It’s Time to Trade Jackie Bradley Jr.

As much as I love the man, it’s time the Red Sox trade Jackie Bradley Jr. away. For years, I’ve been saying that Bradley Jr. only needed a few more years to develop his swing and improve his batting average. But he’s only hitting .173 as of May 8th. He’s also not hitting the home runs he used to hit. With over 500 games played and 1800 at-bats, his career average is only .235. While he’ll always have one of the best gloves in the American League, it’s clear Bradley Jr. is becoming a detriment rather than an asset to the Red Sox.

Last night’s game against the Yankees only solidified this notion. He went 0-3 against thetrade jackie bradley Yankees in a crucial 3-2 loss. In the month of May alone, Bradley Jr. has only two hits in twenty-three at-bats. According to ESPN, “Bradley’s .173 batting average and .528 OPS are better than only three qualified hitters in baseball.” So when does Dave Dombrowski say enough’s enough?

It’s not like the Red Sox need him anyway. J.D. Martinez could easily take his place, and he has one of the hottest bats in the American League right now. Bradley Jr.’s current WAR is -0.3 whereas Martinez’s is 1.6. Bradley Jr. has a .173 batting average vs. Martinez’s .346 as of May 9th. Martinez has eight home runs compared to Bradley Jr.’s two. If the math doesn’t make it clear who’s more valuable, that what can?

Trade Jackie Bradley Jr. for the Benefit of the Team

Trading Bradley Jr. would allow for stronger players to get more playing time and solidify the Red Sox’s lead in the AL East. Alex Cora could replace Bradley Jr. with J.D. Martinez in the outfield. Hanley Ramirez could become the designated hitter again, a role he thrived in. Cora could then replace Ramirez at first base with Gold Glove-winner Mitch Moreland.

Cora and Dombrowski can no longer keep giving Bradley Jr. more chances to improve his hitting. After so many seasons, it’s clear he’s never going to be a .300 hitter. If anything, his lack of offense is now a liability. If the Red Sox were to trade Jackie Bradley Jr., stronger players like Hanley Ramirez and Mitch Moreland would get more playing time, and they have great offensive numbers.

I love Jackie Bradley Jr., especially his glove, but if Dombrowski wants to win a third straight AL East title and go to the World Series, it’ll have to be without him.

Red Sox’ Injuries Plague Team into Bad Stretch

It seems that the Red Sox can not catch a break when it comes to staying healthy. Drew Red Sox' InjuriesPomeranz left his most recent game after experiencing left-forearm tightness, while Marco Hernandez banged up his shoulder just the other day. This is a team that is looking to turn things around after losing consecutive series to Milwaukee and Tampa Bay. If it weren’t for a late Mookie Betts home-run on Thursday, we would have been swept by Travis Shaw’s Brewers. The Red Sox’ injuries have been coming fast and furious so far, and hopefully can come to an end soon.

Are the Red Sox’ Injuries to blame for hitting rough patch?

Pomeranz, Hernandez, Stephen Wright, Pablo Sandoval (surprisingly), Brock Holt, and Hanley Ramirez have all faced injuries this season. Meanwhile, David Price, Roenis Elias, Tyler Thornburg, and Carson Smith have not appeared in a game yet this year. Going into this season, arguably every one of those names were ones that were going to make a huge impact this year. Sure, there is still plenty of time for some of these guys to contribute. Dave Dombrowski is going to have to make a decision soon, though. The inconsistencies in the lineup, bullpen, and back-end of the starting rotation all start with the injuries.

Red Sox’ Injuries or Red Sox’ Slump?

With a lack of depth in the roster due to injuries, several players have hit their own cold spells. Rick Porcello and Jackie Bradley Jr have slumped in their respective roles because they have so much pressure on them to succeed. Last year, Porcello went under the radar for a decent amount of the year before ultimately winning the Cy Young. Bradley was able to alleviate stressful situations last season because there were more guys in the lineup who could get RBI. Are these guys slumping because of the added pressure that injuries bring, or because they simply are struggling? The same question can be asked about Mitch Moreland and Andrew Benintendi, who started the year off hot, but have cooled down tremendously, (as the injuries have rolled in). Only time will tell if the Sox will break their rut, but a little more luck with health wouldn’t hurt either.

