"He's done." The words of KPLU sports commentator Art Thiel when asked about the professional future of Milton Bradley. The Mariners cut ties with the controversial outfielder this week.
Known for his hot temper on and off the field, as well as other personal problems, Bradley has played for eight teams in his Major League career - five in five years. While you would think the Mariners are relieved to be rid of him, Art says there are no winners here.
Bradley wasn't hitting well this season and had made several errors in the field recently. He was ejected twice in the past six games.
In addition to the anger he showed on the field, Bradley was arrested this past winter for making criminal threats against his wife. He wasn't charged. His wife has now filed for divorce. Last season, Bradley took a few weeks off to deal with some personal problems. He later said those problems included thoughts of suicide.
Baseball Field No Longer His Sanctuary
Art has some insight into Bradley's troubles, having talked with him last year. He said being a professional baseball player defined Bradley - it seemed to be all he had.
"He regarded the ballpark as his sanctuary. And he felt more comfortable there than he did out in public where people would hector him or harass him. He'd get very upset and couldn't manage his emotions. Well, this year he started wearing earplugs even at the home stadium. So, Milton wasn't dealing very well in his sanctuary either."
Mariners Stuck Paying $12 Million Salary
The Mariners are forced to "eat" Bradley's $12 million salary this season. It was part of a guaranteed contract they inherited when they traded troubled pitcher Carlos Silva to the Chicago Cubs in exchange for Bradley just over a year ago.
Art says this really cripples the team. $12 million is roughly 15% of the team's payroll. It keeps them from going after a hot prospect in a trade.
What's Next for Milton Bradley?
Professionally, Art says he's done. He doesn't think any team will want to touch him. Personally, Art says that's the big question mark.
"I don't know what Milton's demons are. I think that he doesn't know what they are and until he comes to grips with them, he's always going to be a mystery."
You can find Art Thiel's work at Sportspress Northwest.
Related link: Mariners in Awkward Position With Milton Bradley