With the annual general manager meetings right around the corner, will the Boston Red Sox trade defensive wizard Jackie Bradley, Jr.?
The center fielder has won a gold glove award and is consistently making highlight grabs, but his offense will forever be a struggle. The 29-year-old has a career .236 average with 91 homers and 354 RBI. While his speed in the outfield truly amazes fans from around the league, on the base paths, he only has a career 55 stolen bases. The former second-round pick has played in 818 games thus far.
He is arbitration-eligible, and many experts have his potential cap at around $10 million for 2020. If he was to be traded, Boston could put fellow outfielder Andrew Benintendi in his natural spot of center field. To fill in the gap, the Sox have a couple of feasible options. They could promote the underwhelming Rusney Castillo since they have to pay him anyway. They could shift either Michael Chavis or Bobby Dalbec to the outfield like they did with Mookie Betts. Or, they could potentially find a cheaper replacement on the market or trade block.
Does his defense make him an $11 million player? He does save runs and help out in clutch situations, but it’s hard to picture giving Bradley that much money. It wasn’t too long ago that the rumored Puig-for-Bradley swap was turned down months before opening day. Has his value increased? I’ll leave that to the check-maker to decide.
As everyone knows, the team is going to shed salary and it must come from somewhere. The general manager meetings officially started on Monday, and the team still has holes it needs to fill if they want to compete as ownership says it does. Bullpen help is a must if the Red Sox want to make a run.
While the 2018 ALCS MVP has built up quite the fanbase here in New England, the writing should be on the wall.
JBJ’s time in Boston is over.