Top Ten Current Red Sox Players: Part 1

After winning the AL East in 2017, Boston looks to continue their success this season. This series will look at the top ten Red Sox players on the roster in all positions. The rankings are based mainly on performances from 2016 and early 2017.

Top Ten Current Red Sox Players

  1. Jackie Bradley Jr.

Known mostly for his superb defense, Bradley has the ability to kill rallies by gunning out bradley red sox playersrunners trying to advance. Likewise, he can take hits away by making incredible catches. Additionally, the center fielder can knock in runs hitting in the middle of the lineup—87 in 2016 to be exact.

  1. Hanley Ramirez

After a rough transition back to the Red Sox and the American League, Han-Ram became a force in the lineup during the 2016 season. He batted .236 with 30 homers and 11 RBI. Now that David Ortiz is gone, Hanley must continue to drive in runs and fill his shoes at DH if the lineup is to be as successful.

  1. David Price

Even though he is currently on the disabled list, Price deserves the respect because of his consistent major league success. In 2016, he led the American League in innings pitched and was fourth in wins. This was during a so called “down year.” Maybe when he returns from injury, he’ll be back to the dominant form. And if not for playoff struggles, he’d be higher on this list.

  1. Rick Porcello

When you win the American League Cy Young Award and lead the league in wins the previous year, you deserve to find yourself near the top of any list. However so far in 2017, Porcello hasn’t had as much success, going 1-2 with a 5.32 ERA in four starts. Granted it is a small sample size, though.

  1. Dustin Pedroia

            Following Ortiz’s retirement, Pedroia is now the undisputed leader and captain of the Red Sox. And to no surprise, he is still producing despite his age. In 2016, Pedey was tied with Betts for second in the AL with a .318 average. So far this season, he is averaging a hit per game. Furthermore, his defense is as strong as ever.

Red Sox Players’ WBC Performances

The 2017 World Baseball Classic was one that will go down in history. The combination ofWBC Performances flare for dramatics, swag, and genuinely good baseball will make sure of that. The best players in the world getting to represent their country is always a special event. For the fans, their favorite players from their favorite teams don a new jersey. Following Team USA’s exciting victory over Puerto Rico, it officially became time for Red Sox baseball. The team has been playing in spring training games and tuning the roster up for Opening Day. The participants who are also Red Sox players missed time with the team to play for their home country. Let’s see what their WBC performances consisted of.

Xander Bogaerts’ WBC Performance

The Netherlands were a team that did not have much big league talent. Regardless, the team made a push in the tournament to reach the semifinal. They were defeated by Puerto RIco by a score of 4-3 in 11 innings. The team’s best hitter was a man named Wladimir Balentine, who hit a whopping .615 in the tournament. Xander Bogaerts ultimately went 5-22 (.227) in 17 games, scored 5 runs, and drove in 2 runs. He has always been a “put the ball in play” type of hitter, and managed to only strike out once all tourney long. Bogey had a OBP of .419.

Red Sox Players’ WBC Performances

Fernando Abad threw 2 & 1/3 innings for the DOminican Republic in the WBC. He got a win for one of the most exciting teams in the tournament. Abad was 1-0, had an ERA of 0.00, stuck out 1 while walking 1, and gave up 2 hits. We’ll have to wait and see if he finds a spot back in the Red Sox bullpen this year.

It certainly would have been interesting to see what Hanley Ramirez could have done in the WBC for the Dominican Republic. Ramirez decided to not partake in the event due to a lingering shoulder soreness. He plans on returning to playing the field for Boston by the end of spring training.

The same goes for Eduardo Rodriguez. E-Rod has been pitching for the Red Sox during spring training, and was on the Venezuelan roster as one of the pitchers they could pick up later in the tournament. The team requested Rodriguez, but he denied the request. The Red Sox will continue to monitor Rodriguez’s situation with his knee, as well as simply watch the young man progress.

No Red Sox players emerged as heroes in the World Baseball Classic like some thought they would. The leadership and determination of Xander Bogaerts had to have played a role in the Netherlands semifinal run. Fernando Abad pitched in one game, while Hanley Ramirez and Eduardo Rodriguez simply did not partake. Now that the WBC is over, it is time for Red Sox baseball.

