A new report suggests that Boston Red Sox center fielder Jackie Bradley is among the trade targets the San Francisco Giants are interested in.
The Boston Red Sox haven’t put Jackie Bradley‘s name on the trading block, yet that won’t stop other teams from inquiring about his availability.
MLB Network’s Jon Morosi reports that the San Francisco Giants are looking at Bradley among the possible outfield targets they would like to acquire.
One would assume offense would be the priority of a Giants team that finished next to last in the majors in runs scored this year, although Bradley’s glove would certainly have some appeal. San Francisco’s center fielder Denard Span will turn 34 prior to the start of next season and enters the final guaranteed year of his contract.
Span was the worst defensive center fielder in baseball this year with -27 defensive runs saved. Bradley ranked seventh with 9 DRS and has developed a reputation as a defensive wizard over the past few years.
Bradley is coming off a down year at the plate, hitting .245 with a .726 OPS and 17 home runs. However, he posed an OPS north of .830 in each of the previous seasons and is only a year removed from an All-Star campaign.
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The Red Sox have shown no inclination that they plan to deal Bradley but their quest to find a power hitter to anchor their lineup could make it inevitable. Whether it be on the trade market or through free agency, several of the top available sluggers are outfielders. Mookie Betts and Andrew Benintendi clearly aren’t going anywhere, so if Boston were to add an outfielder this winter then Bradley would seem to be the odd man out.
The Giants are among the teams reportedly competing with the Red Sox in the Giancarlo Stanton sweepstakes. If Stanton ends up in Boston then San Francisco could turn to Bradley as a suitable backup plan. Unless the Red Sox could convince Stanton to become a full-time DH, Bradley could become expendable, with Benintendi presumably sliding over to center field.
While it’s unclear what he Giants would be offering for Bradley, the Red Sox should be able to expect a decent haul for a player who has averaged just over 4.0 WAR the last two years and has three affordable years of arbitration remaining before hitting free agency.
The Red Sox have made splashy trades over the last couple of years that have left their farm system nearly barren. With ownership willing to dip back over the luxury tax threshold, perhaps the front office will focus on free agency this year. If that route brings in a bat that gives them a surplus in the outfield then Bradley could be used as a chip to help restock the cupboard.
Bradley is projected to earn a modest $5.9 million in arbitration next season. If Boston dealt him for prospects then removing that salary from their payroll would help ease the burden of signing an expensive free agent.
Boston isn’t going to let Bradley go unless other moves make him expendable. As the Hot Stove heats up this winter and the Red Sox narrow down their targets, keep an eye on how the fall out impacts the rest of the roster. If the team does make Bradley available there will be plenty of interest.