Today the Red Sox called up 23 year old lefty Drake Britton from AAA Pawtucket and optioned Jackie Bradley Jr. This is first time in the majors for Britton and it’s a bit surprising, as he has only had one outing in AAA where he allowed 5 runs in 5.1 innings. Also, he was arrested and charged in March with DUI after crashing his truck going 111 MPH in a 45 MPH zone. It appears he had gotten past that as he went off to have his best year at any level, posting a 3.51 ERA in 97.1 innings with a 1.34 WHIP a 7.4 K/9 in Portland. All of that lead to him to get his first start in AAA and now his first shot in the bigs.
So the question is why now? With All-Star break approaching why do the Sox need to add an extra arm in the pen for today’s game. Some believe it’s insurance for Brandon Workman in case he implodes like Allen Webster has in many of his starts. Rather than blow through the bullpen the Sox’s have an option, like Steven Wright was in the win against the Mariners the other day, where he can go multiple innings to help save the pen. That seems to be the most likely scenario, but often times things are not as they seem and he could be here for other reasons. One is that Farrell likes the option of 3 lefties in the pen. At one point Farrell had the option of one of Craig Breslow, Andrew Miller, and Franklin Morales, but Miller’s season is done and Morales is also out with injury. The acquisition of Matt Thornton adds another lefty and so does Britton. This is unlikely, but it does give Farrell a lot of options, which Managers love to have. A third option is that the Sox got bad news on Clay Buchholz and they want another a starter and prefer to have Workman in the bullpen. All are feasible options, but the first option is the most likely and he’ll likely be back in Pawtucket by the time the Sox return from the break.
- Ben Cherington Would Like to Get Bullpen Help From Within, But Red Sox’ Internal Options Limited (nesn.com)
- Steven Wright Opens Eyes, Makes Case for Bigger Role With Huge Relief Performance (nesn.com)
- Red Sox lefty Andrew Miller will need season-ending surgery (wyff4.com)
Tomorrow David Ortiz is expected to be activated and Jackie Bradley Jr. is expected to be optioned to AAA to make room for Papi. That is exactly how the Sox had planned for this to go. Following those two moves Jonny Gomes was supposed to move from the DH role to left field, but there could be a change of plans.
Nobody expected Daniel Nava to get off the start that he has. In 10 games he’s batted .324/.429/.618 and I know it’s a small sample size, but it’s all we’ve got so far and why not ride the hot bat? Nava’s also has 3 home runs this year, 2 more than all other Red Sox outfielders combined. He’s also tied for second on the team with 9 RBIs and tide for fifth on the team with 6 runs scored. So, not only is he getting on base and scoring runs, he’s also driving them in.
Compare that to Jonny Gomes whose hit just about as well as Jackie Bradley Jr., so not very good. He has taken his fair share of walks, leading the team with nine, and has a higher OBP than Nava with .433. Other than that though Gomes’ bat has been dead. As long as Nava continues to perform at the rate he’s at and Gomes continues to under perform there’s no reason to start Gomes over Nava.
Also Nava’s defense in left has been impressive. He may not be a gold glover, but he plays very well in left field. The thing that impresses me the most about Nava’s defense is how quickly he gets the ball back into the infield. He’s turned a few doubles into singles by just playing the ball off the wall quickly and firing the ball back in. He’s like Dustin Pedroia in the outfield, he never stops hustling always giving a 100%.We’ve only seen Gomes in left for two innings this year, but from I’ve seen from him, which isn’t too much, he’s not quite as quick as Nava. It may be a minimal difference, but if you can hold a couple more guys at first rather than letting them get a double, it could end up saving some critical runs throughout the year.
One last thing in regards to Monday’s attack at the Marathon. The One Fund has been started by Governor Patrick and Mayor Menino to help those affected by the tragic events. If you’d like to donate you can here. Also 47 Brand has new “Boston Strong” hats with all proceeds going to The One Fund.
