Milton Bradley Traded to Mariners; Johnny Damon's Tenure with Yankees Over?

Nick PoustCorrespondent IIDecember 19, 2009

CHICAGO - AUGUST 28: Milton Bradley #21 of the Chicago Cubs hits the ball against the New York Mets on August 28, 2009 at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois. The Cubs defeated the Mets 5-2. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
The Seattle Mariners, having already signed third baseman Chone Figgins and acquired starting pitcher Cliff Lee this offseason, took a huge gamble, trading the horrid Carlos Silva to the Cubs for the dysfunctional Milton Bradley. They hope they don't get this version.

Milton Bradley has had his problems. He tore his ACL aggressively arguing with umpire Mike Winters as a member of the San Diego Padres in September 2007, and attempted to confront Kansas City Royals announcer Ryan Lefebvre following a 2008 contest while with the Texas Rangers because of comments made on the air he deemed unfair.

Then this past season with the Chicago Cubs, uncomfortable with the way he was treated and portrayed, he lashed out at the team, saying “you understand why they haven’t won in a hundred years.”

He referred to his team as “they”, meaning he, in the first year of a three-year contract worth $30 million, did not feel a part of the organization.

The Cubs front office had had enough of his comments and attitude. Therefore, despite his undeniable talent, they sought to get rid of him via trade, hoping to find a possible destination for him and his contract.

After searching and searching, Chicago found a trade partner, the Seattle Mariners. The Mariners had the perfect player to send to the Cubs, too.

In 2007 with the Minnesota Twins, a contract year, a 28-year old Carlos Silva had a losing record, 13-14, but was extremely durable, throwing 202 innings over the course of 33 starts, while posting a decent 4.19 ERA.

He was richly awarded for his efforts by the Mariners, but given far more money than he deserved. Seattle signed him to a 4-year contract worth $48 million. Since that deal, he has been dreadful, compiling just a 5-18 record in 34 starts during the past two seasons, adding a horrible 7.53 ERA.

The Mariners had no use for a pitcher of his mediocrity, someone who doesn’t collect a lot of strikeouts and allows a lot of hits. He will make $25 million over the final two years of his contract, and, desperately wanting him off their roster and off their books, the Mariners found a way to trade the awful for the troubled.

But despite their downsides, there is tremendous upside to both Bradley and Silva. If Bradley is happy and can stay out of trouble, he’ll hit upwards of .290, swat around 20 homers, drive in 75-80 runs, and reach base in the 37-40 percentile.

If Silva can stay healthy, he has the ability to throw 200-plus innings. He will rarely walk the opposition, accumulate 12-14 wins, and have an ERA in the 4’s. Both are considered just bad contracts, but Bradley is clearly more superior, and therefore Seattle is the big winner of the deal.

In other news, the New York Yankees answered the Boston Red Sox signing of Mike Cameron by signing their own veteran, but not the one I imagined them signing. Nick Johnson was inked to a one-year, $5.5 million to serve as their designated hitter.

Johnson, who played for the Yankees from 2001-2003, has been a solid hitter throughout his career. Like Bradley, he has the ability to bat .290 and get on base at a 40 percent clip.

This past season with the Washington Nationals and Florida Marlins, he hit .292 with 8 homers, 62 rbi’s, 24 doubles, and an on-base percentage of .426. The Yankees shouldn’t expect much power out of Johnson, but with the other options in their lineup, just a sound hitter filling the DH-role will suffice.

But what does this mean for free-agent Johnny Damon ? The 36-year-old was New York’s left fielder from 2006 through 2009, and was an integral part of their success in winning a world championship this past season.

He had one of his better years in the league, scoring 107 times, hitting 24 homers, plating 82 runs, and clubbing 26 doubles while batting .292 and toting a respectable on-base percentage of .365.

Why would they sign Johnson instead of the much better and more versatile Damon? Money.

Damon is represented by Scott Boras, who asks for far too much for his clients. Through Boras, Damon said he wanted a three-year deal worth at least as much annually as he made in 2009, which was $13 million.

The Yankees didn’t want him at that price, nor did they want to give that kind of yearly commitment to someone of his age. So, they started negotiations with Johnson, slimming the chances of Damon returning.

The left fielder wanted to return, however, but it was too late. He lowered his demand in recent days, asking for a two-year deal worth $22 million , but New York said no to his proposal. Then, he decreased the deal even further, making one final stab to remain a Yankee, asking for two years at $20 million .

By this time, New York was in heavy negotiations with Johnson, so his efforts were all for naught. New York moved on, and now Damon will have to as well.