Boston Red Sox

HOUSTON, TX - OCTOBER 17: Jackie Bradley Jr. #19 of the Boston Red Sox hits a two-run home run in the sixth inning against the Houston Astros during Game Four of the American League Championship Series at Minute Maid Park on October 17, 2018 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)

One year after Jackie Bradley Jr. left the Red Sox for the Brewers in free agency, the Gold Glove center fielder is back in Boston. On Wednesday evening Boston reacquired Bradley in a trade with Milwaukee in exchange for outfielder Hunter Renfroe. The Red Sox also received two prospects in the deal in infielders David Hamilton and Alex Binelas.

In 134 games for the Brewers last season, Bradley hit .163 with six home runs and 29 RBIs. Over his eight seasons in Boston, the 31-year-old hit .239 and averaged 18 home runs a season with a career high of 26 in 2016.

Bradley was known for his streaky play in Boston, at one point going on a 29-game hitting streak. He was an All-Star in 2016 and was named the MVP of the 2018 ALCS.

During his time in Boston, Bradley also became known for his highlight catches. He won a Gold Glove in 2018.

Bradley signed a two-year, $24 million contract with the Brewers last spring. The Red Sox will now owe him $9.5 million in 2022, with a $12 million mutual option on the books for 2023.

The Red Sox signed Renfroe last winter as a free agent. The 29-year-old ended up being one of the biggest surprises of the 2021 season. He hit .259 – over 100 points higher than his 2020 average – with 31 home runs and 96 RBIs in 144 games. He was also named a Gold Glove finalist in right field after finishing the season tied for the league lead in outfield assists with 16.

Renfroe didn’t have a concrete contract with the Red Sox, and was set for an arbitration hearing in February. He was expected to get $7.5 million, per Spotrac. The Brewers can now take Renfroe to arbitration, or work on a long-term deal. He was one more year of team control in 2022 and then is set to become an unrestricted free agent in 2024.

Of course, this wasn’t a one-for-one swap. The Red Sox received a pair of minor leaguers from the Brewers as well. Hamilton and Binelas were the 16th and 17th ranked prospects, respectively, in the Brewers farm system according to MLB.com.

Hamilton is a 24-year-old middle infielder who was taken in the 8th round of the 2019 MLB Draft out of Texas. According to his MLB.com scouting report…

“Hamilton’s calling card is some of the best raw speed and baserunning instincts in the organization, but he was also a pleasant surprise with the bat when he reported to the Brewers’ fall instructional league as a 23-year-old finally getting a taste of pro ball. Hamilton has little power, but he does hit line drives and reaches base enough to access his speed. His average arm makes him a stretch for shortstop at the highest level, but he has plenty of defensive ability to play a good second base or center field.” (MLB ETA 2023)

Last season, Hamilton split time between High-A Wisconsin and Double-AA Biloxi in the Brewers’ farm system. In 33 games at Double-AA, he slashed .248/.322/.414. He made 30 starts at shortstop and three at second base.

Although ranked lower, Binelas has the higher upside of the two. The 21-year-old corner infielder was a third-round pick this past summer out of Louisville. His MLB.com scouting report reads…

“With strength and bat speed, Binelas uses the entire field and doesn’t chase many pitches out of the strike zone, though he doesn’t have a history of hitting for high averages. He draws a decent amount of walks, but he’s a streaky hitter who falls into prolonged slumps when his timing gets off at the plate. Binelas also lacks an obvious defensive home. He began the season at third base but most scouts don’t like his hands, footwork or funky throwing motion, and he also looked rough at first base after moving there in mid-March. Though his speed plays as fringy in games…his best option may be left or right field.” (MLB ETA 2024)

Following the draft in July, Binelas played in 36 games, 29 of those coming with Single-A Carolina. He hit .314 with nine home runs, and had an OPS of 1.014. He made 20 starts at third base, four at first base, and five as a designated hitter.

Overall, perhaps the most shocking aspect of the trade is that any deal got done. Just minutes before the deal was reported, MLB Network’s Jon Heyman reported the league officially planned to institute a lockout. About half an hour after, ESPN’s Jeff Passan reported that the lockout had officially begun. No player movement (free agency, trades, etc.) can take place during a work stoppage.

That means this is likely the last deal we’ll see from the Red Sox for some time, as labor negotiations get underway. The Red Sox enter this break in offseason action with 38 players on their 40-man roster. Six of those players are set to have arbitration hearings in February, highlighted by Rafael Devers.

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Alex Barth is a writer and digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Looking for a podcast guest? Let him know on Twitter @RealAlexBarth or via email at abarth@985TheSportsHub.com.