On the heels of an all-star season, the Cubs signed Milton Bradley to a three-year deal – GM Jim Hendry knowing that it could implode as quickly as I eat a bag of M&Ms. After three good seasons in four – not great, but good – the Mariners gave $48 million to Carlos Silva hoping he would eat as many innings as I eat M&Ms as a member of the Seattle rotation.
Neither idea worked out. Bradley’s performance slipped and his attitude sunk, eventually blaming fans and the media and the Cubs of a variety of things including a bad atmosphere, racism, and the ghost of Mike Royko. Silva won all of five games, losing nearly twenty, served up more hits than Motown, and and made Mariners fans long for the days of Mike Moore.
Sometimes a change of scenery (and cash) makes things better. So, now Carlos Silva is a member of the Cubs and Milton Bradley is a Mariner.
Look – this can work for the Mariners if Bradley chooses to play and enjoy his last chance (this is, what, his eighth team in nine major league seasons?). He can hit – he can still run a little, but his fielding isn’t what you’d like it to be. I mean, Bradley is a better hitter than Silva is a pitcher. Bradley has a little power, is patient (at least at the plate), and can hit for a nice average.
Silva, however, is a big time question mark. He throws strikes and he throws a hard sinker. I watched his last few outings in 2009 after he came back from a shoulder injury and it seemed to me that he was leaving his pitches up – way up – and that’s going to lead to a lot of homers. Shouldn’t a guy who throws a hard sinker be getting burrowing grounders all day? At best, he’s a spot starter and long reliever for the Cubs – assuming he really is healthy.
Anyway – two of the worst free agent signings of the last few years are going to get a second (eighth?) chance. Good luck to both of them.
Meanwhile, the Mariners resigned outfielder Ryan Langerhans to a one-year, $525K deal… I wonder how much playing time he’ll get with Bradley on the roster? If he’s ever going to break out, this would be the right season.
Glad to Have You Around!
The Phillies picked up the 2011 option year for Jimmy Rollins, keeping their gold glove shortstop around at least two more seasons. Rollins will make $7.5 million in 2010, and $8.5 million in 2011. [ESPN]
Scott Rolen agreed to defer $5 million (as a signing bonus) of what would have been the last year of his contract in 2009 in exchange for two additional years at $6.5 million guaranteed. The Reds had hoped to work with Rolen because (a) they wanted more financial flexibility in 2010 and (b) they liked having Rolen on the team. [ESPN]
I Guess We’re Stuck With You:
Mike Lowell’s injured thumb will require surgery. This means that the trade between the Red Sox and Rangers, which would have sent Mike Lowell and enough cash to cover 75% of his salary to Texas for catching prospect Max Ramirez, is now over. At least until Spring Training… [MLB]
One of the great lists of birthdays in terms of interesting people and legends of baseball so rather than point out one person who stands above the rest, I’ll just go with the list…
Harry Stovey (1856), Jimmy Williams (1876)… Jimmy Williams was Rube Waddell’s teammate three different times, so I have a pretty good grasp of his career. When he first started, he was a pretty good hitting third baseman. When the league changed the foul/strike rule his batting average fell some, but he was still okay for most of the first decade of the last century. He famously struggled in the 1900 postseason with a ton of throwing errors (something he struggled with his first two years in Pittsburgh), which hastened his move from third base to second base. Williams was the first Pirate stolen in the NL/AL wars when the AL first got started, signing with Baltimore (who became the Yankees) and helped immensely when they made their surprise run in the 1904 season. He eventually moved to St. Louis where he helped the Browns in the 1908 pennant race. When he couldn’t hit AL pitching, Williams played successfully in the American Association where he was a star for the Minneapolis Millers…
Continuing… Branch Rickey (1881), Fred Merkle (1888), Gabby Hartnett (1900), Spud Davis (1904), Julio Becquet (1931), Oscar Gamble and Cecil Cooper (1949), Jose DeLeon (1960), Aubrey Huff (1976), David DeJesus (1979), and David Wright (1982). I mean – that’s a lot of major league talent and historical people…
Turns out that Sammy Sosa won’t be sued after all – a judge threw out a case brought against Sosa by a business associate for insufficient evidence. [ESPN]