March 20, 2013; Tampa, FL, USA; Boston Red Sox center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. (74) in the dugout against the New York Yankees at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Red Sox Roundtable: Should Jackie Bradley Junior Start The Season in The Bigs?

Welcome Sox fans to the first of a regular installment called Red Sox Roundtable. Each week you and the Bosox Injection writers get to kick around a hot topic of the week. This week’s question is Should Jackie Bradley Junior Start The Season in The Bigs?

I published a piece on Monday suggesting that Bradley not only should start the season with the Red Sox but should be in the starting lineup. I’m tired of the intellectual and business discussions regarding Bradley. I get that by putting him in the starting lineup up in 2013 his service clock starts ticking a year earlier than the Red Sox had expected. I understand that Boston wants to give him another year of seasoning and maturity. I also feel it in my baseball bones that if the Red Sox are serious about competing this year you gotta play this kid.

What do you think? The commenting period is now OPEN!

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Tags: Boston Red Sox Jackie Bradley Jr. Red Sox Roundtable

  • Aidan Flynn

    I’m actually going to reverse my previous opinion on this and say he should begin the year in The Show. This has more to do with Gomes’ likely transition to DH (with Papi’s indefinite absence) than anything Bradley has done this spring. I have felt that he was ready after last year, whether he out the world on fire this spring or not. However, a real opening is actually present, and Bradley is the best man for the job. In a perfect world, you’d love to prevent that arbitration and service time clock from starting, but Bradley can make a difference now. Even if he doesn’t hit like he has this spring, his secondary skills (defense, base running, plate discipline) should allow him to still be productive and valuable. JBJ is an all star caliber talent and if the outfield opening remains, he would be my choice to fill the void.

    • John Fahrer

      Besides the fact that the club would have to risk either losing him for his age 29 season or overpay heavily for some seasons they’d rather not, there’s also the 40 man issue. They’ll have to DFA or 60 day DL somebody. Mauro Gomez is probably the most expendable.

      If Bradley wasn’t a Boras guy, my opinion would be different. But since Boras does represent him: two weeks of finishing school in Pawtucket. If he’s raking by April 12th, call him up.

  • Paul Prims

    I think the Red Sox will and should take the Mike Trout approach to this dilemma. I would start Bradley in the minors. You can get by for a month with Sweeney, Gomes, Carp, Overbay or some combination thereof. Limiting Bradley’s service time and he still plays 135 games if he proves himself? Everybody wins that way. I know the Sox can’t afford another bad start but I’d go this route. Plus, also note that Bradley has played hardly at all in LF this spring. I suppose the Sox could move Victorino to left and put Bradley in RF but then there are even more moving parts. See here for my more in depth thoughts.

    • Wendy L Wheeler-Brackett

      There’s NO reason why Bradley jr cant start the season with the big boys and then when Ortiz comes back go back down and it wont effect his service time as long as he’s down for 20 days. As far as where he fields, it doesnt matter he is arguably the best technical outfielder the Sox have, very advanced given his age. Let the kid play and go from there.

      • John Fahrer

        It’ll be easier for the kid to digest being sent down despite a hot start to spring training than to risk saying something like: “We know you’re hitting well over .300 with a .390 OBP but we need to send you down for two weeks” in mid-May.

        Best way to avoid the dilemma: Let him do two weeks of finishing school in Pawtucket. The big club will only play nine games in the period of time it takes to save his 2019 season.

    • John Fahrer

      Good video. My prediction is the same. Don’t think they’ll have Bradley LF though. Probably have him either play RF and move Victorino over or put him in CF and shift Ellsbury over (probably the best choice given his arm strength).

  • Michael Macaulay-Birks

    I was on the fence on this until Papi went down until???? I’d much rather see Gomes as part of the DH equation than in the field…. JMO as always…..2019 is a long time away so I’m in the “play the kid” camp for sure

  • Conor Duffy

    I’m a bit conflicted on the case of Jackie Bradley Jr. On one hand, he’s an electrifying young player and I’m very excited to watch him. I think he’s mature enough for the big club and could probably post decent numbers over a full season. On the other hand, however, waiting a mere 10 days from the season’s start would ensure another full season of JBJ. The way I look at it, there’s nothing Bradley could possibly do in less than 10 games that would even come close to the value of another full season with him. On that note, I would rather him start the year in the minor leagues. However, to please the fans, I think the Red Sox may opt to have him start the year in Boston.

    • John Fahrer

      But fans could wind up being displeased if Bradley struggles out of the gate. Tends to happen to players who get rushed a little too quickly.

      Whether he starts in MLB or AAA, it’ll be at a higher than his original projection (he was originally going to start back up in Portand at least for a brief stint).

      • Conor Duffy

        Also true. After all, it’s not like he’s the reincarnation of Barry Bonds here. He’s projected to be an above average major league fielder who plays good defense and gets on base.

        • John Fahrer

          That’s why he shouldn’t be compared directly with Mike Trout. Four tools for sure (though he likely won’t be a league leader in steals). Isn’t projected to be a big home run hitter, but neither was Ellsbury.

          • Aidan Flynn

            Who’s comparing him with Trout? (honest question). I think people are only comparing their situations, not each of them as players. Trout is a generational talent. No one compares

          • John Fahrer

            Not directly. But people are blaming not calling Trout sooner as the reason why the Halos missed the playoffs. The 2012 Angels and 2013 Red Sox are in completely different situations. The Halos had just brought in a future Hall of Famer and were expected to be a lock for a playoff bid. They just underachieved. This year’s Sox team is a sleeper and if they do the right thing with Bradley (send him to AAA to begin 2013) and just miss the playoffs, people shouldn’t be blaming that one move as a reason for missing the postseason.