Red Sox designate Jackie Bradley Jr. for assignment
Three days after trading their longest-tenured player, Christian Vázquez, to the Houston Astros, the Boston Red Sox are parting ways with another veteran.
On Thursday morning, news broke that the Sox are designating Jackie Bradley Jr. for assignment. Jarren Duran will get a full-time shot, alongside Alex Verdugo and Tommy Pham. The roster move coincides with new trade acquisition, Eric Hosmer, joining the team in Kansas City.
Bradley hit well at Fenway Park this season, but his longtime struggles in road games continued, and evidently, his Gold Glove-caliber defense wasn’t enough to keep him around. Duran’s slash line is pretty similar to Bradley’s, but measuring by wRC+, he’s been a significantly better hitter. The trade-off is that he’s nowhere near the defender Bradley is; that inside-the-park grand slam gaffe will sting for a long time.
It’s a pricy roster move; when the Sox re-acquired Bradley in the Hunter Renfroe trade last December, they took on a significant contract from the Milwaukee Brewers. He’s owed $9.5M this year and his deal has a $12M mutual option or $8M buyout.
With Bradley gone, Xander Bogaerts is the last remaining member of the 2013 championship team, and it’s almost guaranteed to remain that way. Many fans complained about Bradley’s streaky offense, but holding him to the standard of his slugging teammates was unfair. He should be remembered and appreciated for what he was actually here for, his outfield heroics. Any offensive contributions were a bonus, like his stellar, clutch performance in the 2018 ALCS, when 10 RBI, all on extra-base hits, picked up a struggling offense and carried them into the World Series.
This move can certainly be taken as a sign that the Sox are pushing to stay in the playoff hunt this year. It’s also yet another veteran homegrown player the Sox aren’t keeping around.