The Boston Red Sox are busy on their quest to secure a third World Series title in the last decade, but it’s never too early to look toward the future. In the case of the BoSox, it’s especially never too early to talk about the future of pending free agent outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury.
More specifically, it’s never too early to talk about how the potential departure of Ellsbury this winter could impact the Sox and their current roster. While there’s no doubt that the Red Sox have a very favorable chance of retaining him, a thin free agent market could force him out of even their price range with some of the other clubs desperate for a centerfielder of his caliber.
In the event that the Red Sox do lose Ellsbury to the open market, it’s certainly worth wondering how they’ll replace him. Until that scenario actually unfolds, we won’t know. What we do know is that the future of Jackie Bradley is directly linked to whatever happens in regard to Ellsbury.
There were some whispers that the Red Sox could seek to trade Bradley at the trade deadline early this season, and while his name did float around, Boston ultimately decided that he’s too large of an insurance policy, given his skill set, to cut loose in the event that Ellsbury signs elsewhere.
Bradley was able to make the team out of spring training after a monster exhibition season, but he was unable to stick. His numbers at the Major League level weren’t entirely impressive at all, where he hit just .189 and got on base at a .280 clip in 107 big league plate appearances.
In the event that Ellsbury does return, which is still up in the air at this point, it could spell the end of Bradley in Boston, simply because there wouldn’t be room for him. If that does happen, he’ll have suitors that would have a spot to give him for a more permanent opportunity. But until we know what is happening with Ellsbury, we won’t know what will become of Jackie Bradley. There’s absolutely no doubt, though, that his future in Boston is directly linked to what transpires with Ellsbury.