The Red Sox have made center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. available in trade talks, per Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY. Nightengale reports that Bradley is currently being dangled as Boston looks to add power via the trade market. One would think, though, that the Red Sox might also be open to moving Bradley in order to address other needs if J.D. Martinez ends up signing in Boston, as has frequently been suggested. That would allow Andrew Benintendi to shift to center field and would likely leave Bradley as a fourth outfielder.
With Boston looking for relief help with Addison Reed hitting the free-agent market and middle infield depth with Dustin Pedroia on the shelf for the first two months of the 2018 season, they’ve still got holes that could be filled with a Bradley trade even if they end up addressing their power deficit via free agency.
Bradley, 27, is widely regarded as one of the top defensive center fielders in baseball, and he recorded 10 defensive runs saved (tied for sixth in the majors) in 2017. He regressed at the plate in 2017 after back-to-back spectacular offensive seasons in 2015-16, but he still posted a respectable .245/.323/.402 slash line with 17 home runs in 541 plate appearances. He did nothing in particular to cause Boston to sour on him this past season, but with the Red Sox finishing last in the American League in home runs (168), they’re going to need to add power somehow, and Bradley could be the odd man out as they attempt to do so.
Nightengale specifically mentioned the Cubs as a possible fit for Bradley in his tweet—likely because slugger Kyle Schwarber has frequently been talked about as a trade candidate in recent weeks—though Bradley would seem to be somewhat redundant with Albert Almora Jr. in terms of skill set. The Giants would be an obvious landing spot for Bradley as they desperately search for a player capable of competently patrolling center field at AT&T Park. San Francisco would seem to be a logical trading partner since the Red Sox need a first baseman and the San Francisco Chronicle’s Bruce Jenkins reported in September that the Giants were perhaps looking to move on from Brandon Belt. Other teams that may have interest in trading for Bradley include the Rangers, Astros, and Mets.