BOSTON (CBS) — For the past several years, the Red Sox have boasted the best defensive outfield in baseball, evidenced by all three of their starters being finalists for Gold Glove Awards this season. That, though, is likely to change, at least in one spot but possibly two or all three.
The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal reported this week that the Red Sox, in their effort to get under the $208 million luxury tax threshold, are very likely to trade Jackie Bradley Jr. as he enters his final season under team control.
“A trade of center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr., projected to earn $11 million in his final year before free agency, seems all but certain.,” Rosenthal reported.
Bradley, who will turn 30 in April, is a career .236 hitter with a .727 OPS. He won his first Gold Glove in 2018, and he was an All-Star in 2016 and the ALCS MVP in 2018.
Of course, Bradley is not the biggest name free-agent-to-be in the Boston outfield. That title belongs to Mookie Betts, who’s due to make close to $30 million in arbitration in 2020 before becoming a free agent for 2021. Rosenthal noted that even if the Red Sox want to move Betts, it may be difficult to find a trading partner willing to give up worthwhile prospects.
“Rival executives express doubt that any suitor will want to take on that salary and part with quality prospects to keep Betts for only one season before he reaches free agency,” Rosenthal wrote.
In terms of shedding salary, Rosenthal theorized that the Red Sox could find ways to move David Price and/or Nathan Eovaldi by agreeing to pay some of their remaining salaries and including a player like Andrew Benintendi in the deal.
However the offseason shakes out for new chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom, it’s clear that Red Sox fans should expect to see a very different team come April.