After posting this blog today about the Eric Wedge/Milton Bradley incident from 2004 that resulted in Bradley being traded to the Dodgers a few days later, I heard from someone in the Mariners organization who has been in contact with Bradley in recent days.
Bradley, the person said, was positive about Wedge’s hiring in his text messages, and said he didn’t mind if his sentiment was made public.
In one, Bradley wrote, “Whatever took place was six or seven years ago and I’m over it.”
Bradley also wrote, “He was a disciplinarian and I felt our team lacked discipline last year. Hopefully, he instills some of that.”
For the Mariners, that’s a very encouraging reaction by Bradley. I fully expect Wedge to be similarly conciliatory toward Bradley in Tuesday’s press conference when the question inevitably comes up.
I also talked today to Carl Willis, who was Wedge’s pitching coach in Cleveland and is likely to get that position in Seattle under Wedge. Willis finished the 2010 season as the Mariners’ pitching coach after Rick Adair was fired along with Don Wakamatsu in August. The M’s had hired Willis as minor-league pitching instructor after he was fired, along with Wedge, at the end of the 2009 season.
I’ll have more from my conversation with Willis later, and it will be the focus of a story in tomorrow’s Seattle Times. But I asked him if he, as someone who was around when the original dispute occured, thinks Wedge and Bradley can mend fences.
“I think so,” he replied. “That’s many years past…you just learn. You learn about life. Baseball’s a business, and there’s certain times people clash, whether it’s player to player, player to manager. Both are professionals.
“Milton’s gone on and had very, very productive years and proven the caliber of player he is. Eric went on to win a division title and have some success in the playoffs, although we didn’t finish like we wanted (losing three straight to Boston in the 2007 ALCS after going up three games to one). I don’t think it will be an issue.”
Perhaps this marriage can work the second time around.