Jackie Bradley Jr., and all the possible scenarios in the run up to April 1st, may cause John Farrell and the front office to develop a few more grey hairs. Does he play Opening Day, or does he not? Many writers from Boston broadcast outlets like WBZ to print writers from the Globe and Herald, as well as, bloggers on this very site, argue the pros and cons of bringing him up on April 1st versus waiting until April 12th.
In my humble opinion, the best move for Bradley Jr. and his agent, Scott Boras, is to let Jackie play in Pawtucket for the first 12 days of the season. It is just a week and a half, really, a few days longer than Hanukkah. This decision makes Jackie eligible for free agency in 2019. These twelve days allow him to improve his skills at left field. This is a nuanced position at Fenway Park due to the corner and the possibility of balls bouncing off the right angle in the left field pocket. With some additional training alongside Pawtucket’s defensive staff, he will be even more effective at left. Though he is an exceptional center fielder I do not see Jacoby Ellsbury going anywhere anytime soon. I believe injury would have to strike again in order for a shift to be made with regard to the center field position. We do not need that kind of juju right now, so let us leave it at that.
With Shane Victorino or Daniel Nava in right field, Ellsbury in center and Bradley Jr. in left, the Red Sox could have one formidable outfield. Let us not forget he has one hot bat. Sunday and Monday he was absolutely undeniable. Monday he hit a triple and a single which helped score two runs tying the game. Sunday he went back to back with a home run and four RBIs increasing his batting average to .444 and his on base percentage to .523. WOW!
This great news, and a soon to be developed more consistent roster of strong hitters, should give the rest of the League a run for their big money spent on such players as Mark Teixeria and Carl Crawford.
What do you think? Am I on the right track or do you think Bradley Jr. should come up for Opening Day against the Yankees?