ties with Milton Bradley (he was DFA’d on Monday).  While some say that Bradley was too much of a cancer in the clubhouse, the reason Milton was let go was because of his performance on the field.

Bradley came to the Mariners a year and a half ago in a trade that involved Carlos Silva.  The move seemed brilliant at the time and gave fans even more hope that the Mariners could make a deep run in the playoffs.  Now, the move is far from glamorous.  Silva was released early in Spring Training this year and Bradley is now gone too.

The last year and a half with Bradley has been a roller coaster.  Except, this roller coasters had more sudden drop offs then normal, so it was filled with a few more lows than highs.  I don’t like roller coasters very much but I like Milton Bradley.  Milton didn’t hit like the Mariners had hoped he would and wasn’t the best outfielder (far from it, really).

Milton didn’t cause many problems here off the field, in comparison to everywhere else.  He flipped some fans in Texas the bird and left the team for a few weeks last year to seek some help last year.  This year he wore ear plugs and was ejected twice, not a huge disruption.

Milton isn’t really liked around baseball, but I thought he was going to find a niche here in Seattle.  He was away from the pressure and playing in a mellow media market.  He probably would have found a niche here if he would have been more productive.  Outside of the first week of the season though Milton couldn’t hit and that’s what cost him his job.

I’m going to miss Bradley for a few reasons.  He always had that potential of being good, and the Mariners offense isn’t good.  The Mariners offense doesn’t really have much potential to be good.  Milton gave a little hope in that light.

Far greater than that though, I’ll miss Milton’s antics on the field.  Bradley taught me that major league baseball is about entertainment more than anything else.  This goes for all sports.  Us as fans will say we tune in to watch a good game, and for some folks that is true, but more often than not we’re waiting for something to blow us away.  That can happen in a game with a no-hitter or some great other feat or it can happen as a sub-plot to the game, such as a brawl.

Kobe Bryant is one of my favorite basketball players (some of my fellow good guys probably threw up in their mouths at that statement) for the same reason that I love Milton.  When I watch Kobe, I’m entertained.  He’ll make an amazing jumper or he’ll taunt the fans (not as much anymore now that he’s matured some).  One of those things is considered pure in the game, one of them not, but they’re both entertainment.  Bradley generally did the thing that we’d consider not pure in the sports world, but it was entertainment.

I was as big of a Milton Bradley supporter as there is in this city and I will continue to be.  I hope he goes and finds help to fight his personal demons because for as entertaining as the man is, I’d rather see a man who is continually enjoying life.  We’ve seen flashes of him enjoying it, but maybe he can turn the corner.  Bradley didn’t serve us the purpose we’d hoped here in Seattle, but he left a mark on anyone who followed the team closely.  For better or worse, Milton Bradley won’t be forgotten here.



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Milton Monday

A couple of days ago a fan post came up on Lookout Landing entitled “Milton Bradley Appreciation Day.”   Naturally, I was drawn to the thread.  If you don’t have time to go look at it, the premise for the idea is that a few true Mariner fans are sick of Milton Bradley getting heckled and booed when playing at home.  Tonight they are planning to go and sit in left field and have a few Milton Bradley signs and jerseys on.  They will try to show support for this guy.  This isn’t a huge thing, but I’m fully in support of this idea.

Milton Bradley is one of my favorite baseball players.  It started last year when he was the guy who came over for Carlos Silva.  That was reason enough to like him.  Then, at the start of last year, Milton was booed vigorously in Oakland in the season opener.  Of course, Oakland fans boo everyone for some reason but the trend continued for Milton everywhere he went.  He was booed in Texas in the next series.  By the way, Milton had his best two years in the majors while in Oakland and Texas.

Bradley brought a different kind of baseball to Seattle.  I think a correct term would be “Angry Baseball.”  Yes, sometimes it set people off, but it was entertaining.  Sometimes we forget that baseball is entertainment, and on a team that was so boring, Milton added an edge.

Of course, things went downhill.  Milton had some issues last year that caused him to miss some time and then he came back and played okay (by Mariner standards).  His season was shortened by injuries and many believed that he had played his last game in a Mariner uniform.

This season he’s come back and has been one of the best Mariner hitters, granted that’s not saying much.  At the home opener, there were several fans behind who booed Milton every time he came up to bat.  I didn’t understand why and I don’t understand why Milton is treated so poorly at home that he has to wear earplugs.  What has he done to our city?  Nothing.

