McAdam: Bradley must hit to justify everyday role

McAdam: Bradley must hit to justify everyday role
August 9, 2014, 9:15 pm
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After spending the entirety of the season searching for outfield contributions, the Red Sox now find themselves with a surplus of able outfielders (plus a sidelined Shane Victorino, who will be fighting for a spot next spring).

"It’s going to be interesting to see what the Red Sox do with their outfield next season," says Red Sox Insider Sean McAdam. 

"You have to figure that Allen Craig, who was obtained about a week ago, is going to be the left fielder, if only because he can’t play center or right, so he’s kind of locked in there."

That leaves Yoenis Cespedes and Shane Victorino fighting for center and right field duties.

Victorino seems likely to take the center field job based on his Gold Glove history at the position.

Just as telling is Cespedes' desperation to avoid the position. 

While with the Athletics, Cespedes tried to convince Josh Reddick to player center field so Cespedes could stay in left. 

And then there's Jackie Bradley Jr. 

“Can Bradley hit enough to justify being in the starting lineup and playing every day," asks McAdam, "because as he demonstrated Friday [against the Angels], there certainly is no question about his defensive ability.

"He has played that position as well as anyone in the game and if you’re disregarding offensive numbers, and you should be, then Bradley should definitely be under consideration for a Gold Glove in center in the American League this year."

* Clay Buchholz continues his downward spiral

With an ERA north of 10 in his last three starts, it seems there's (hopefully) nowhere to go but up.

"[His next outing has] got to be a lot better than the last two," says McAdam. "There’s no understating how bad he’s been with an ERA that is the highest of any starter in the American League with 100 or more innings pitched this year. 

"It has really been a disastrous season for him and [his last start against the Yankees] comes at a time where he was sort of assuming the mantle of rotation leader following the trades of Jon Lester and John Lackey."