It appears that the Jackie Bradley Jr. era in Boston is officially over (updated)
UPDATE: The Boston Red Sox officially announced Thursday that they’ve released Jackie Bradley Jr., hours after it was reported that he had been designated for assignment.
The Boston Red Sox are designating outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr. for assignment, according to Julian McWiliams of the Boston Globe Thursday morning. Per McWilliams, the team is now “riding with Jarren Duran” as their center fielder.
Despite an unsuccessful second stint with the Red Sox, Bradley will be best remembered for his performance in the 2018 postseason. He hit two home runs, drove in nine runs, and posted a 1.067 OPS in the American League Championship Series against the Houston Astros, earning ALCS MVP honors. He also hit a game-tying home run in the eighth inning of Game 3 of the World Series against the Dodgers. The Red Sox ultimately lost that game in an 18-inning marathon, but ended up winning the World Series.
His best offensive season came in 2016, when he batted .267 with 26 home runs, 87 RBIs, and an .835 OPS. He earned his lone All-Star nod that year. But Bradley will, of course, be most remembered for his defense, including a Gold Glove win in 2018.
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Bradley signed a two-year deal with the Milwaukee Brewers before the 2021 season, before coming back to Boston via trade before 2022. The Red Sox swapped outfielder Hunter Renfroe for Bradley, who batted just .210 with a .578 OPS in 91 games.
After designating Bradley for assignment, the Red Sox have 10 days to find a trade partner or place him on waivers. The move allows them to remove Bradley from the main roster while they seek a deal. It’s possible a team may have interest in Bradley as a defensive specialist in the outfield.
The Red Sox recently acquired outfielder Tommy Pham from the Cincinnati Reds prior to the 2022 major league trade deadline. To accommodate the longtime left fielder, Alex Verdugo shifted to right field on Wednesday night in Pham’s debut. Duran started in center field.
Boston lost 6-1 to Houston Wednesday night, snapping a three-game winning streak. Trade deadline addition Eric Hosmer is expected to join the team in Kansas City to face his former team.
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But are these Red Sox a greater threat for the stretch run following their deadline maneuvering?
Jul 14, 2022; St. Petersburg, Florida, USA; Tampa Bay Rays third baseman Yandy Diaz (2) is tagged out at home by Boston Red Sox catcher Kevin Plawecki (25) in the seventh inning at Tropicana Field. (Nathan Ray Seebeck/USA TODAY Sports)
Based on what Alex Cora said following the deadline, it would appear that the Red Sox expect to split their starts pretty evenly, as they would like to keep the 31-year-old Plawecki upright.
Plawecki has hit .179 with a home run and six RBIs through 39 games this season, while McGuire hit .225 with 10 RBIs and 12 runs scored in a 53-game run with the White Sox prior to his trade to Boston. Vazquez, meanwhile, had the second-best bating average among catchers prior to his trade. This is ultimately where the Sox are going to feel it the most, as the team is going from top-of-the-line offensive production from the catcher spot to near the bottom.
The expectation, by the way, is that McGuire will make his Red Sox debut on Wednesday.
Behind the Plawecki-McGuire duo, Ronaldo Hernandez and Connor Wong remain the No. 3 and No. 4 catchers in the organization.
Jul 29, 2022; San Diego, California, USA; San Diego Padres first baseman Eric Hosmer (30) is congratulated in the dugout after hitting a home run against the Minnesota Twins during the fourth inning at Petco Park. (Orlando Ramirez/USA TODAY Sports)
The big deadline addition for the Sox this year came in the infield, with the Red Sox grabbing first baseman (an actual first baseman!) Eric Hosmer (and more) from the Padres for next to nothing. In fact, the Padres are sending prospects and $44 million to the Red Sox in the Hosmer deal, according to multiple reports, which will effectively make the 32-year-old Hosmer a league-minimum add for Boston.
Source: SD is paying Hosmer down to the minimum. They are sending Sox about $44m.
