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No winners after Mariners cut Milton Bradley

Elaine Thompson
Milton Bradley watches from the dugout during a game at Safeco Field in April 2011. Note the earplugs. KPLU sports commentator Art Thiel says Bradley started wearing them even during home games to try to drown out fan criticism.

"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.

Poor Performance

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. 

Emotional Problems

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




Kirsten Kendrick has been hosting Morning Edition on KNKX/KPLU since 2006. She has worked in news radio for more than 30 years. Kirsten is also a sports lover. She handles most sports coverage at the station, including helping produce a two-part series on the 50th anniversary of Title IX and the ongoing series "Going Deep."
Art Thiel is a co-founder and writer for the rising sports website Sportspress Northwest. In 2003 Thiel wrote the definitive book about the Seattle Mariners, “Out of Left Field,” which became a regional bestseller. In 2009, along with Steve Rudman and KJR 950 afternoon host Mike Gastineau, Thiel authored “The Great Book of Seattle Sports Lists,” a cross between and Mad Magazine that has become mandatory reading for any sports fan who has an indoor bathroom.