Here is the statement made by Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik and released by the Mariners, pertaining to the arrest of Milton Bradley.
“After reaching Milton Bradley’s representatives tonight I was able to confirm that Milton had been arrested, and subsequently released, in Los Angeles. While we do not yet have full details on what occurred, we are aware of the situation and take it very seriously. We are in the process of determining the full circumstances of what occurred today. Until we have more information, we will not be able to comment further.”
What the statement does not answer is whether or not Bradley’s contract contains specific language that would enable it to be non-guaranteed in the event of an arrest or criminal behavior. I spoke to a former GM this evening who told me that such language would have to have been included in Bradley’s contract when he signed with the Chicago Cubs.
Bradley was subsequently traded to the Mariners, but the original contract still applies.
A Cubs beat writer I spoke to tonight said he’d seen parts of the initial contract and that the only language — that he saw, anyway — pertaining to what could switch it to non-guaranteed had to do with health issues. This isn’t the final word on the matter, but when it comes to the language of the contract, you have to very specifically include which type of behavior would trigger a conversion from guaranteed to non-guaranteed. If the Cubs did not put anything in there initially about criminal behavior, the Mariners would not be able to take action on any provisions in it retroactively.
At least, that’s the opinion of the former GM.
The Mariners say it’s their policy not to comment about player contracts.
So, there’s no way of knowing whether the team, in fact, tried to alter any provisions of Bradley’s existing deal back in May, when he was placed on the restricted list for personal issues after leaving the ballpark mid-game. Bradley himself apologized to the team and asked the Mariners, who could have disciplined him for his actions, whether they would get him help instead.
At that time, the team, in theory, could have made that help conditional on Bradley not engaging in any more detrimental behavior. But we have no way of knowing whether the team took those steps. Or, whether the players’ association would have allowed it.
We’ll obviously learn more in days to come.