FORT MYERS, Florida (CBS) — The Red Sox are trying to maintain a “business as usual” approach as they report for duty in Fort Myers. But nothing is usual for Boston’s baseball team this spring.
For one, spring training is underway and they don’t have a manager. That is on hold as the team waits for MLB to release the findings from their investigation into the 2018 Red Sox and whether the World Series champs used video equipment to steal signs from their opponents.
Those findings were expected to be released before spring training opened up, but here we are, still waiting as players begin to show up in Fort Myers. Pitchers and catchers reported for their physicals on Tuesday without a skipper in place.
That has to be weighing on the players’ minds as players arrive for the new season, right? Not so, says outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr.
“I hadn’t even thought about it. I still have to get my work in regardless of who is managing,” Bradley Jr. told reporters outside of JetBlue Park on Tuesday. “Just focus on what I can control and go from there.”
That’s the approach Bradley Jr. took with most of the questions that were sent his way on Tuesday. He said an extremely strange offseason for the Red Sox was not strange for him at all. In fact, he said he had a great offseason with all of the stuff that was within his control, which likely included getting a one-year, $11 million deal from Boston. He’s ready to do what he needs to do for the team to be successful in 2020, and focusing on the past will not help on that front.
When asked about losing one of his best friends and an MVP candidate off the roster with the team’s blockbuster trade of Mookie Betts, Bradley Jr. had again already moved on.
“Well, it’s time to move forward. Those things are part of business and you kind of go with the flow,” he said. “Great teammates, great players. They formed a lot of great bonds with us and they will be missed in those regards. Good thing about it is I can still go see them whenever I want. I’ll hang out and shoot the breeze with them. They’re awesome.”
Bradley Jr. said he’d also miss Alex Cora in the manager’s seat, though he believes the former skipper will still influence his now-former players even if he is out of the game.
“He has a lot to offer, a lot to offer to this game,” he said. “It’s very tough, but we’ll move forward and focus on what we have here, continue to compete.”
As for Cora’s likely replacement, bench coach Ron Roenicke, Bradley Jr. is eager to play for him — if the Red Sox are ever allowed to announce the move.
“[He’s] amazing. Very intellectual guy, great mind with a love for the game.” said Bradley Jr. “He’s great.”
To recap, spring training has begun and the Red Sox still don’t have a manager. They are still under investigation by MLB. They just traded away an MVP candidate and a front-line starter and didn’t get much in return that will help the 2020 squad. It’s easy to see why so many are writing off the Boston Red Sox just two years removed from a World Series title.
To that, Bradley Jr. says go ahead. He and his teamamtes remain confident that the Red Sox can once again shock the world.
“We don’t care what anybody says. You have to go out and play the game. You have to perform and take care of your business,” he said. “You can write us off, give us some predictions. I want to see who is going to be the closest.”