There are only two people from whom Milton Bradley has ever wanted to get an autograph.
He's about to play with one of them.
"Some of the things that happen in your life and as a baseball player are kind of surreal to you. To play with Ken Griffey is one of those," Bradley said of the Mariners star. "It's an absolute blast for me."
The mercurial outfielder is now Griffey's newest teammate. Seattle acquired Bradley yesterday from the Chicago Cubs for expensive and underperforming pitcher Carlos Silva.
Chicago also received $9 million from the Mariners as part of the swap, which makes Seattle the eighth team of Bradley's 10-year career. Silva has $25 million remaining on his contract and Bradley has $22 million left on his deal.
The dual dumping, which came together in 48 hours, got rid of headaches for each team - yet has the potential of creating new ones in each city.
Chicago has wanted to trade Bradley since the Cubs suspended him for the final 2 weeks of last season, shortly after he criticized the atmosphere surrounding a team that hasn't won a World Series since 1908.
"I have no interest in talking about Chicago," Bradley said on a conference call. "I've moved on. I wish you would move on. And I wish the Chicago Cubs organization the best."
Seattle, which has never appeared in a World Series, didn't expect to find a suitor for Silva. He has done little except lose and get hurt in the two seasons since he signed a $48 million, 4-year contract.
Silva won five games in 2 years with the Mariners.
Bradley was an All-Star in 2007 as a designated hitter with the Rangers. He led the AL in on-base percentage while batting a career high-tying .321. That was followed by the tumultuous season with the Cubs.
General manager Jack Zduriencki said Bradley will likely play leftfield and perhaps share designated hitter with Griffey.
It was the Mariners' third big deal this week, along with the acquisition of lefthander Cliff Lee from the Phillies and the signing of infielder Chone Figgins.
In other personnel news of note:
* Nick Johnson reportedly reached preliminary agreement on a $5.5 million, 1-year agreement with the New York Yankees, which likely means the end of Johnny Damon's time in New York after four seasons.
While Damon was popular with teammates and fans, the Yankees were concerned about his age (36). The sides also were far apart on money. Damon at first was seeking a 3-year deal worth at least $39 million, while New York was prepared to go no higher than $18 million to $20 million over two seasons.
Johnson, a first baseman, will replace Hideki Matsui as DH and Melky Cabrera appears likely to take over from Damon in left. Matsui recently signed a deal with the Angels.
* Relief pitcher Mike Gonzalez finalized a $12 million, 2-year contract with the Baltimore Orioles. The team did not guarantee the lefthander the closer's job, but he likely will get a chance to win it.
Gonzalez, 31, went 5-4 with 10 saves and a 2.42 ERA with the Atlanta Braves last season.
* Righthanded reliever Claudio Vargas agreed to a 1-year contract to stay with Milwaukee.
* Lefthander Javier Lopez agreed to a $775,000, 1-year contract with Pittsburgh.
* Outfielder Laynce Nix rejoined the Cincinnati Reds, agreeing to a minor league contract.
* The Padres plan to wear throwback uniforms for six home Thursday afternoon games next season. Team president Tom Garfinkel said an online fan vote will determine whether players wear the 1978 whites, '78 browns or '84 whites.
* A lawsuit by a businessman seeking $203,000 from former baseball star Sammy Sosa has been thrown out by a Dominican Republic prosecutor for lack of evidence.
Carim Abu Nabaa alleged that Sosa didn't pay him a commission of $150,000 on a house sale, $43,000 for a luxury watch, and $10,000 for getting Reggaeton singer Don Omar to perform at Sosa's 41st birthday party. *