Peter Gammons reported in his latest column for GammonsDaily that the Atlanta Braves have “strong interest” in 24 year-old Red Sox center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr:
When the Red Sox know the health and the predictable production of all their outfielders this spring, they may well make a trade or two; the Braves have called and made it clear they have strong interest in Jackie Bradley, but that is a post St. Patrick’s Day discussion.
The Red Sox may have mutual interest in trading Bradley after the 2014 mid-season addition of Rusney Castillo on a seven year contract, and the call up of top prospect (#1 Red Sox at time, Top-15 prospect in the league) Mookie Betts.
The Braves have been rebuilding their outfield this off-season after trading away Justin Upton and Jason Heyward. They brought in Nick Markakis (four years/$44 million) but their outfield remains a potential weakness with B.J. Upton and Jonny Gomes currently penciled in next to Markakis.
However, it is possible the Red Sox will be reluctant to sell low on their former top prospect. Bradley Jr. turned in a miserable 2014 season at the plate despite playing defense in center field that was arguably worthy of a Gold Glove. In 2015, Bradley is stuck in a muddled Red Sox outfield after the addition of Betts, Castillo and Hanley Ramirez to the 2014 group of Allen Craig, Shane Victorino and Daniel Nava.
Bradley represents an excellent buy low candidate for the Braves, as there are still many around the league who believe Bradley will be able to turn things around at the plate to justify keeping him in the lineup and we already know he is a game changer defensively. From a Red Sox perspective, the reason to trade Bradley would be to turn an unusable asset into a usable one. Bradley may not see much playing time in Boston in 2015 and if the right deal can be agreed to, the deal could prove beneficial for both sides.
Prediction: @JackieBradleyJr makes an All-Star team in the next three years.
— David Laurila (@DavidLaurilaQA) February 10, 2015
- John Tomase of WEEI examined Bradley’s work on altering his plate approach this winter. Red Sox assistant hitting coach Victor Rodriguez has been working hard with Bradley to help him regain the plate approach that made him such a successful minor league player. Rodriguez has Bradley focusing on not getting underneath the ball and popping it up.
- In 2014, Bradley ranked in the bottom three in baseball with a .198 AVG and .548 OPS in 530 plate appearances. His 2.0 dWAR (WAR calculated based on a player’s defensive performance) ranked in the top 5 among major league outfielders.
- Entering 2013, Bradley was ranked as the No. 28 overall prospect in baseball by MLB Draft and Prospect Expert Jonathan Mayo