Red Sox shouldn’t pursue trade for Christian Yelich

MIAMI, FL - SEPTEMBER 04: Christian Yelich
MIAMI, FL - SEPTEMBER 04: Christian Yelich /

The Boston Red Sox are in need of more offense. While Christian Yelich is a fantastic player, he isn’t going to be the solution to this problem.

Let me start off by saying I’m a huge Christian Yelich fan. Definition of a dude. He just turned 26 and already has a Gold Glove and a Silver Slugger award. The outfielder is above-average at every facet of the game, and he’s still getting better. With all that being said, the Boston Red Sox shouldn’t even consider him as a trade target.

Does that seem harsh? It should. The asking price for Yelich is reportedly going to be high. Why shouldn’t it be? He’s young, under contract through 2022, and isn’t set to get paid ungodly amounts of money.

Personally, I’m one of those “don’t sell the farm” types. I don’t like seeing teams give up young talent that should shape a franchise too often. I also understand that it’s inevitable though. Sometimes it needs to happen if a team wants to improve. A lot of people will disagree with me on that, and would rather get established talent for the unknown.

No matter how you think though, everyone can agree that sometimes it’s not worth it.

For a lot of teams, Yelich would 100% be worth it. How much of an upgrade is he really to the Boston Red Sox outfield though?

Realistically, the Red Sox aren’t moving Andrew Benintendi or Mookie Betts to get Yelich. That leaves Jackie Bradley Jr. as the man being “upgraded” by the Miami Marlins star.

While Yelich has one Gold Glove to Bradley’s zero, no one is going to try and convince you Yelich is the better fielder. Bradley is a top ten (maybe top five) defensive outfielder in baseball.

Then there’s the offense. Last season, Yelich crushed Bradley in batting average and on-base percentage. In fact, those are two categories he regularly tops the Red Sox centerfielder in.

Last season, Yelich also won the slugging percentage category. However, Bradley picked up the W in that area the two previous years.

Then there’s the actual power numbers and run production. Yelich appeared in 156 games compared to 133 for Bradley in 2017. Despite that, he hit just one more homer (18) than Bradley Jr. (17) and hit fewer triples (two compared to three).

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Sure, his doubles were up a ton (36 compared to 19) but the other numbers show he’s not going to make much of a power difference (if any) for the Red Sox.

Run production saw a major advantage for Yelich. He scored 100 times while driving in 81 runs. Bradley, on the other hand, picked up 58 runs, while driving in 63 more.

The batting order was the main contributor to this though. Yelich spent the heavy majority of his season as the Marlins number three hitter. Meanwhile, Bradley barely saw time ahead of the sixth spot. If Yelich replaced him, he’d probably be at the bottom of the lineup as well.

Their numbers with runners on base and runners in scoring position weren’t very different. Yelich was slightly better, but also got more reps in those categories. Meanwhile, Bradley was significantly better with runners in scoring position and two outs.

Last season, Bradley was on a powerless offense while struggling with injuries. This showed up in his stats. If the offense can improve around him, the 27-year-old is better suited for this team than Yelich.

While Yelich is indeed a great player that any team would be lucky to have, he just isn’t the right fit for the Red Sox. Sure they need a left-handed bat, but trading one lefty for another lefty isn’t the solution.

Next: Marcell Ozuna talks with Miami Marlins were never close

If the Red Sox are serious about finding more offense (specifically power), they need to either look somewhere other than the outfield or find a much more imposing home run hitter.