When it comes to Jackie Bradley Jr., Dombrowski seems to get it

(AP Photo)
Bill Foley (@Foles74)
Contributing Writer

Dave Dombrowski, you had me at hello. Tear.

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 decade.

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 Cherington couldn’t.

That explains my tears of joy at the end of another miserable season.