The Boston Red Sox aren’t interested in letting go of Jackie Bradley Jr. but both the Chicago Cubs and the Kansas City Royals are trying to find out what’s the price that will make them say yes regarding the right fielder.
At the moment, there’s nothing that can convince the Red Sox, the 2013 World Series champions who have since failed to make the playoffs, to part ways with the 25-year old right fielder, who is one of the best defensive players in baseball on the outfield (although he doesn’t have a Gold Glove yet) with hitting that has vastly improved from his first two years in the league, putting up some embarrassing numbers when at the plate.
Bradley spend most of his time between right field and left field, but in terms of defense, he seems like a safe pick anywhere in the outfield, committing just one error the entire season and finishing with a .994 fielding percentage, playing in just 74 games. He was hitting .196 through 2013 and 2014 and just four home runs in 2013 and 2014, but 2015 signaled a big change for the first round pick in the 2011 amateur draft, coming out of South Carolina. Bradley hit .249 last season with 10 home runs and 43 RBIs, playing half the games in a season.
He might be on pace to becoming a player who can do it all, and only needs his batting average to pick up a little. And while the Royals and the Cubs are both good teams when it comes to hitting, and power is certainly not something the Cubs are missing, Bradley is great to plug about anywhere and automatically vastly improve your defense, and hopefully watch him continue to develop as a hitter.
In the meantime, the Red Sox, never a team that thinks about rebuilding but about jumping right back into the thick of the action, which means trying to win the much more difficult and crowded AL East, aren’t letting go. The only way to make them give up on Bradley is somehow putting a trade package together which convinces the Red Sox that the players they’re getting puts them in a better position to win the World Series in 2016. Hard to see that happening.