To the Red Sox dust bin with Middlebrooks and Bradley


Just think about the money. One day on an MLB roster and you get insurance for life. Hang around a meager 43 days and you are vested in the pension plan with a minimal payout of $34,000 at age 65. Now comes the money with a minimal salary approaching $500,000 and the bountiful potential via arbitration or the golden ring of free agency. Even a few years of collecting splinters can be a $1,000,000 a season. That is quite a string of zeros.

The competition is incredible as 90% don’t make it to the MLB level. A few years of minor league disappointment, a trip to an Indy league or a foreign destination and then a ceremonial release. A footnote in the files of the minor league section of Baseball-Reference.

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Rusney Castillo has been handed the golden ticket and it is not to view a chocolate factory. Seven years at $72.5M. Castillo will head to the Arizona Fall League and then to Puerto Rico for the winter league schedule. Mandated by the Red Sox or not, it is the smart move and the competition will be five-star with a sprinkling of hot shots, seasoned veterans and those willing to refine their skills. Reports are Brock Holt will also follow a similar path.

Then you have Will Middlebrooks and Jackie Bradley.

Neither have stated they will take part in any post-2014 activities. None. Based on their performances during 2014, I find this approach staggering. A “what are they thinking?” moment.

Bradley is lost at the plate as is Middlebrooks. Stevie Wonder has a better shot at getting a hit. With both, even a hard-hit out is enough to get a ticker tape parade – damn the litter – down Washington Street and into the Financial District.

Sep 12, 2014; Kansas City, MO, USA; Boston Red Sox center fielder Jackie Bradley (25) at bat against the Kansas City Royals during the fourth inning at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

There were those subtle rumors regarding Bradley’s demotion to Pawtucket. Something about his reluctance towards those “teachable moments.” Maybe there is some validity to that?

With Middlebrooks there seems to be attached the inevitable tag line regarding a myriad of minor issues – most notably hand damage. If so, what better way to test yourself than a few hundred at bats against quality competition?

You must improve your job skills. Wish to go up the corporate ladder, or maintain your current level, you get additional training. Teaching, EMTs, IT, mechanics and right down the line, as in most occupations, improving your skill set means security. That applies to baseball, be it adding a pitch or refining what you have in your baseball resume.

With Bradley and Middlebrooks I just don’t see that level of commitment. I can’t get into their heads, but sometimes actions give you a clue. Time to look elsewhere with both, for their sake and that of the organization.