The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few or the one.
That sentiment may be the case when it comes to the Boston Red Sox outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr. and the situation with the club. With the many needs still requiring solutions, the Red Sox must look to their assets and decide which ones are expendable. Other MLB teams won’t make a trade for the problem players; they want top talent or top potential for their own rosters, making someone like Bradley Jr. a possible fit.
Rob Bradford of WEEI.com reported that there is “a growing sentiment that, despite [Dave] Dombrowski’s declarations, the Red Sox will break up the trio of Mookie Betts, Jackie Bradley Jr. and Rusney Castillo. The likely piece to part? If you go by teams expressing interest, it would be Bradley Jr.,” with the Kansas City Royals and the Chicago Cubs being possible trade partners.
Bradford went on to state, “the perception is that Bradley Jr. had figured it all out. [Some general managers] were often surprised to be reminded he hit .138 with a .510 OPS in his last 25 games. The consensus: the outfielder’s reality lies somewhere in the middle, which is still good enough for a decent haul for the Sox if they decide to make a deal.”
Bradley Jr. hit .249 for the season, driving in 10 home runs and 43 RBIs in 74 games for the Red Sox. It is no secret, however, that his glove as a center fielder would be what other teams would covet. His perfect fielding percentage and his range factor of 2.26 are only surpassed by the highlight-reel catches that he has made seemingly each night that Bradley Jr. gets to play in the position.
As of late last night, the wheels have been turning for more interest in Bradley Jr.’s services:
In the free agent circus, anything is possible. However, if there is significant interest in Bradley Jr., it is interesting to note another trade possibility that could be coming back to Boston:
Aroldis Chapman would surely help the Red Sox bullpen issues, but what would the Cincinnati Reds want in return? Our own Matthew Loper expressed that it “wouldn’t surprise [him] to see a Jackie Bradley Jr. or Blake Swihart involved in a deal.”
If that is the case, then which team is in the greatest need for an outfielder like Bradley Jr.?
Kansas City has a hole in their outfield, leaving Lorenzo Cain and Jarrod Dyson without a solid starter to complement them. Considering Bradley Jr.’s incredible range, the move would make sense to cover the Royals’ expansive outfield dimensions.
The Reds don’t have an outfielder who hit more than .230 last season, making them desperate for some hope, regardless of anyone moving up the minor league rankings.
The Cubs could use some depth in center field, especially with Matt Szczur playing sparingly in 2015.
The Mariners may not have that problem, with seven outfielders on their depth chart; yet, with Nelson Cruz being on the old side of 35, and a number of either unproven or aging outfielders not standing out to the fans, Bradley Jr. could easily find himself the everyday starter at left, right, or center field in Seattle.
Bradley Jr. had a great August, hitting .354, but the Red Sox may want to strike the trade anvil while it’s hot. He only hit .222 in September and a mere .167 in October. It is very possible that Bradley Jr.’s value may never be as high as it is right now. With a number of outfielder prospects, like Andrew Benintendi, accelerating up the minor league rankings in Boston’s organization, the time may be now for Red Sox Nation to bid farewell to Bradley Jr. and use him as a key asset in a deal to bring another important piece to the Red Sox puzzle.