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Mariners’ new manager has an ugly history with Milton Bradley

Oct 18, 2010, 2:49 PM EDT

eric wedge and milton bradley indians

Now that Eric Wedge has been hired as the Mariners’ new manager Milton Bradley’s odds of playing a second season in Seattle are seemingly extremely slim. That is if they weren’t extremely slim already, of course.

Back in 2003 the Indians had Wedge as their manager and Bradley as their center fielder, and while the team wasn’t very good Bradley had one of the best seasons of his career, hitting .321/.421/.501 in 101 games.

He also reportedly clashed with Wedge on numerous occasions and their poor relationship boiled over the next spring when Wedge pulled Bradley from a spring training game for failing to run out a pop up that dropped for a hit. Bradley was barred from the Indians’ spring training complex after reportedly wearing a t-shirt in the clubhouse that read “F*** Eric Wedge” and was traded to the Dodgers a short time later.

In other words, Eric Wedge knows all about life with Milton Bradley and I can’t imagine he wants to re-live the 2003/2004 experience at his new job. Of course, the Mariners’ ability to get rid of Bradley is another issue. They have him in the first place because they agreed take him back from the Cubs in exchange for Carlos Silva’s bloated contract last offseason and since then Bradley turned in the worst year of his career, hitting .205/.292/.348 in 73 games.

He had essentially zero value–and perhaps even negative value–last offseason, so after a terrible, injury filled year the Mariners may be forced to simply cut him loose and eat the $12 million he’s owed in 2011. If they can get anything for him, or even swap him for another bad contract, general manager Jack Zduriencik and company would no doubt jump at the chance. Anything short of that would be setting Wedge up for trouble from Day 1.

  1. pandaclaus - Oct 18, 2010 at 2:56 PM

    Let’s hope that Bradley doesn’t show up at Wedge’s introductory presser wearing that t-shirt… On the other hand, it could make things pretty interesting.

  2. BC - Oct 18, 2010 at 3:10 PM

    I don’t know what they see in Wedge anyway. Had only one good year in Cleveland.

  3. IdahoMariner - Oct 18, 2010 at 3:32 PM

    I’m still not sure why the Mariners chose Wege…but your take presumes absolutely no personal growth on the part of either party in seven years. Apparently I’m in a “can’t we all just get along” mood today, but even on my cynical days I like to think people are capable of some change.

    On the other hand, I can’t imagine Wedge would take the job unless he knew 1) Milton had changed and there should be no trouble or 2) Milton would be traded or cut loose.

  4. Detroit Michael - Oct 18, 2010 at 3:36 PM

    If the Mariners can get a 922 OPS from Bradley + conflicts with manager, that would easily beat their expectations today. Unfortunately for them, the “conflicts with manager” part of that formula is much more likely to be repeated.

  5. Jonny 5 - Oct 18, 2010 at 3:54 PM

    I blame this on his parents. Imagine the abuse he took as a child with that name??? It sure as hell probably made him look at Hungry Hungry hippos in an entirely negative way. That’s enough to mess any kid up.

    • Old Gator - Oct 18, 2010 at 6:59 PM

      They probably called him “wedgie” and that in turn made any kid who came up behind him problematic. Especially a bigger one.

      • proudlycanadian - Oct 18, 2010 at 9:23 PM

        Sounds like a case of mistaken identity. Jonny was probably referring to Milton.

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