Jackie Bradley Jr. bids his final farewell to the Red Sox
Tomorrow is Opening Day, and while most are excited today had a bit of a weird cloud over it for Red Sox Nation. As Fenway Park is receiving its final preparations and the team makes their way back to Boston, one longtime member won’t be making the journey with them. For the first time in his career, Jackie Bradley Jr. will be suiting up on the first day of the regular season for another team.
Earlier today, JBJ would take to his Instagram to post a heartfelt video thanking not just the team, but all the fans that supported him over the years. He would also pen an article through The Players’ Tribune. Not only does it cover his time with the Red Sox but also shows how he has grown as a person over the years. From spring training to October and everything in between.
After a quiet offseason where we heard on more than one occasion that the two sides were speaking, a deal was finally done. However, that deal would be with the Milwaukee Brewers and not the Red Sox. JBJ was drafted by Boston back in June of 2011 and would make his Major League debut in 2013, playing in 37 games. He doesn’t get credit for the World Series won that year since he hardly played in the season but making the Opening Day roster was still a major accomplishment.
Over the next eight years, he’d develop into one of the best centerfielders in the game today, adding multiple Web Gems to his resume. Jackie would also tally a Gold Glove and All-Star nod while playing in Boston, as well as, an ALCS MVP in 2018 and a World Series ring a few days later. JBJ was never put into the same conversations as guys like Mookie Betts or even Andrew Benintendi, but he was a very important member of that outfield.
We all know how the story of that trio would end. Betts was traded prior to last season, Benintendi earlier this offseason, and finally JBJ signed elsewhere. Three guys who formed one of the absolute best defensive outfields in MLB were now all gone. Essentially, a giant chunk of the identity of this organization since their debuts is now a black hole with pieces constantly in motion.
"“So before each of us officially turns the page to our next chapter, I just wanted to say: Red Sox Nation, thank you.”“It was an honor.”"
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Jackie was a career .239/.321/.412/.732 hitter in Boston with a total of 98 homers and 376 RBI. While he was never the best hitter in the game, he would often make up for that by flashing the leather all over the outfield. I’ve lost count of how many homers and extra-base hits he’s robbed from the opposition. It’s going to take some serious adjusting not seeing him in the outfield with that red “B,” on his cap.
With the Brewers he’ll continue to be an everyday player and the change of scenery could be good for him. While his time with the Red Sox saw him achieve plenty of success it felt like the organization couldn’t get rid of him fast enough. Every year at the trade deadline and again in the offseason his name would be the most mentioned in trade rumors. I’m not surprised that he decided to go elsewhere, but I wish things could’ve ended differently between the two sides.
Though Jackie Bradley Jr. won’t be with the Red Sox for this season he’ll still get to do what he does best on the biggest stage. Sadly, Boston doesn’t play Milwaukee this season so we won’t be seeing him again at Fenway Park anytime soon. I know there are those out there that are happy he’s gone but I think the majority are going to miss what he brought to this team and I believe the Red Sox will miss that as well.