Jackie Bradley Jr. hasn’t exactly been a star so far this year, yet the Red Sox have been just fine without production from him. For all the people who said that he could be the difference between making the playoffs or missing them by a game or two. I think it’s safe to say that that point of view has been proven to be incorrect. Now that leads to the question, was all that trouble even worth it? It’s already started to take it’s toll and it hasn’t exactly benefited anyone. Bradley has gotten a good look at major league pitching and now knows he can’t hit it, but other than that the Red Sox or any of their players have had any benefit from this.
I was shocked when I saw the headline on MLBTR and found out Mauro Gomez had been claimed by the Toronto Blue Jays. A capable Major League bat gone out of the Sox system because of Bradley. This could haunt the Sox especially if injuries start to pile up for the Sox like they have in the past. It also adds depth to the enemy which is never good. It may seem like I’m making a big deal over spilt milk, and that may be the case, but it could turn into something more. With the recent luck of the Sox I’d bet that it will become something bigger. Hopefully I’m wrong, but I’m still a little nervous about this whole situation.
Another issue is the service clock. It has begun for JBJ and it seemingly has gone to waste. I realize he’ll likely be sent down and we’ll still have control in 2019 but these few games could be the difference between him being a Super Two or having just the regular 3 years of arbitration. That could help save a few million dollars in the future which is always nice. Would those few millions be worth the few games he’s played thus far and some September games? I’d say no at this point. Which leads back to the question is it worth it?
Now it’s not all bad. The experience Bradley has gained is invaluable and when he does eventually gets sent back down, he’ll know exactly what to work on to get better and become a great major leauger. Despite all of that we are still left with that underlying question that’ll always remain; was it worth it?
- Red Sox Chill Yanks (wbur.org)
- Red Sox-Marlins Live: Jackie Bradley Jr. to Lead Off As Jon Lester Gets Final Spring Tune-Up (nesn.com)
- Lackey might avoid trip to disabled list (mlb.mlb.com)
- Red Sox honor Jimmy Fund at home opener (mlb.mlb.com)
It appear Jackie Bradley Jr. will make the Opening Day roster this year. After wowing everyone in what was supposed to be a short stint to get his feet wet he has now gone from AA phenom to major leaguer. It’s still not official but the final two roster spots were down to Mike Carp, Ryan Sweeney, and Bradley and Sweeney has just been released. There’s only one logical explanation which is that Bradley and Carp have made the team.
I’m not a huge fan of this decision, but I understand why it was done. I agreed with the people who wanted to keep him down for the first 9 games to delay his service time from starting. This would give the Sox another year of team control which could be very important down the line, because it would either save the Sox money or prevent his departure for another year. Either way it benefits the Sox. I’ve heard the argument (mostly on the Dennis and Callahan Morning Show) that every game matters and not starting him day would be costly down the line. Although I agree every game is of equal importance, is the potential of winning one or two more games in April worth losing a whole year of a potential superstar? I’d say no, but clearly the Sox are in a win now state of mind as always and are disregarding the future for 9 games in April.
Although thus far I’ve stated my disagreement with the move I do still believe that he is ready to be an everyday major league player. He appears to be a 5 tool player and adds another dimension to the Red Sox offense. He could end being what Carl Crawford never could be the Sox. Although he’s not as fast as Crawford, he does have a lot of speed and may have more power. His defense could also be big for the Red Sox too. If he does indeed start in left field, the Sox would have an outfield made up of 3 center fielders, and 3 very good defensive center fielders at that. With all that speed out they can cover much more ground than any other group of outfielders and that could actually help save some runs. It may not actually play a huge role, but it does have potential to be a big part of the Sox’s success.
All in all I love Jackie Bradley Jr., but the move baffles me a little bit. I do think he will be a vital part of this team now and in the future. He could end up being the X factor that lifts this Red Sox’s team into contention.
- Red Sox decline to purchase Sweeney’s contract (thegazette.com)
- Red Sox roster moves favor Jackie Bradley Jr.’s promotion to the bigs (thefarmclub.net)
- Mike Carp, Daniel Nava Make Red Sox Roster, But Jackie Bradley Jr. Hasn’t Been Told Status Yet (nesn.com)
- Red Sox place Drew on seven-day DL (mlb.mlb.com)