Red Sox Jackie Bradley Jr. Trade Time Is Now?


It has been previously reported, on multiple platforms, that the Boston Red Sox seem likely to hold off on any more trades or signings until the regular season starts. However, they may miss an opportunity, with that strategy, in the case of one of their assets: Jackie Bradley Jr., the forgotten outfielder.

The Boston Globe‘s Nick Cafardo believes Bradley’s spring training has successfully proven that the 24-year-old Virginian has marketable talent. The question is whether that market is the Red Sox advertisements or the trade zone. According to Cafardo, “Bradley has changed the way he swings to a more level/downward plane from the uppercut swings he took a year ago.” Any change would be better than the .198 batting average that Bradley hit in 127 games for the 2014 season.

More from Red Sox History

Based on the .333 in 30 at-bats, this spring, Cafardo also claims, “now the guy who was just the great defender may be able to hit as well and suddenly there’s interest on the trade front. He’s become a chip again.” Cafardo admits that spring training’s results should never be taken as the end-all-be-all of information. “But when you hit less than .200 in a regular season, there’s reason for optimism.”

Very true, to be fair.

The plan seems to be, by all accounts, that Bradley is set to play for Triple-A Pawtucket, this season, with the well-documented log jam of Red Sox outfielders. Even though Bradley had incredible defense in center field, last season, young outfielders Mookie Betts and Rusney Castillo seem ready to perform in The Show at the plate as well as in the field. Both players outhit Bradley last year as well as this spring.

If that’s the case, then why Pawtucket? Nothing wrong with having lots of depth at different positions, especially with veterans with histories of being prone to injury, like outfielders Hanley Ramirez and Shane Victorino. Yet, by having both a few proven vets as well as budding stars on the depth chart, Bradley seems superfluous to keep, simply out of having potential.

If one or two players didn’t work out, you could make the case to keep him in the organization. But, by having so many people, young and old, in front of him, Bradley is an asset sitting on the shelf, likely not to be used until past his expiration date. That’s not only a shame to his career; it’s a shame to the Red Sox roster.

Many teams would love to have a budding center fielder, with an improving bat and, as Cafardo put it, “Gold Glove” skill in the field. Bradley likely would need to be in a package-deal, as he has not proven to be good enough to be a one-for-one trade for a big name.

That time would have to lay between today and the end of spring training. Bradley is not going to prove too much more playing for Pawtucket, where he already has had success. Other MLB teams need to make a decision based on the quality of his at-bats against major league starting pitchers, which Bradley will not see in Triple-A. If the Red Sox don’t trade him now, they may never be able to trade him. And, if Betts, Castillo, and the rest of Boston’s outfield plays well, Bradley may have seen the end of his dream, playing Major League Baseball.

More from BoSox Injection