Milton Bradley's career in Oakland -- a fairly tranquil time, compared with some his more contentious stops in Cleveland and Los Angeles -- has ended, and unexpectedly early.
The A's designated the outfielder for assignment on Thursday morning, a day after general manager Billy Beane met with Bradley to let him know that the transaction was coming. Bradley left the clubhouse upset, and he also had expressed dissatisfaction on Tuesday after not being activated when he felt he was ready to return from a calf injury.
There was a good chance of more discontent in the future, with an increasingly crowded outfield in the offing. Chris Snelling is likely coming off the disabled list soon and he is out of options, while Bobby Kielty is also expected to be available by the end of the month. Bradley, who will be a free agent after this season, would have seen a decrease in playing time, according to a source, largely because most of the rest of the outfielders are part of the team's future, while Bradley was not.
"He wasn't going to be happy playing a couple of times a week," a team source said.
The A's have 10 days in which to trade Bradley, waive him or release him. A trade remains a possibility, although by designating him, the team has signaled its intention to part with him, which usually lessens a player's value. Once a player has been designated, interested teams often just wait to see if he is placed on waivers or wait until he is released, but if multiple clubs are after Bradley, the A's might be able to move him within the 10-day span.
Oakland activated Bradley on Wednesday after he'd missed more than two months with first a hamstring strain and then a calf strain. In a year and a half with the A's, Bradley had five stints on the DL and missed 110 games.
Bradley went 0-for-3 with a walk on Wednesday and struck out looking in his final at-bat. He disagreed with the call and exchanged words with home-plate umpire Tim Timmons, prompting manager Bob Geren to come out of the dugout.
Bradley, 29, hit .292 with two homers and seven RBIs in 19 games this year, and last year, he hit .276 with 14 homers and 52 RBIs in 96 games. His best stretch with the team came during last year's American League Championship Series, when Bradley was 9-for-18 with two homers as the A's were swept by Detroit.
Though he had some on-field incidents with the Dodgers and a difficult relationship with manager Eric Wedge in Cleveland, Bradley had few troubles in Oakland apart with some give-and-take with the crowd at Fenway Park in a series at Boston last year. Several sources said that Bradley injured his shoulder last year while having a tirade in the clubhouse, but Bradley emphatically denied that.