By Dave Little – @DLittleMLB
Let me clearly state for the record that I am a Jackie fan. I always have been. The kid had to completely grind to get to where he is, and was sent up and down to Pawtucket multiple times before finally reaching the point where we currently have him. Also remember that Bradley was one of the hottest bats in the league throughout 2016. Oh yeah, he’s pretty good in the field as well. But the problem with Jackie is becoming very clear at this point. He’s incredibly inconsistent and sometimes (that’s me being nice) he’s essentially a black hole in the lineup offensively.
So, even though I love the guy, I am a Red Sox fan first. As a coach of mine put it, you put the name on front of your jersey before the name on the back. So the question becomes, is Jackie, even with his plus plus glove, worth it in center field? Is he limiting our team? I believe that answer is yes.
From an offensive standpoint, moving Mookie or Benny to center would create huge offensive production in center field. I’m not going to back this up statistically, because to be honest, I don’t need too. Not only is it clear in the analytics, its clear with the eye. Both players produce drastically offensively over Jackie. And that’s clear. So Jackie out, our outfield will look like JDM, Benny, and Betts. I am fine with that. No, JDM is not a gold glover, but he will get his feet under him in left field. He has played both corners, and was very serviceable for both Detroit and Arizona. So lets just agree to put him there. The offensive upside Boston would outweigh any potential loss defensively. Mookie and Benny are no slouch in that department at all.
Now what we do is move Jackie for a bat, or reliever. Whichever would be available. We can either have Pedroia (once hes healthy) and Nunez take turns at 2nd and DH, which would provide considerable upside to Jackie’s bat. In exchange for Bradley, a few trade targets might be players such as Brad Hand, Raisel Iglesias, or Felipe Rivero, which in turn would make our bullpen as stout as any in the majors. Call up Lin to fill the bench gap, and we would have a great set up in our lineup.
Don’t like that idea? Well how about adding a guy like Adam Duvall or Kyle Schwarber? Both could be had if the deal was right. Both would again be a huge upgrade offensively, and serviceable in the outfield.
I guess what it comes down to for me is this; Bradley is very expendable, and we are an improved team if he is dealt. He still has upside, and a change of scenery might do him well. I will miss him, but for the betterment of the team, this might be the move to make.
ICYMI: EPISODE 36 OF THE AVIDBOSTON PODCAST!! SOX CRUSH THE YANKEES!!! JOE KELLY VS. TYLER AUSTIN FIGHT!!! YANKEE WOES!!! AND MUCH MUCH MORE!!!
Also available on iTunes!