With news out concerning a Milton Bradley arrest in Los Angeles, a lot of Mariners fans are wondering what this will mean for the team. Here, let's review what this could mean for the team.
The first matter is deciding whether or not Bradley will remain with the team going forward. It's possible that the M's elect to stick with him for the time being, and while I find that unlikely, I don't think we can take a release for granted. While the situations are very different, one remembers that the M's have kept Josh Lueke and intend to give him a shot in the bullpen. So Bradley could stay on the roster. Given his poor performance, lousy health record, and marginalized role, though, I don't think that he will. He was already clinging to a bench spot, and getting arrested isn't going to help.
The next matter is whether Bradley's $12 million salary for 2011 could be voided in the event of a release. Francisco Rodriguez beat the hell out of his girlfriend's dad inside Citi Field last summer and still stands to earn $11.5 million this year, so odds are that Bradley will remain on the books. We don't even know what he did, or whether he did anything. That said, the Cubs may have written some sort of complicated legal out clause in his contract, and for all we know Bradley could end up in jail, so a voided salary isn't impossible. You shouldn't expect, but you should hope.
Additionally, in the event of a release, there's the matter of replacing Bradley on the roster. Right now, he's a bench bat set to spell Michael Saunders and Jack Cust against a few lefties. He's also the team's fourth outfielder. The left-handed Ryan Langerhans, then, isn't a perfect fit to step in. But it could still work, provided the final bench guy is a righty. The front office could also choose to look outside the organization, targeting someone like, I don't know, Andruw Jones. Ultimately, Bradley wouldn't be a difficult guy to replace, because he's a mediocre player occupying a limited role.
I think that about covers it. There are other potential implications, but they have less to do with roster management and I won't get into them now. Obviously, the dream scenario for all of us at this point is that the M's find some way to get Bradley's contract voided so that they can go swimming in money again, but I don't want to sound insensitive, since this is a delicate situation that involves or touches a number of people. All I'll say is that I hope all parties involved come out of this as well as they possibly can, given the circumstances.
Bradley's got a court date scheduled for February 8th. February 19th is the voluntary Spring Training reporting date for non-pitchers and catchers, and February 26th is the mandatory reporting date for everyone. It shouldn't be long before we figure out how the M's will proceed. No matter what happens, I think we can all agree that they probably won't be very good.