When Boston’s new president of baseball operations
appeared on “The Rundown” on the MLB Network Saturday, he mentioned that he
tried to trade for Jackie Bradley Jr. when he was still calling the shots for the Tigers.
This is very good news for those of us who could see
past Bradley’s minuscule career batting average coming into the season. Those
of us who didn’t give up on the 25 year old after less than a full season’s
worth of games should be smiling ear to ear.
This is our time to say “I told you so.”
Now an organization that had about given up on Bradley
has a guy calling the shots who apparently appreciates the slick-fielding outfielder
as much as we do.
Of course, it is easy to appreciate Bradley now. The outfielder
is hitting .344 with four home runs, seven doubles, three triples, 20 RBIs and
18 runs scored in August. That raised his season batting average to .257.
Considering the .000 average he sported after his
first three-week stint with the big club, when Bradley went 0 for 11, .257
looks like .406.
Those of us who publically supported JBJ back then,
even though seven of those 11 at bats came against Felix Rodriguez and Sonny Gray,
were treated like a breastfeeding mother in the presence of Donald Trump.
Bradley was sent back to the minors. He was called back
to Boston and appeared in six games in June and five games in July. Finally, he
has appeared in 19 games in August and reminded us of the can’t-miss prospect
we saw in spring training of 2013.
Bradley didn’t stick in Boston in 2013, and he bombed
at the plate big time in 2014 when he was saddled with the pressure of making
us forget about Jacoby Ellsbury.
Bradley couldn’t top the Mendoza Line in 127 games last
season, and he finished the year in Pawtucket.
Even though Bradley struggled at the plate, he
sparkled in the field. To call his defense in center field Gold Glove-caliber
doesn’t do it justice. Defensively, he is as good as any outfield who has
played the game in a long, long time.
His Willie Mays catch in Detroit and his throw to home
Sunday will go down as two of the top defensive plays of the season.
Finally, Bradley is showing he really can hit, and he could
very well be a major star for the Red Sox for years to come. And to think and
we came this close to having to see him as the one that got away for the next
Lots of players, even superstars, fail in the first
sting in the big leagues. Very few players are great from their first at major
league at bat.
Mickey Mantle wasn’t very good when he was wearing No.
6 in the Bronx. He went back to the minors and consider quitting baseball
before he headed back to New York with No. 7 on his back.
The Yankees didn’t give up on “The Mick,” and we know
how that turned out.
After starting strong late in the 2013 season, Xander
Bogaerts had a terrible season in 2014. Ben Cherington panicked and
signed Stephen Drew. Bogaerts’ 2015 season shows how silly it was to throw
all that money at Drew midway through the season. Sometimes all you need is a little patience, something that is admittedly in short supply in Red Sox Nation.
Cherington also appeared to give up on Bradley when he
signed Rusney Castillo and Hanley Ramirez. During this season he even traded for
two outfielders who were designated for assignment by other clubs before giving
Bradley another look.
Luckily, Cherington is no longer calling the shots.
That’s Dombrowski’s job now, and he apparently sees good things in Bradley that
That explains my tears of joy at the end of another