After making major moves this offseason by acquiring 3B Chone Figgins and P Cliff Lee, the Seattle Mariners made another move that will hopefully pay off in the long run.
They allowed the Chicago Cubs to dump controversial outfielder Milton Bradley on them.
Bradley, an All-Star in 2008, was traded to the Mariners for P Carlos Silva and cash.
Yes, he will be more productive than Silva (5-18, 6.81 ERA during two seasons with Seattle...55-26, 4.31 ERA during previous six seasons). This trade shows how desperate the Cubs were to get Bradley out of town.
In September 2007 while with the San Diego Padres, Bradley tore his ACL while being restrained from charging an umpire by manager Bud Black.
Home plate umpire Brian Runge told Bradley that first base ump Mike Winters felt that Bradley had thrown his bat at Winters in a previous at-bat.
When Bradley reached first base, he called Winters out on it. Winters cursed at Bradley, and Bradley had to be restrained.
While being restrained, he fell to the ground, causing the injury. Bradley would miss the last week of the season, in which the Pads would lose their grip on the NL West and lose a one game playoff to the Colorado Rockies for the division crown.
Winters was suspended for the remainder of the season. Bradley was not, mainly because Bradley did not make contact with Winters.
In 2008, while with the Texas Rangers, Bradley left the dugout looking to confront Kansas City Royals announcer Ryan Lefebvre.
Bradley felt that Lefebvre made "unfair comments" about him. Manager Ron Washington and GM Jon Daniels chased Bradley down before he could find Lefebvre.
Bradley, in tears, later said that Lefebvre had no right to judge him because Lefebvre didn't know him.
Hopefully, he won't hunt me down.
In 2009, while with the Chicago Cubs, Bradley was suspended for the final two weeks of the season for conduct detrimental to the team.
He was quoted as saying there is "negativity" with the organization and and "you understand why they [Cubs] haven't won in 100 years here."
The Mariners are taking a huge risk by acquiring Bradley. Although he has put up some decent numbers (.277, 115 HR, 439 RBI in 10 seasons), Bradley is a gamble.
History shows that the "change of scenery" method hasn't worked with Bradley. He hasn't lasted longer than two full seasons with any one team.
He is also in the second year of a three-year $30 million deal. If Bradley has another trademark season, he will be hard to trade and expensive to cut.
What Bradley needs to do in Seattle is keep his nose clean and play the game.
If Bradley regains his all-star form of 2008, fans will forgive him for his controversial actions of the past and ultimately embrace him.
Bradley has the opportunity to make Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik look like a genius.
The Mariners are gearing up to make a run for the World Series this season. They have brought hometown favorite Ken Griffey, Jr., back for another season as he tries to win a ring.
They have Felix Hernandez (19-5, 2.49 ERA, 217 K) and Cliff Lee (36-16, 2.89 ERA, 531 K last two seasons) at the top of their rotation. They brought in Chone Figgins (.298, 42 SB) to complement Ichiro (.352, 225 H).
The Mariners needed to bring in another big bat to complement 1B Russ Branyon (.251, 31 HR, 76 RBI), 2B Jose Lopez (.272, 25 HR, 96 RBI), and CF Franklin Gutierrez (.283, 18 HR, 70 RBI).
Seattle, who won 24 more games in 2009 than in 2008, have made some serious upgrades, and will be a very dangerous team this season.
The Mariners have a lot riding on this season. Cliff Lee is in the final year of his contract. This will likely be Griffey's last MLB season.
Seattle has the dubious distinction of being one of three MLB teams (Washington and Texas) to never make it the World Series.
If the Mariners hope to succeed this season, they will need to take risks.
Hopefully, the Bradley trade will not ultimately cost the Mariners their season.