The same fans that boo Milton Bradley are the same ones who give Chone Figgins a nice round of applause when he steps to the plate.  In reality, Figgins has been worse on the field and worse to reporters around.  I know Milton has some problems but I think us, as fans, need to treat players fairly.  We shouldn’t boo someone on our team just because they’ve had a few problems and appear to be mad.

Without Milton, this team would have an even worse record than they do.  So, today is Milton Monday and I expect to have a few of these throughout the year.  We love you Milton and we’re glad you’re a Mariner.

Nice Milton.


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5 M’s Quick Hits

None of these points deserve a full post, because full posts on goodguyssports.com typically involve hours of research, in depth analysis, and material worth publishing. I don’t think any of these fit that bill, but please read anyway.

1) We’ve yet to mention the unbelievable comeback on Monday night. In short, the M’s were down by 7 in the 7th, at which point they had about a 0.6% chance of winning. Craziness ensued and Seattle pulled out a miraculous victory. My first thought watching this was, this is what makes baseball great. In baseball, there is no clock. So even when the M’s were down 7 in the 7th, Toronto couldn’t just milk the clock, no, because in baseball you’re required to get 27 outs, no matter how long it takes. Baseball and golf are two of my favorite sports, and neither involve time. Maybe I’m oddly attracted to this aspect.

2) It feels like every time I watch a Miguel Olivo at bat, he swings and misses at least twice. I have not seen every one of his at bats, and sometimes you draw conclusions, but the stats don’t back it up. But in this case, Olivo really does swing and miss more than any player in baseball. SWSTR% is an advanced stat that measures the percentage of strikes that are swung at, and missed. Olivo leads MLB (eligible players) by swinging and missing an astounding 24% of the time he swings at strikes. Rod Barajas is 2nd in baseball at 19%. Olivo has dominated this statistic in recent years. In fact, he has led every year since 2007. How many guys can say the’ve led baseball in a stat category 5 years running?! Jack Cust is 2nd on the M’s in SWSTR%, at 12.4%. Cust sure seems to swing and miss a lot, but Olivo still has him beat by double the whiffs.

The bottom line is when you’re a big league hitter, and you swing at a ball in the stike zone, you should make contact around 90% of the time, even if it’s just to foul it off. I’d like to watch Miguel in BP sometime, because he probably swings and misses at every 4th pitch.

3) I just found out that when you see a bunch of “K” signs tracking how many strikeouts a pitcher has, a backwards K means the batter struck out looking. I thought fans just got lazy and put them up that way. Oops.

4) When Guti returns, in a couple weeks Lord willing, the team will have a decision to make, because unless an injury, trade, or major slump occurs, there is no obvious candidate to be demoted. Those on the block include Langerhans, Saunders, Bradley, Cust, Kennedy, Rodriguez, or perhaps a bullpen arm like Wilhelmson or Ray (don’t get me started on Chris Ray). I won’t get into the implications for each guy, but at this point, it’s hard to justify demoting or cutting any of these position players, for various reasons. These things tend to work themselves out, otherwise the M’s could have a logjam in the outfield/DH position.

5) Finally, this thought came to me yesterday as I drooled watching Justin Smoak’s opposite field homerun. Where would the M’s be had Ruben Amaro (Phillies GM) not called last winter and offered Cliff Lee?
Think about it. If we hadn’t landed and then traded Lee, we would essentially have Phillippe Aumont, Tyson Gillies and Juan Ramirez (none of which are past AA), instead of Justin Smoak, Blake Beavan, Josh Lueke and Matt Lawson, plus the immeasurable joy of watching Cliff Lee for 4 months! I doubt very much if an Aumont, Gillies, Ramirez package could have landed us the coup we got from Texas. And also, if we had 101 losses with Cliff Lee 1/2 the year, how many losses might we have had without him? Yikes, that’s a disturbing thought.

It’s off to KC for our 4-8 Mariners. Oddly enough, despite a poor record, the M’s have split their first 4 series, winning 2 and losing 2. This year is hardly about wins and losses, but I would be pleased if we could somehow scratch back to .500 at some point.


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Ranking Your 2011 Mariners

The big news today is basketball related, with Isaiah Thomas announcing, rather unexpectedly, that he will indeed forgo his senior season at UW. He’s off to the NBA, which sucks for Husky fans. Time will tell whether this is a wise decision by IT, but I’m happy for him. Next year’s expectations will be lower now, and it could very well be our last year watching Terrence Ross, but the team should still be good, and contend for the conference yet again.

