The Red Sox stated through most of the offseason that they were perfectly comfortable with Jackie Bradley Jr. as their starting center fielder. That doesn't mean however, that it's what they wanted.
The Baseball Show crew explores whether or not Bradley Jr. is ready to be the man for the Red Sox.
"I don’t think we know that yet," says Red Sox Insider Sean McAdam. "And clearly the Red Sox don’t know the answer to that either, otherwise Grady Sizemore wouldn’t have been signed."
For all the talk about the team being ready for Bradley Jr. to assume the job in center field, the Sizemore signing did seem to be a bit out of the blue.
"I did think it was kind of an abrupt shift in their stance with Bradley," says McAdam.
The timing was somewhat strange as well. For months there was no backup behind Bradley Jr. The Red Sox passed on other outfielders with better histories of both production and health. Why all of a sudden did they feel the need to bring in a safety net?
McAdam says it's because the team isn't sure Bradley Jr. is ready yet: "As much as they like Jackie Bradley Jr. in the long term, they don’t know about 2014 yet."
It's not a question of whether Bradley Jr. is ready to be a major league outfielder.
"I think Jackie Bradley Jr. is as good as Jacoby Ellsbury in the outfield right now," says McAdam. "He can cover a lot of ground, he can certainly throw better."
What he can't replace is Ellsbury's offensive contributions. But can he at least hold down a spot in the bottom of the lineup?