With Giancarlo Stanton and Shohei Ohtani making their way to new teams, it’s time for the rest of the offseason to finally get rolling. With a glaring hole in the middle of their lineup, the Red Sox are going to spend the neat future searching for a new power bat. There are a number of different ways this can go, and one of them involves that bat playing in the outfield. In that scenario, Boston will need to make some room. To that end, according to USA Today’s Bob Nightengale, the Red Sox have made Jackie Bradley Jr. available in trade talks and are letting teams know about it.
The Boston #RedSox have let several teams know that CF Jackie Bradley is available in their pursuit of a power bat. #Cubs— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) December 11, 2017
Nightengale notably throws the Cubs into the end of that tweet, likely making a connection between this rumor and the rumor that Boston is showing interest in Kyle Schwarber. The thing about that is that it doesn’t make much sense on either end. From the Cubs perspective, they are potentially dealing Schwarber because they already have a crowded outfield. It wouldn’t really make a ton of sense for them to get an outfielder back in that kind of deal, particularly when they already have Albert Almora in center field. From the Red Sox perspective, Schwarber works as a power bat, but it’d be surprising if they traded for him to do anything other than DH. The young Cub, and Sam Travis’ former college teammate, has sky-high potential at the plate but has proven to be a disaster pretty much everywhere in the field. If the Red Sox used him as a DH, they wouldn’t need to deal Bradley. So, yeah, the Cubs thing doesn’t make a ton of sense to me unless they’d look to trade for Schwarber along with signing someone like J.D. Martinez or Jay Bruce.
On the other hand, the broader part of this rumor in which the Red Sox could look to deal Bradley does make some sense and is something we’ve been discussing for a few weeks now. It’s certainly not something they have to do, and a lot of it depends on how they feel about Hanley Ramirez in the field. If they are willing to play Ramirez at first base, they’d have the option of signing a Martinez or Bruce and sticking them at DH most of the time. That would allow everyone to stick around. If they don’t want Ramirez as an everyday first baseman, though, then Bradley being traded becomes a lot more likely. Boston could still avoid that road by only signing a first baseman.
At the end of the day, there is likely some merit to this report and it’s been something most of us have considered as an option for a few weeks. It doesn’t mean it’s a given though, and it’d probably be smarter if the Red Sox could find a way to add their power bat without having to break up their exciting young outfield.
Dave Dombrowski, unsurprisingly, has shot these rumors down. He could have simply said no comment or we’re open to anything, but obviously he wasn’t going to confirm these rumors. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Dombrowski shot down the idea Bradley is being shopped. "Not accurate," he said.— Pete Abraham (@PeteAbe) December 11, 2017