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Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome to the stage … The Amazing Jack Z!

Dec 18, 2009, 1:52 PM EDT

I’m now fairly convinced that Mariners general manager Jack Zduriencik is some sort of magician.
In his first year on the job he overhauled Seattle’s defense, cut dead weight from the previous regime, brought in nice low-cost pickups, and watched the team go from 61-101 to 85-77.
Not satisfied with that 24-game improvement Zduriencik began his second offseason in Seattle by swinging a blockbuster for Cliff Lee, adding one of the elite pitchers in baseball to a rotation that was already headed by Felix Hernandez.
And now he’s somehow talked the Cubs into taking Carlos Silva in exchange for Milton Bradley.
To be clear, at this point Bradley ranks somewhere between “massive headache” and “team-wrecking insanity.” That and the $21 million he’s owed over the next two seasons obviously gave him negative trade value. In order to get rid of him the Cubs had to not only accept zero value in return for Bradley, but absorb a similarly horrible contract. And boy did they! Silva is owed $25 million over the next two seasons, of which the Mariners will reportedly cover only $9 million, and unlike Bradley he has close to zero on-field value.
Whatever you think about Bradley as a person and teammate he remains a talented player, and even in a career-worst mess of a season hit .257/.378/.397. The year prior he hit .321/.436/.563 to lead the AL in on-base percentage and OPS. Silva, on the other hand, logged a grand total of 30 innings (with a nifty 8.60 ERA) in 2009 after going 4-15 with a 6.46 ERA in 2008. At best Silva is a fifth starter and at worst he should be at Triple-A. At best Bradley is among MLB’s better hitters and at worst he’s still a switch-hitting OBP threat.
Assuming that Bradley’s mere presence in Seattle won’t ruin everything that Zduriencik has accomplished in his first year-plus on the job the Mariners’ boss has just pulled off another brilliant move. Zduriencik ditched a nearly useless player owed $25 million for a perfectly useful player owed $22 million. And if Bradley proves too much of a hassle, the Mariners can always simply release him and get zero value for the money, which is exactly where they would’ve been with Silva anyway.
What will The Amazing Jack Z do for his next trick? It sounds like he’ll sign Franklin Gutierrez to a multi-year contract, keeping one of his finest pickups and one of MLB’s most underrated players in Seattle long term. And after that perhaps he’ll swap Brandon Morrow for another hitter, further boosting a lineup that ranked dead last in scoring despite the team’s overall success. At this point every fan should hope their favorite team isn’t on the other end of the phone calls shopping Morrow. Jack Z is pulling bunnies out of hats like crazy.

  1. ecp - Dec 18, 2009 at 2:12 PM

    I clearly underestimated how impossible it must have been to unload Bradley for Jim Hendry; I actually thought they could get something of some small value for him…as opposed to Carlos Silva, who the Cubs would be better off telling to just go away. Astounding.

  2. ecp - Dec 18, 2009 at 2:21 PM

    I really should have said “impossible for Jim Hendry to unload Bradley” – the way it’s written it sounds like Bradley was swapped for Hendry!

  3. Joe - Dec 18, 2009 at 2:57 PM

    Bradley is of no value to the cubs and Silva is of no value to either team. The real question is if Bradley is worth an extra 6 million over the next 2 seasons.

  4. J. McCann - Dec 18, 2009 at 5:36 PM

    There is a chance that Silva could give some you some almost average innings in the National (minor) League.
    Also a bit shocked they could not do better for Bradley, but 6M and a pitcher who might get SOME outs is something.

  5. archilochusColubris - Dec 18, 2009 at 5:47 PM

    And the real answer is yes.

  6. Jeremy - Dec 18, 2009 at 6:18 PM

    “Bradley is of no value to the cubs and Silva is of no value to either team. The real question is if Bradley is worth an extra 6 million over the next 2 seasons.”
    That’s looking at things the wrong way though. The M’s viewed Silva as a completely sunk cost. They were not going to get any kind of return on that money.
    So for 3 Million extra a year, they turned that sunk cost into Milton Bradley. They got a player who fills a big need, and the only impact on this years budget was 3 million dollars. That’s incredible.

  7. GonzoBlogger - Dec 18, 2009 at 6:44 PM

    The M’s fans here are in ecstasy. After our GM’s next move for a first baseman, we’re planning to rename our fine city, Z-attle.

  8. John F - Dec 18, 2009 at 7:08 PM

    Bradley is a jerk in the wrong clubhouse, but nobody can question his talent. His heart maybe, but not his talent. I know the Yankees know better than to poison their clubhouse, but seeing this deal makes you wonder if Kei Igawa could have gotten the job done as well. Bradley was and is probably unflippable, but talk about your sunk cost (Igawa). I wonder if any thought was ever given to swapping this guy for Igawa and maybe flipping him for a bit player like Gary Matthews Jr provided the salaries and years are levelled off. I know Matthews Jr hates sitting on the bench, but that looks like his lot in life going forward. He probably wouldn’t be the same thorn in the manager’s side he is in Anaheim and he could be a nice bench player for somebody and he can’t complain about being underpaid. Just curious…

  9. Joe - Dec 18, 2009 at 7:29 PM

    Bradley’s performance with the cubs was predictable; as will be his performance with the mariners. The mariners would be better off taking the sunk cost of bradley’s additional 6 million now before he infects the clubhouse and alienates the fan base.

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  11. Dovonex - Feb 13, 2010 at 6:53 AM

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