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Revisiting the Jackie Bradley Jr. Trade

Michael Sidhly

2021 was the season Chaim Bloom dreamed of when he signed on to be Boston’s GM. Bloom, as we now know, seems to almost relish the opportunity to prove that he can outsmart opposing General Managers and put together a team of rag-tag, cast off group of MLB veterans in order to make a respectable playoff run and inevitably get bounced in the ALCS (Without overpaying, of course). Chaim, doing what he does best, found players that were looked over by the rest of the league and put them in positions where they could prove themselves. Players like Kyle Schwarber, who was brought to the Red Sox during the trade deadline for virtually nothing, hit for a .522 Slugging Percentage in 40 games and raked in seven home runs. Jose Iglesias was released by the Los Angeles Angels, and was promptly picked up by the Red Sox to add infield depth. He posted a .356 batting average in twenty-six games, and slugged .502. Iglesias and Schwarber provided a much needed jolt for Boston, which allowed them to propel themselves into the playoffs and make a run, but no other Chaim Bloom signing made more of a difference than Hunter Renfroe. Hunter was coming off of a terrible year in Tampa Bay, so he was able to be traded at the bargain price of 7.65 Million Dollars on a one-year deal. Hunter seized his opportunity to play and reinvented himself as a player while posting a career year in Boston, blasting 31 home runs and driving in 96 runs. Even more impressive, he led the entire MLB in assists as an outfielder with sixteen. For the whole year, all Renfroe did was hit home runs and throw guys out. His humble demeanor and dirt dog mentality resonated with the Fenway Faithful and he instantly became a fan favorite. When the Red Sox were eliminated in the playoffs, it was expected that Renfroe would be re-signed and brought back as the pivotal player he was, but that was not the case. In December of 2021, Bloom did the unthinkable, and traded Renfroe for Jackie Bradley Jr. which reunited JBJ with Red Sox Nation once again.

Jackie was one of the worst hitters in all of the MLB the previous year, hitting .163 in 134 games for the Milwaukee Brewers. Everyone could clearly deduce how lopsided the trade was at the time, and the only argument Boston could make was that they were lacking outfield glove work and needed a boost from a former friend. While Renfoe shined in the assist department, he still made twelve errors, leading the entire MLB in outfield mishaps. With that, the trade was completed, it was a done deal. Where did we go from here? Well, all you need to know is that one of these players is no longer on the team that acquired them, and his initials aren’t “H.R.” After posting a .210 batting average in 91 games and an abysmal .257 base percentage, Jackie Bradley Jr. was promptly released by the Red Sox on August 4th. Hunter Renfroe, on the other hand, has been more than productive for the Brewers, and has smashed twenty-six home runs while providing solid glovework in the outfield. Talk about a poor return on investment for Chaim Bloom. Is there some hidden value metric that Bloom has conjured up, like the wizard of mediocrity he is? Nobody knows for sure, but if fans keep being proven right over and over again with these terrible trade returns, we could be nearing the end of Bloom’s run with the Red Sox.