Despite ALDS Loss, Red Sox Had a Good Year

This is the point in the season where fans of eliminated teams start to complain about what went wrong. I’ll admit I’m one of those fans, but I also like to look at what went right. Let’s admit it, despite the ALDS loss, the Red Sox had a great year. They overcame inconsistent managing from John Farrell. They overcame Clay Buchholz’s shoddy pitching.  And they overcame setbacks from a flawed bullpen. Was it enough to advance to the ALCS? Unfortunately, no. This doesn’t mean, however, that the Red Sox won’t play well next season. If anything, I expect them to do even better in 2017.

I stood along those who called for John Farrell’s termination. His decisions to leaveALDS Loss certain pitchers in the game, insert questionable pinch hitters in clutch situations, and his general failure to take advantage of bases-loaded situations left me wondering what he was thinking half the time. But by September the team came together. The Red Sox won eleven in a row. Clay Buchholz evened out. But focusing on Farrell and Buchholz made a lot of fans overlook the improvements other Red Sox players made this season, notably Hanley Ramirez, Jackie Bradley Jr., and Rick Porcello.

Despite ALDS Loss, Many Red Sox Were Winners This Season

How many of us prayed the Red Sox would unload Ramirez before the start to the 2016 season? His dismal 2015 season included a .249 and only 53 RBIs. His performance in left field was like something out of a horror movie. So I wasn’t the only one who groaned when the Red Sox converted him to a first baseman. Much to everyone’s (and my) surprise, Ramirez had a fantastic year! A respectable .286 average, 30 home runs, and 111 RBIs significantly contributed to clinching the AL East. His .996 fielding percentage was even more astounding (he made only 4 errors at first base). It wouldn’t surprise me to see Ramirez snag a Gold Glove Award. Speaking of Gold Gloves…

Looking at Jackie Bradley Jr.’s fantastic center field performance is another way to forget about the ALDS loss. I loved seeing opposing base runners hesitate to advance when they saw Bradley Jr. snag the ball and wind up to fire it back into the infield. Most baserunners didn’t fear Mookie Betts or Brock Holt as much as they feared Jackie. His cannon arm will hopefully lead to his first Gold Glove Award.

Who saw Rick Porcello becoming a 20-game winner this season? I certainly didn’t. Everyone expected David Price to run away with 20 wins and a Cy Young Award. His rough start to the season and inclination to give up home runs at the worse times put him in Porcello’s shadow though. Now that we know what he’s capable of, Porcello will likely become the Red Sox new ace.

There’s Always Next Season

Don’t worry. An ALDS loss doesn’t mean the Red Sox won’t bounce back next season. If anything, now that we know what their players are capable of doing, I’m expecting to see players like Porcello, Bradley Jr., and Ramirez to play even better next season.

An Improving David Price Needs Run Support

There’s no doubt that David Price is struggling. He’s 9-7, which is not bad, but not great either. Rather than focus on an improving David Price, we’re too focused on a failing David Price. That’s not fair, especially if you look at the fact that he currently leads the league in game starts, innings pitched, and batters faced. Despite his flaws, I think he will only get better. Like ESPN Baseball Tonight analyst John Kruk said, “Price is a veteran and can figure things outs.” The larger problem lies in the infield defense, and the inability to get crucial hits and RBIs.

Since June 8th, Price has pitched four 10+ strikeout games. Five of his losses since then were byImproving David Price two runs or less. Instead of blaming Price, look at the lack of run support. This leads me to the bigger problem that David Price faces.

Why can’t the Red Sox get crucial hits? Why does it seem like they choke when it’s do-or-die? Let’s take a look at the July series against the Texas Rangers as an example. Price pitched eight innings and gave up three runs on the 5th. The day before, the Red Sox left 12 runners on base (even though we won). The team left another 13 runners on base in a 7-2 loss to Texas the next day. 25 runners left on base in two days? That’s inexcusable.

Hanley Ramirez has trouble throwing home. His error in the July 28th game against the Angels allowed Elvis Andrus to score the go-ahead run. Ramirez does well at first base most of the time, but it’s not the first time this season that he botched a throw to home. Yes, they’re more than half way through the season and players are getting tired. But now’s not the time to fall apart.

An Improving David Price Would Be More Improved By Better Hitting

The Red Sox hitting is not at fault. As of July 29th, they lead the league in batting average (.289), on-base percentage (.355), and slugging (.475). When it comes to leaving runners on base, however, they lead the American League with an average of 7.35 per game. An improving David Price will do better if batters focus on driving home more runners.