Sunday, January 23, 2011

The Milton Bradley Conundrum

So it turns out Milton Bradley is a bad guy.  Shocker of shockers. 

Yeah, we moved him to a friendly (or mildly retarded in some print cases...cough cough, Baker, cough cough) media in Seattle. 

We fans, for the most part gave him a big wet hug upon arrival as he was replacing the dead cow named Carlos Silva and at least Milton Bradley was in no way directly related to Bill Bavasi's ineptitude. 

We put him through the "belief system". 

We sent him to therapy.

We failed.

He failed.

He's busted, and there's not much that anyone can do about it.

The weird situation the M's find themselves in is whether or not they should pay him over $11 million dollars to play or if they should pay him over $11 million dollars to go away.  The questions the M's brass have to answer include a choose your own adventure kind of model:

Can he contribute in a unique way better than another player we currently have?  If no, cut him loose, cut your losses.  After all, what's the point?  If he can't contribute any better than anyone else, why keep the baggage?  If yes, then it creates new questions.

If he can contribute in a unique way, is it in a way that makes this team anywhere close to playoff contention?  The issue here is, if he is say, one win better than any other baby on the farm, or Jody Gerut for that matter, is that one win worth a damn?  Does that make the Mariners a 79 win team instead of 78?  If so, better to give the kids a shot.  If this makes the team an 85 win team versus 84, well then we have some teeth gnashing to do, because who the heck knows if 85 is enough for a wild card slot.

Milton Bradley has zero future in Seattle, and if he's only going to make this team as good, or perhaps a tick better, than any other player with a future in Seattle then it really doesn't make any good sense to keep him around if your team isn't playoff bound. 

Thus, if the answer is "no" I say you still cut your losses.  If yes, then it creates another set of questions.

If he can contribute in a unique way and if he can contribute in a way that makes this team anywhere close to playoff contention, does his presence hurt the public relations of the team?  If no, well, continue on.  If yes, well then it's a matter of degree that probably relates to the answer of #2.  Just how much does the team think he can help them get to the playoffs?

If he can contribute in a unique way and if it's in a way that makes the team close to playoff contenders and it isn't a public relations nightmare because the team is winning, is it worth waiting for the ticking time bomb that is Milton Bradley?  That is, he's going to have an episode.  He has just about everywhere he has been.  How bad that episode is, who knows - but it could be a massive distraction for the team as well as a public relations mess.

Honestly, if I have to look at his situation objectively, I say you keep him around for Spring Training because without question nobody else is going to take him right now and the #1 thing that Milton Bradley will provide in Spring Training is a distraction from Josh Lueke being invited to camp.  Lueke has a future with the Mariners and we've all read his police report a dozen times and you are either comfortable with Josh Lueke or not, but the fact remains that he's likely to make the team and probably be quite good. Having Bradley around will give the yellow journalists out there, and there are many, some fodder to sell rags in their traditional way instead of re-hashing the unfortunate case of Josh Lueke, which simply has not changed since it happened and therefore it's old news.  Bradley presents new news as he's just constantly reinventing himself as a shape-shifting asshole.  If that's how we spend our $11 million dollars, then maybe it's a fine investment for the Spring. 

If Bradley somehow has a monster Spring well then great, the M's can decide if they can move him, cut him,  or if they want to keep him at that time.  But cutting him before that seems like it's just trying to polish up an organizational image that really shouldn't be judged by Milton Bradley as he was the unfortunate answer to an albatross contract that Buzzie's kid should still be embarrassed by.

But my guess is they unload him in a couple weeks.  I guess we'll see.  If they do, I won't cry, but I think it's an opportunity missed.

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