Boston Red Sox: Keeping Jackie Bradley Jr. is the right move
By Hunter Noll
It recently came up that the Boston Red Sox refused to trade Jackie Bradley Jr. for Edwin Encarnacion. This isn’t the first refusal and it’s the right move.
The Boston Red Sox need power. Edwin Encarnacion has power. This seemed like a perfect fit. Instead, the Red Sox declined trade talks with the Cleveland Indians due to the involvement of Jackie Bradley Jr.
Earlier, Boston had immediately cut down a Yasiel Puig trade when the centerfield Superman was asked for as well. This is looking like a trend, and it’s one I think every member of Red Sox Nation should get behind.
Okay, look, I know a lot of you are going to get on me for this one. Boston is so power-hungry and Encarnacion has tons of it. Bradley is extremely streaky at the plate. I’m an idiot for not wanting this trade to be done.
As far as the Puig deal goes, I’m sure I’d have much more support. There will still be those that want Bradley off the team though.
I’ll give you four reasons why I want Bradley in a Boston uniform for as long as possible though.
Bradley isn’t a phenomenal hitter. When he’s hot though, he’s extremely dangerous. He’s also a left-handed bat with a great combination of power and speed. This leads to a decent number of extra-base hits.
While he’s not a top-of-the-lineup batter, having Bradley at the bottom of your order is tough to beat. He gives the Red Sox a good amount of everything offensively.
There’s that expression of “having another leadoff hitter in the nine-hole”. This basically means the nine hitter is so good, he doesn’t leave the actual leadoff man out to dry. He gives the team decent speed and solid on-base capabilities. For the Red Sox, Bradley Jr. is not only that “second leadoff hitter” he’s a cleanup man at the bottom of the lineup too.
Bradley doesn’t steal all that many bases. He’s extremely efficient at it though. The 27-year-old is 30-for-35 on steal attempts in his career.
While he’s never stolen double-digit bases in a season, expect that to change. Bradley Jr. wants to steal more bases, and Alex Cora is apparently going to let him loose (via Christopher Smith of MassLive).
Bradley Jr. has the speed to pick up 20-plus steals and could set up the top-of-the-order nicely to drive in more runs.
Give me a story of Bradley causing problems in the locker room. In fact, give me a story of JBJ causing problems with anyone, ever. Sure, there’s that tweet to Dennis Eckersley that people felt was a shot at the Hall of Fame pitcher.
This got even more scrutinized after the David Price-Eckersley situation. I see it as more of a having fun with him tweet though. He had a good game after Eck criticized his play, and had a little fun with it. Everyone gets a little cocky after a big game, so this seems like a non-story.
Other than that though, he’s got a squeaky clean record. His teammates seem to love him, as do coaches and fans. Meanwhile, he seems to love Boston and playing there.
When you put it all together, Bradley Jr. is the exact type of person you’d want in your locker room.
Save the best for last, right?
I can count on one hand the outfielders who are better than Bradley when it comes to all-around defense.
For me, personally, the list of defenders ahead of him goes like this.
That’s a long list, isn’t it?
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There are some players who you can definitely make an argument for, but that’s the only one I’m giving the nod over Bradley at the moment.
The accuracy on his throws isn’t always there, but man does Bradley have an absolute rocket. He has incredible instincts, usually taking the correct first step off the bat. Then there’s his impressive speed and athleticism, letting him get to balls plenty of others couldn’t.
Finally, the glove. Oh, that beautiful glove. If a ball touches it, it’s going to land softly in the web. I don’t know if it’s witchcraft or some other form of magic, but when Bradley gets to a ball he tends to come down with it.
Next: Four free agent bats to avoid
Jackie Bradley Jr. has his flaws. However, it’s tough to look at a classic DPLHBGSIDWLCNCP (decently powerful left-handed bat with great speed and impeccable defense who loves the city and never causes problems – you should’ve known that) and think about getting rid of him. The Red Sox are making the right move by sticking by their centerfield Superman.