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.
- 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.