Hosmer, who won a World Series with the Royals in 2015 and has career accolades that include four Gold Gloves and a Silver Slugger, is hitting .272 with eight home runs and 40 RBIs in 90 game this season.
The lefty may not be what he used to be, but he has raked at Fenway Park in his career, with a .354 average and .889 OPS, along with three homers and 17 RBIs, in 24 games in Boston.
Hosmer will have support from Bobby Dalbec (who will also play some third base), while the infield is headlined by its elite one-two with Xander Bogaerts and Rafael Devers both still with the Sox following the deadline.
BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS – JUNE 01: Alex Verdugo #99 of the Boston Red Sox celebrates with teammates after the Red Sox defeat the Reds 7-1 at Fenway Park on June 01, 2022 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
A Tommy Pham-boosted outfield will come with Alex Verdugo shifting out to right field, as Cora and the Sox view the 34-year-old Pham as a full-time left fielder.
Pham, who Bloom is certainly familiar with from their time together with the Tampa Bay Rays, has hit .239 with 11 home runs and 39 RBIs in 91 games with the Reds this season.
With Pham and Verdugo patrolling left and right, center is looking like it will be be a platoon of sorts between Jarred Duran and the veteran Jackie Bradley Jr.
You also have J.D. Martinez, who was surprisingly not traded by the deadline, and at this point is an outfielder in name only, as he’s spent the entire season as a designated hitter for the Red Sox.
The odd man out out of the gate in the Sox outfield was Franchy Cordero, as the team assigned him to Triple-A Worcester on Tuesday following the addition of Pham to the active roster.
OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA – JUNE 03: Nathan Eovaldi #17 of the Boston Red Sox pitches against the Oakland Athletics in the first inning at RingCentral Coliseum on June 03, 2022 in Oakland, California. (Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
In a bit of a surprise move, the Red Sox did not part with any of their starters by Tuesday’s deadline, as they elected to keep both Nathan Eovaldi and Rich Hill. Both players drew interest leading up to the final days of the trade deadline, but Bloom & Co. ultimately decided to stick with their veteran, playoff-experienced arms.
Other starters currently in the mix: Jake Pivetta, Kutter Crawford, Brayan Bello, and Josh Winckowski.
Jul 15, 2022; Bronx, New York, USA; Boston Red Sox relief pitcher Garrett Whitlock (72) follows through on a pitch against the New York Yankees during the seventh inning at Yankee Stadium. (Brad Penner/USA TODAY Sports)
The Red Sox did make one subtraction from their bullpen at the deadline with Monday’s trade of Jake Diekman to the White Sox. That trade allowed the Red Sox to cut $4 million from next year’s payroll, and with a player that likely didn’t factor into either their long-term plans or as a team walking the line between buying and selling.
It’s left the Red Sox will a bullpen that features Ryan Brasier, Austin Davis, Kaleb Ort, Hiro Sawamura, John Schreiber, and finishers Garrett Whitlock and Tanner Houck.
Oct 16, 2021; Houston, Texas, USA; Boston Red Sox center fielder Enrique Hernandez (5) hits a solo home run against the Houston Astros during the fourth inning in Game 2 of the 2021 ALCS at Minute Maid Park. (Troy Taormina/USA TODAY Sports)
There’s also absolutely no shortage of capable talents who could make their return off the injured list between now and the end of the regular season.
In the rotation, the Red Sox hope to get Michael Wacha back in action soon, and there’s a chance that Chris Sale returns in time for the final weeks of the season. James Paxton, who was always a low-risk, high-reward signing with just six starts since 2020, is also in the mix as a potential wild card threat for Boston.
And in the ‘pen, Matt Barnes, Matt Strahm, Tyler Danish, and Josh Taylor are among those on the shelf.
That’s quite a bit of on-the-hill firepower the Sox could use between now and Game 162.
Positionally, the Sox clearly hope to get Trevor Story back in action at some point, and the same can be said for Kiké Hernandez. The former seems more likely than the latter, based on the information to this point.
The team also placed Rob Refsnyder on the 10-day injured list ahead of Tuesday’s tilt.