Seattle gets Bradley from Cubs for Silva
SEATTLE – Mercurial outfielder Milton Bradley was traded to the Seattle Mariners from the Chicago Cubs on Friday for expensive and underperforming pitcher Carlos Silva.
The dual dumping, which came together in 48 hours, got rid of headaches for each team – yet has the potential of creating new ones in each city.
Chicago also received $9 million from the Mariners as part of the swap. Silva has $25 million remaining on his contract and Bradley has $22 million left on his deal.
Chicago has been wanting to trade Bradley since the Cubs suspended him for the final two weeks of last season, shortly after he criticized the atmosphere surrounding a team that hasn’t won a World Series since 1908.
General manager Jim Hendry said Friday he regrets signing the fiery outfielder to a $30 million, three-year contract. Bradley hit just .257 with 40 RBIs last season.
“I bear the responsibility for that not working out,” Hendry said during a conference call. “Obviously, in this case, it did not work out how we planned, which was also the reason I sent Milton home. (That’s) not going to be tolerated, to treat our fans, teammates and members of the media the way he did.
“It’s just time to put it behind us and move forward.”
Seattle, which has never even appeared in a World Series, didn’t expect to find a suitor for Silva. He has done little except lose and get hurt in the two seasons since he signed a $48 million, four-year contract.
Silva won five games in two years with the Mariners. They will now pay more to Chicago to shed the albatross of a contract second-year Mariners general manager Jack Zduriencik inherited from predecessor Bill Bavasi.
Zduriencik’s third splashy move in three days was to add more offense following his acquisition of ace Cliff Lee in a trade with Philadelphia and the signing All-Star infielder Chone Figgins.
After years of run-ins, Bradley was suspended for one game last season after arguing with umpire Larry Vanover when he was called out on strikes with the bases loaded April 16. That, by the way, was his first at-bat at Wrigley Field as a Cub.
In June, he got sent home by manager Lou Piniella during a game against the White Sox after he threw his helmet and attacked a water cooler following a popout. The Cubs finally decided they had enough in September, after he criticized the team in a suburban newspaper.
Seattle believes clubhouse leader Ken Griffey Jr. and Figgins will be able to rein in Bradley’s “passion” in a productive way. The Mariners repeatedly have proclaimed they want players of high character with good attitudes, citing Figgins as the latest example on Tuesday.
They also wanted another bat.
“We were in search of a middle-of-the-lineup guy for quite some time,” Zduriencik said.
Seattle’s GM characterized Bradley’s fire as a passion to win. He said he got nothing but good reports on Bradley going back his minor-league career a decade ago. Zduriencik specifically relied upon the input from two former coaches of Bradley: current Mariners bench coach Ty Van Burkleo, who was with Bradley in Oakland in 2007, and performance coach Steve Hecht, who had the outfielder in Texas in 2008.
The 31-year-old Bradley was an All-Star that year as a designated hitter with the Rangers. He led the AL in on-base percentage while batting a career high-tying .321 during a relatively event-free year. That was followed by the tumultuous season with the Cubs.
“It’s a new day, new way for this guy,” Zduriencik said.
He said Bradley will likely play left field and perhaps share designated hitter with Griffey on a team that last season went 85-77 following a 101-loss year.
“What we know is that he is a good person, that he is a very intelligent guy, that he has a strong desire to win,” Zduriencik said.
Zduriencik said Bradley told him Friday morning, “When I saw the Seattle thing I said, ‘OK, this would be fun.”‘
“He realizes where we’re headed here, and he wants to be a part of it,” Zduriencik said. “We’re going to welcome him with open arms.”
The hefty, 30-year-old Silva appeared in eight games for Seattle this year while missing most of the season with a bad pitching shoulder, after he had devoted himself to yoga and a better diet. He went from 285 pounds to 250, yet was a 1-3 with an 8.60 ERA.
Silva was 5-18 with a 6.81 ERA in two seasons with Seattle after leaving Minnesota.
“I think this deal helps us in a lot of ways,” Hendry said of his Cubs. “Hopefully, Mr. Silva will get back to where he was a few years ago. He was a quality free agent when he left the Twins.”
AP Sports Writer Andrew Seligman in Chicago contributed to this report.
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