Milton Bradley could wind up being a $12 million problem for the Mariners if his services are retained.
It's fair to say that on the diamond Milton Bradley has been given his fair share of chances. Bradley has worn out his welcome with the Cleveland Indians, Los Angeles Dodgers, Oakland Athletics, San Diego Padres, Texas Rangers and Chicago Cubs already. Anyone with knowledge of Bradley's career would safely assume that he is a ticking time bomb, waiting to destroy the Seattle Mariners and their clubhouse.
Entering spring training, Bradley was expected to compete for the starting job in left field for the Mariners. Bradley has been a productive hitter throughout his career when he is healthy, and he appears healthy so far in spring games this year.
The negative attention that follows Bradley, and the huge distraction that will hang over his head for the duration of the 2011 season as he deals with legal proceedings and his pending divorce are too much to justify keeping Bradley on the 25-man roster for the Mariners, however.
Too many red flags have popped up to reasonably think that Bradley will make it through the entire season without any incidents that would be a detriment to a Seattle clubhouse that could post multiple young impressionable prospects by midseason.
New manager Eric Wedge and Bradley have a history of conflict dating back to their time together in Cleveland. The situation became so bad between the two that Cleveland was forced to make a decision between the two, eventually sending Bradley to the Los Angeles Dodgers. Bradley claims the feud is behind him and he is ready to move on.
Should Mariners keep Milton Bradley on the roster?
On January 18, Bradley was arrested in Los Angeles on charges that he made felony threats to his wife Monique. The Marines responded at the time with the standard team response that they were still learning all the facts, and take the matter very seriously. Although he was served with a restraining order on January 24, it did not appear that Bradley would wind up facing criminal charges in the matter, and would remain with the Mariners for the 2011 season to play out his contract.
Radaronline.com reported earlier this morning more details of the events that transpired leading up to the January 18 arrest. While in New York for New Year's Eve, Bradley and his wife apparently began an argument that quickly escalated into a case of spousal abuse.
Regarding the event, Monique Bradley says, "Milton cursed and yelled at me for approximately five minutes and then he grabbed a glass from off the coffee table and threw it directly at my head from across the room.
"The glass shattered on my head and I started to bleed. As soon as Milton saw me bleeding, he started crying and begging me to forgive him. He stated that he lost it and that he would kill himself if I left him. I did not know what to do."
According to the documents, Monique was in the bathroom attempting to stop the bleeding when hotel security reported to the room. Milton opened the door and informed them that everything was alright, and Monique never went to a hospital.
Monique Bradley filed for divorce from Milton on February 16 citing irreconcilable differences.
Bradley has a meeting with the Los Angeles city attorney on March 9. The Los Angeles city attorney will have no jurisdiction over the incidents in New York, however the meeting is a result of the domestic case between Bradley and his wife. No reports of pending charges in the New Year's eve have come forward, with the exception of his wife's divorce filing.
This is just the most recent in a string of run-ins with the law, though.
In 2004 Bradley was arrested for allegedly confronting a police officer in Ohio. Bradley pleaded guilty to a lesser charge and was sentenced to three days in jail for the incident. Later that same year he was charged with failure to comply after driving away from police after failing to sign a speeding ticket.
While with the Dodgers in 2005 Bradley threw a plastic water bottle at a fan, and also confronted a Los Angeles Times reporter in the clubhouse.
Bradley had run-ins with his managers in Cleveland, Oakland and Chicago, wearing out his welcome each time. His frequent clashes with Chicago manager Lou Piniella led to him being traded to Seattle before the beginning of the 2010 season.
Bradley has never been able to control his emotions on the field and has found himself to be a distraction at every stop. Presumably his personal life never factored into his emotional outbursts.
Any baseball implications aside, this is a terrible situation for Milton Bradley's family. It would be hard to argue in Bradley's defense were his wife seeking sole custody without visitation; however, this is not the case. In her filing she is asking for spousal support, as well as legal and physical custody of the children, however she is granting Milton visitation rights.
How will Bradley deal with the mental strain that will result from losing his marriage and everyday interaction with his children?
With an existing history of problems between himself and new manager Eric Wedge and his history of past incidents in every city where he has played; the situation appears to be a ticking time bomb with his ex-wife now pouring lighter fluid around the perimeter.
That $12 million is a large check to write to tell a player to go home, or in this case go find another home, but it is a small price to pay to avoid the damage that Bradley can cause when he finally does explode.