With that news, I’m officially closing basketball talk on the blog, until at least the draft in June. Why? Because today is opening day! As Andrew noted, things have been dry on here lately, but nothing like some M’s baseball to stir conversation. In case you have not heard, the 25 man roster is official. Looking over the team last night, I started ranking guys in my mind, and that’s what this post is all about. In addition to ranking the 25 man roster, in terms of most valuable to the team in 2011, I’m also throwing 3 more guys into the conversation: Ackley, Gutierrez, and Aardsma. The latter two are on the DL, and Ackley will probably be up sometime in June, so they belong on this list too.

    Ranking the Roster (Most Valuable to Least Valuable)

1- Felix Hernandez—He is the King of Seattle, and the best pitcher on planet Earth. Yes, Felix is the Mariners’ most valuable player. Go away trade rumors!
2- Ichiro—The team’s best hitter and most valuable everyday player. Also, the coolest Mariner ever.
3- Justin Smoak—I want to fall in love with Justin Smoak, and so does this city, but he has a lot to prove. IMHO, this guy is the lynchpin to the M’s offense in 2011.
4- Franklin Gutierrez—I fear for Guti’s long-term health with every day that passes without an explanation, but assuming this mystery stomach ailment gets treated, Guti is the team’s best defender, and a top 5 hitter, a valuable asset indeed.
5- Milton Bradley—Depending on which Milton shows up, batting 3rd, Bradley could easily lead the team in production this year. But can he stay healthy AND out of trouble? I wouldn’t bet on it.
6- Erik Bedard—Hard to argue that a guy who did not pitch last year could hold much value, but IF healthy, Bedard provides huge value to this team. And IF his spring performance is an indicator of what’s to come, his worth is as high as a #2 starter.
7- Chone Figgins—This guy had better bounce back, and I expect he will now that he’s back at 3rd and settled into Seattle. The M’s should be annoying to play, and Figgy leads that annoyance.
8- Jason Vargas—I still don’t think of Jason Vargas as a #2 starter, but he earned this spot after last season. Can he provide an encore?
9- Jack Cust—Batting clean-up for your Seattle Mariners…Jack Cust. Really? You better believe it! He will strike out a ton, but I gotta think he is an upgrade at DH, and he is an awesome interview.
10- Miguel Olivo—The team’s main acquisition this winter, Miguel can’t be worse than our catchers last season, but he must improve on his first go around in Seattle if he is to win over the fans. Continue reading

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Mariner Roster Notes

Sorry for the lack of content here lately.  I can’t speak for the other good guys, but it’s been a really busy time for me.  Luckily, the best day of the year is just around the corner.  Baseball opening day is April 1st, with the Mariners in Oakland to start the year.  The home opener is a week later on the 8th against Cleveland. 

The roster is almost set, so I thought I’d give my thoughts on a few things:

  • The biggest surprise development of camp hasn’t been a good one.  The news came early that Franklin Gutierrez has been dealing with stomach issues that likely contributed to his poor second half in 2010.  Doctors thought they had a diagnosis and treatment plan, but three weeks or so later, Guti’s not feeling any better.  It now seems likely that he’ll start the year on the disabled list.  To be honest, I’m already writing him off for the season.  He might play, but I’m not expecting a breakthrough or anything.  I hope I’m wrong, but it doesn’t seem like a good situation at all.  On the field, there are two ways to look at this.  First, Franklin from 2009 is a huge loss.  Getting him back to or past that level would have been a huge improvement to the team.  That wasn’t a given no matter how healthy he is, though, so replacing 2010 Guti shouldn’t be that hard.  He’s still excellent defensively, but I think Michael Saunders and Ryan Langerhans can provide a reasonable facsimile in that aspect.  Looking at the other outfielders not named Ichiro… Continue reading

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Your 2011 Mariners- Outfield

With the World Series over, free agency is right around the corner.  It’s coming even earlier than usual this year, so I’ll try to get through these overviews of the team before much happens.  Up next:


On the Roster

Ichiro– Ichiro had a slightly down year for him in 2010, but he was still the best offensive player on the team.  He’s one of the only players on the roster worth coming to the park to see, and there’s no reason to think he won’t be just as good and probably better next year.  Sure, he’s paid a lot, but nothing’s changing that now, so sit back and enjoy him.

