Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

Roster crunch: the case against Jackie Bradley Jr.


With Shane Victorino set to begin a rehab assignment on Tuesday, the Boston Red Sox outfield is due for a shakeup. The glut of outfielders includes Daniel Nava, Grady Sizemore, Jackie Bradley Jr., Jonny Gomes and Mike Carp. Only Sizemore appears plugged into a position, as he won the center field job after an impressive spring training and has hit consistently thus  far. The rest is up for debate. This is the first in a series of articles.

Jackie Bradley Jr.

Position: Excels in center field, but has the versatility to play any outfield position.

Skill Set:

  • Mediocre overall at the plate (.244 BA, .354 OBP)
  • Great with runners in scoring position (.400 BA, 7 RBI)
  • Has shown increased patience (seven BB in 14 games compared to 10 BB in 37 games last season)
  • Very strong arm (just ask Jacoby Ellsbury)
  • Excellent glove

Contract: 1yr/$502k, Arbitration Eligible: 2017

Minor League Options: Yes

The Case Against: 

It may sound like I’m making the case for JBJ to stay, but unfortunately that’s not what’s happening. The bottom line is this: JBJ has played well enough to stay in Boston, but he won’t. Baseball isn’t always a production-based business. JBJ has minor league options and no real history with the Major League club to fall back on, making him the guy that will be sent down. Daniel Nava has options, but there’s little chance they send him down after his performance last season. They’ll give him time to figure it out. Jonny Gomes isn’t going anywhere with the money they are paying him to be their fourth outfielder. Mike Carp could be designated for assignment, but it probably won’t happen because he provides versatility, with the ability to play the outfield, first base and third base (although I think we can all agree we’d rather not see him at third). There would also be the risk that if he were released, he’d become productive for a rival.

JBJ’s time will come. He’s proven that he’s ready. Unfortunately, the timing isn’t right. Sox fans can rest easy, though, knowing that he’ll be ready to fill in if needed, a luxury many other teams don’t have.

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Tags: Boston Red Sox Jackie Bradley Jr. Shane Victorino

  • Paul Prims

    Disagree that JBJ will/should be odd man out. He’s been called the best CF in the AL by some scouts. His defense is too good to keep out of the mix. He Sizemore and Vic make up the best defensive OF and Farrell & staff seem to value that. JBJ will hit enough if they keep him. He’s already improved. Plus he provides a jolt of young energy to this roster. It’s his time IMO. Nava also has an option left so he should be the one to go for now.

    • Joe Meehan

      I agree with you Paul in that I absolutely think that he’s deserving of a spot. I just have difficulty believing that they’ll send Nava down after only 15 games when he hit over .300 for them last season. I feel like he’ll have a longer leash to turn things around.

    • Joe Meehan

      I agree with you Paul in that I absolutely think that he’s deserving of a spot. I just have difficulty believing that they’ll send Nava down after only 15 games when he hit over .300 for them last season. I feel like he’ll have a longer leash to turn things around.

  • http://bosoxinjection.com/ Pete Sonski

    The Red Sox brass felt JBJ had “some things to work on” still at the end of spring training, or simply that sending him back to Triple-A was the least impact roster move. By reason of Victorino’s DL stint he found reprieve from Pawtucket and has proved his readiness for major-league competition. When John Farrell last week started him in center field with Grady Sizemore in left field, there was no doubt remaining in my mind that he had earned his place on the 25-man roster. I agree it’s still a simple move to make to demote JBJ, but I doubt the team will do that after his start to the season.

  • John Finn Jr

    Personally, I would send Nava to Pawtucket.. He has one option left and he is playing bad. I think how he played last year was a fluke season for him.