MLB rumors: Red Sox trade power in exchange for Jackie Bradley Jr

Boston Red Sox (Photo by John Fisher/Getty Images)
Boston Red Sox (Photo by John Fisher/Getty Images) /

In a surprising move prior to the Major League Baseball lockout, the Boston Red Sox brought back a former fan favorite in shipping outfielder Hunter Renfroe to the Milwaukee Brewers in exchange for Jackie Bradley Jr and two minor leaguers.

That’s right, the Golder Glover center fielder is back in Boston after leaving the team in free agency following the 2020 MLB season to sign a two-year deal with the Brewers.

Again, a surprise move that considering the Red Sox appeared to have a viable center fielder in KiKé Hernandez playing the outfield alongside Renfroe and Alex Verdugo.

The Sox also have promising prospect Jarren Duran who is primed to take over the position at some point in the season. Perhaps bringing back Bradley Jr will give the young prospect a mentor to learn behind. So, the move does have benefits, obviously, but it also comes with a hit or lack thereof (hits).

Boston Red Sox take a hit offensively to improve defensively and add depth

Unless the Red Sox are aligning to re-sign power hitter Kyle Schwarber to take over Renfroe’s spot in the outfield, this move is a headscratcher as far as the lineup goes. Yes, Bradley Jr brings outstanding defense to the outfield, but he is a liability at the plate. Although he has had his power streaks during his first tenure in Boston, JBJ is a lifetime .230 hitter who struggled big time at the plate with the Brewers.

In 134 games played, Bradley Jr batted .163 with just six homers and 29 RBI. Perhaps a return to Boston will give him a spark at the plate, but who knows.

In contrast, Renfroe is coming off one of his best seasons offensively. With his 31 homers and 96 RBI, Renfroe was a surprise in the Red Sox lineup as well as in the field as he was named a Gold Glove finalist among AL right fielders.

His addition to the Brewers gives them a pretty good outfield that includes Christian Yelich, Lorenzo Cain and Tyrone Taylor.

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Again, if the idea is the bring back Schwarber this is a good move for Red Sox president of baseball operations Chaim Bloom as he also adds two minor leaguers in infielders David Hamilton and Alex Binelas. Both are prospects in the low minors who had solid seasons last year.

This move also allows the Boston Red Sox to move Hernandez to second base, which again improves the team’s overall defense and the team’s outfield depth.