Franklin Gutierrez– After a fast start, Guti joined the rest of the team in having an extremely disappointing year.  2009 Franklin is a guy to build a team around; 2010 Franklin is a borderline starter.  Now probably isn’t the time to trade him, but I’d be open to the possibility if the team has confidence in Michael Saunders and thinks he can play center.  In reality, I think he’ll be starting again in center in 2011, barring some mega-deal where he’s one of several pieces going out.  He still has a lot of potential, and the defense didn’t really dip, but the jury’s now out on Gutierrez. Continue reading

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M’s Hire Branyan’s Big Brother

Eric Wedge, not Bobby Valentine, and not Joey Cora, will be the next manager for your Seattle Mariners. A lot of fan’s first reaction is probably that once again Chuck and Howard don’t want to pay what it takes to bring in a big name, thus we are stuck with a reincarnation of Bob Melvin or Don Wakamatsu. I’ll be honest, my first reaction was how similar this guy looks to Russell Branyan (see pic below). Fans can have whatever reaction they’d like, and no one is wrong. Seattle has seen 7 managers come and go since Lou left, so at this point, Joe Torre could have been hired and some fans would still react negatively. Personally, I think Wedge is an outstanding pick. Here’s why.

The Mariners made no secret about their desire to have an experienced manager this time around. No more rookies! In addition, it seemed safe to assume that a younger guy might be on their wish list, or at least someone who can relate well with young players, because the M’s will no doubt have a plethora of youth in 2011. Furthermore, following the Wak era, I’m sure Jack Z was looking for a manager that would not take crap from anyone (cough Figgy cough). Wedge meets all of these qualifiers, not to mention a nice track record of successfully taking over a rebuilding situation, as he did in Cleveland, eventually getting them to within 1 win of the World Series. At just age 42, Wedge has quite an impressive resume. In 2002, he was hired at age 35 by the Indians, and in 7 seasons he led the tribe to a .495 win%. Not bad for Cleveland.

Yesterday I listened to both Eduardo Perez (ex-player) and Tom Hamilton (Indians announcer), both give ringing endorsements of Wedge. The interesting point that both men made was that Wedge was fired following the ’09 season for the simple reason that Indians management wanted to turn the page, and enthuse the fan base with a managerial switch. It had little to do with Wedge, and in fact, GM Mark Shapiro fought to keep Wedge. Had Cleveland held onto Cliff Lee, CC Sabathia, Victor Martinez, Franklin Gutierrez, and Brandon Phillips, Hamilton noted that “we would not be talking about Wedge in Seattle, but rather, Wedge and the Indians in the ALCS.”

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The Rebuilding Process, Years 1 & 2

    Year One

Following the disastrous 2008 season, the Mariners blew up the team, hired a new general manager, and eventually a new manager as well. Seattle was officially entering into a commonly used sports cliché, “rebuilding mode.” Jack Zduriencik wasted no time cutting bad contracts, bad draft picks, and basically any dead weight that Bill Bavasi had left behind. Entering the 2009 season, expectations were low, but excitement was building thanks to a new fresh regime. Last year’s team overachieved by most standards, thanks to a terrific record in close games, a reinvigorated team chemistry, and numerous players having career years. Needless to say, the Mariners seemed way ahead of schedule, finishing with an impressive 85-77 record. It felt like the rebuilding process might have come and gone in just 1 year.

    Year Two

Jack Zduriencik followed up the ’09 campaign by shedding the rest of the dead weight, and with new money to spend, Seattle acquired Cliff Lee, Chone Figgins, Milton Bradley, and a couple other role players. A year after expectations were low and playoff talk was not even on the radar, suddenly the 2010 season began with renewed hope and fans were encouraged to “Believe Big.” We all know how this year has unfolded. The close game fortune from last year is gone, the Griffey reunion lasted a year too long, and instead of career bests from numerous players, we are witnessing career worst performances by many. The rebuilding process we had hoped might last just 1 year is still in process. For a moment, Zduriencik saw a shortcut out of rebuild mode, but that crack was quickly closed. It was a risk worth taking, because legitimate shots at the playoffs don’t come often. A failed attempt, such as what we are seeing unfold, is upsetting, but probably won’t set the team back much. Cliff Lee is sure to be traded shortly, and the package Zduriencik gets in return will likely outweigh the 3 prospects that Seattle sent to the Phillies for Lee, and once the 2010 season is buried, Zduriencik will continue to build.

The bad contracts have been shed, the foundation has been laid, and despite this lost, tumultuous, depressing season, the Mariners are probably still on track to accomplish the long term goals that were set back in November, 2008. The high expectations heading into 2010 can easily distract us from the big picture, and while there is a lot to be frustrated about at the current moment, when looking at the full view, it’s really not that bad given where this team was just 2 years ago.



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