The Boston Red Sox were rumored to have interest in bringing back Jackie Bradley Jr. all winter long, but he was asking for too much money so they decided to go in another direction. The direction they took will likely benefit them more than if they would’ve brought back Bradley.
Bradley signed for two years, $24 million with the Milwaukee Brewers. That AAV doesn’t seem too outrageous, but Chaim Bloom decided to sign two players that can play the infield and the ourfield–Kike Hernandez and Marwin Gonzalez–for a combined $17 million (including Hernandez’s second year). Boston saves $7 million.
Since Hernandez and Gonzalez can both play multiple positions, they will give the Red Sox more flexibility and value than Bradley would’ve since he only plays center field. Bradley is projected to be worth 1.1 Wins Above Replacement in 2021, according to Steamer projections. Hernandez (1.2) and Gonzalez (0.5) are combined to be worth 1.7 wins this season.
Alex Verdugo is taking over as the starting center fielder and while you aren’t going to get Bradley’s defense out of him, he was the Red Sox’s best outfielder in 2020, hitting over .300 with a .367 on-base percentage.
Fans may have wanted Bradley back because he was on the 2018 World Series team, but the great teams in baseball are filled with versatile players. The Red Sox have them and it should only benefit the club in 2021.
(Photo: Michael Dwyer/AP)
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