Feb 25, 2013; Dunedin, FL, USA; Boston Red Sox center fielder Jackie Bradley (74) hits a single against the Toronto Blue Jays during the top of the first inning of a spring training split squad game at Florida Exchange Park. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Are We Witnessing An Early Ellsbury Exit?

Conventional wisdom would dictate one of two things will happen with Jacoby Ellsbury this year. He’ll either have a monster season in his walk year and will cash out big time with a team starved for a speedy center fielder or he’ll have another injury-plagued so-so year and the Red Sox will determine that a change of scenery is best for all concerned. Up until recently the Red Sox were content to slowly bring along minor league prospect Jackie Bradley but he has come along at such an alarming rate Boston’s hand may be forced. It’s nice to have options.

The 22-year old Bradley has quickly moved through the ranks of Boston’s farm system, screaming through lower A Lowell and Greenville in 2011 and high A Salem and AA Portland in 2012. This spring he is putting the heat on a so far mediocre Jacoby Ellsbury.

In four spring training games Bradley is Boston’s number one hitter, going 5-9 (.556) with a .636 OBP, .667 slugging percentage and a 1.303 on base plus slugging percentage. Conversely, Ellsbury is Boston’s number 19 hitter with a slash line of .200/.333/.400/.733.

I know what you’re thinking. “Does this guy really think that nine at bats is going to sell me on a Jackie Bradley for President ticket?” Agreed. Bradley still has a lot to prove. I do, however, also believe in tipping points, momentum and my eyes.

Bryce Harper and Mike Trout are proof positive that when a player is ready they’re ready, no matter the age. This is, after all, America where the culture of youth abounds in many disciplines, including sports. In a sport like baseball that has its fair share of long tenured players, there’s something thrilling about a brash youngster breaking in and simply killing it. Bradley has the potential to be one of those players.

I love Jacoby Ellsbury. I loved his potential. I loved 2010. I loved the way he broke into Boston’s lineup suddenly and spectacularly.  Above all, I love it when the Red Sox win. Right now, I think Jackie Bradley gives them the best chance to do that not just here and now but for a long time to come.


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Tags: Boston Red Sox Jackie Bradley Jr.

  • Sox Fan

    I really don’t know why the red sox would trade Ellsbury unless they’re getting top tier prospects in return (hopefully a 1st baseman since the system is glaringly lacking in that area) because of the compensatory draft pick they could get if Jacoby decides to turn down a qualifying offer and walk after the season. There’s no reason the team wouldn’t be able to have both of them on the roster, especially with a career platoon player currently manning left field at the moment. Also, won’t they lose years of team control if JBJ is brought to the big leagues too early this season (don’t know the exact rule here)? Seems like the best course of action would be to hold on to Ellsbury and if JBJ shows that he’s ready in AAA at the beginning of the season, call him up and stick him in left field for the time being. After all, that’s where Ellsbury started when he was called up initially.

    • John Fahrer

      They won’t lose years per se. But the club control clock would start ticking. So Bradley would become a free agent after 2018. If they wait, they’ll have him for his age 29 season in 2019. 29 is considered a smack dab in his prime age for a player.

    • stephenepeterson

      All good points. As the spring has ground on and we witness the ascension of JBJ coupled with a Jacoby’s very pedestrian numbers will continue to create pressure. 2018 or 2019 become less of an issue the win now culture of professional sports.