LAS VEGAS — Probably the most superb factor about Jackie Bradley Jr. is that he’s still sporting the same uniform.
Annually about this time, when common managers and brokers collect at a central location for the winter meetings, Bradley’s identify floats to the highest of a headline on MLB Commerce Rumors. It’s all the time the same story — great glove, inconsistent bat, perhaps the Purple Sox are ready to maneuver on.
And annually for six years, they haven’t.
It happened again this week in Las Vegas, where Bradley’s identify was first floated Tuesday by a number of retailers reporting that Bradley might be on the move.
His agent, Scott Boras, is used to it by now.
“Jackie, the (second half) of the season, had nicely over an .800 OPS,” Boras stated Wednesday. “Together with his defense, he’s established himself. On this market, take a look at the rarity of middle fielders. It’s just exhausting to find a guy with energy, offensive manufacturing and may give you Gold Glove protection. I’m positive Boston covets him very, very intently.”
The Pink Sox do, actually.
Maybe more than ever earlier than, the Sox are taking a look at Bradley as an indispensable a part of their organization. He’ll turn 29 in April, and he’s expected to make around $eight million in arbitration before having another go at it in 2020 and getting into free agency at age 30.
The best way Alex Cora talks about Bradley nowadays, the Sox aren’t taking a look at him as anyone with unquestioned defensive capacity however an offensive plate strategy that creates a hole in the backside of the lineup. As an alternative, they see the .827 OPS he put up within the second half, the .835 OPS within the postseason, the American League Championship Collection MVP and the Gold Glove award as a glimpse into Bradley’s future.
Asked for one participant Cora was most enthusiastic about seeing enhance in 2019, he mentioned the battle-tested middle fielder.
“Wanting forward to Jackie the whole season,” Cora stated. “That’s going to be cool. We had a conversation at Christian (Vazquez’) wedding ceremony, and that’s when he stated he’s going to go to L.A. (to work with hitting coach Craig Wallenbrock). I stated, ‘that is going to be good.’”
Bradley’s mid-season adjustments had rather a lot to do together with his work with Wallenbrock, based on a narrative Wednesday at WEEI.com, which reported that Wallenbrock, J.D. Martinez’s hitting coach, had given Bradley some key tips about learn how to better his swing in the trendy recreation.
So much had to do with hitting the ball in the air and avoiding the shift.
“He felt it, and he understands who he’s now,” Cora stated. “And I don’t assume the whole curler coaster of Jackie Bradley will happen once more. He understands who he’s. And with that offensive strategy over 162 games, we’ll see what occurs.”
Andrew Benintendi and Mookie Betts clearly aren’t going anyplace this winter. Cora is planning to flip-flop them within the batting order, however they’ll be entrenched in left and right area again in 2019, and doubtless 2020.
Betts and Bradley are up free of charge agency in 2020, but that’s two seasons away.
The Sox aren’t thinking about breaking up their outfield yet, not after they noticed the dividends it paid in 2018, as the three fly chasers made play after play within the outfield to assist lead the Sox past the Yankees, Astros and Dodgers for an additional title.
President of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski stated Wednesday that, although all three are capable of enjoying middle area, the Sox don’t need to mess with an excellent thing.
Meaning another season of Bradley roaming middle subject at Fenway Park in 2019 is likely.
“Is there flexibility? Yes. However we actually like our outfield,” Dombrowski stated. “And we expect it’s the power of our club all-round. From a defensive perspective, it wins recreation for us. Alex in fact moved Mookie to middle from time to time relying on the situations. Andrew, depending on where we have been enjoying, ballparks, situations.
“However it’s not one we actually look to vary as a result of we expect it’s actually robust. I feel it’s the perfect defensive outfield in baseball. I feel it wins video games. I feel it’s athletic. You will have offense and defense out of there. They’re good gamers, they’re profitable players, so we’re not likely trying to change that.”