George Springer subtly shades Red Sox amidst Jackie Bradley Jr.’s hot streak
George Springer supports new teammate Jackie Bradley Jr. in return to Fenway Park
For the first time in his 10-year career, Jackie Bradley Jr.’s success at Fenway Park is not benefitting the Boston Red Sox.
Back in town with the Toronto Blue Jays this week, JBJ has been showcasing his usual spectacular defense, as well as having a hot week at the plate. The Sox can’t be thrilled with the situation, especially since they’re paying him to play against them. By releasing Bradley earlier this month, the Sox enabled their division rivals to sign him for the prorated league minimum while they remain on the hook for the remainder of his lucrative salary.
But while the Sox are forced to stew in their own mess of a season, Bradley’s new teammates are thrilled by his success. On Tuesday, George Springer kept it short and sweet while talking about Bradley’s success in the series opener:
"“He deserves it.”"
A subtle dig at the Sox, perhaps, for how they unloaded JBJ?
The Red Sox made a mistake releasing Jackie Bradley Jr.
The Sox didn’t handle the Bradley situation well. He’s a homegrown talent who brought Gold Glove defense to the outfield and a clutch bat to the 2018 postseason run. Fenway outfield predecessors, including Fred Lynn and Dwight Evans, raved about his glovework in the tricky dimensions of America’s Most Beloved Ballpark. Bradley even wore 19, partially to honor Lynn.
After letting Bradley reach free agency after the 2020 season, the Sox brought him back via trade with the Milwaukee Brewers. Due to his streaky hitting, they planned to maximize his defense and mitigate offensive struggles by only using him in the most optimal situations. Unfortunately, they had to scrap that strategy almost immediately, as injuries started piling up. Bradley went back to being an everyday player, and while he hit very well at home, his road numbers were unsustainable.
Still, releasing Bradley made little sense, given that it only made a weak outfield defense significantly worse and they’d still have to pay him. There were other ways to open roster spots for their trade acquisitions, yet they sent Bradley packing. The Jays signing him immediately pretty much cemented the situation as the worst-case scenario.
Bradley’s first game at Fenway in a visiting uniform went spectacularly well. A leadoff double in the third inning sparked an 8-run onslaught by the Jays. Bradley scored twice in that inning; it went on so long that he came up to bat a second time and drew a walk. By the end of the game, he was 2-for-3. He collected another hit on Wednesday.
It’s also definitely the eye test, but it felt like every ball the Sox hit on Wednesday night landed in Bradley’s glove. Karma from the baseball gods, perhaps?
Karma, a new curse, whatever it is, this entire season feels like a punishment. But Springer is correct, Bradley does deserve all the good things happening to him since getting released. He’s making even more money, he’ll be on a postseason team, and he’s escaped the sinking ship that is the 2022 Red Sox.
May we all be so lucky.