Red Sox

Jackie Bradley Jr., Andy Barkett describe fixing JBJ's swing amid recent hot streak

Jackie Bradley Jr., Andy Barkett describe fixing JBJ's swing amid recent hot streak

Jackie Bradley Jr. got off to a woefully slow start for the Boston Red Sox in 2019. In his first 36 appearances of the season, he was hitting just .153 and hadn't hit a homer. It was a big power drop-off from his MVP performance during the ALCS when he crushed two homers and drove in nine runs, and it led to Alex Cora giving him some rest days to try and fix his swing.

Now, it appears that things are working one again for Bradley. In his last 10 games, Bradley is batting .324 and has clubbed four homers and five doubles. And there is an explanation for his uptick in performance.

Bradley is crediting an adjustment he made with his swing during the team's trip to Houston for his turnaround. He worked with assistant hitting coach Andy Barkett in the batting cages before one of the games against the Astros and everything seemingly came together after that.

“I was mixing fastballs and breaking balls from a very short distance, not telling him what was coming. He was able to have his way with it, to the point where it was incredible how good he was doing it. It was like this light bulb going on,” said Barkett, per Alex Speier of The Boston Globe. “Most people are going to have a hard time hitting either one from that close. He was hitting both with ease. I was like, ‘I can’t believe what I’m seeing right now.’

“Since then, it’s just kept going. I asked him today about it. He referenced that day, and how impactful it was on him, because of what he learned about himself from the drill that we did.”

It's not a surprise to see Bradley getting hot again, as he has been prone to red-hot and ice-cold streaks throughout his MLB career. Perhaps this time, he has figured out his swing for the long-term, but he's still not getting complacent now that things are going well.

“It’s great [to see improvement]. You know that [the work is] something that’s going to be beneficial, something that’s easily repeatable,” said Bradley, per Speier. “[But] I’m not where I want to be. I’m not going to be overly excited about it. I’ve dug myself in a hole, and I’m going to work my way out of it.”

Considering that Bradley's batting average has gone up 32 points in just a matter of 10 games, he should manage to get out of that hole soon enough if he continues to stay hot.

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MLB Rumors: Rick Porcello, Mets agree to one-year contract worth $10M

MLB Rumors: Rick Porcello, Mets agree to one-year contract worth $10M

The Rick Porcello reunion is off the table.

The free-agent right-hander has agreed to a one-year contract with the New York Mets pending a physical, The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal and Eno Sarris reported Thursday.

The one-year deal is worth $10 million, per MLB Network's Jon Heyman.

The Red Sox were rumored to be interested in re-signing Porcello after his contract expired in 2019, but New York also was eyeing the 30-year-old veteran and appears to have gotten its man.

Porcello was a workhorse during his five seasons in Boston, starting 32 or more games in four of those campaigns. His brilliant 2016 season -- 22-4 with a 3.15 ERA -- earned him American League Cy Young Award honors.

The New Jersey native struggled to a 5.52 ERA last season, though, and with the Red Sox looking to cut payroll, it seemed unlikely they would open their checkbooks for a starter north of 30.

Porcello's departure leaves a hole in Boston's rotation behind Chris Sale, David Price, Eduardo Rodriguez and Nathan Eovaldi.

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Chaim Bloom reacts to Gerrit Cole signing with Yankees

Chaim Bloom reacts to Gerrit Cole signing with Yankees

Chaim Bloom is well-aware of just how big of a move the Yankees made when they signed Gerrit Cole to a nine-year, $324 million contract on Tuesday. But the Red Sox chief baseball officer is staying patient.

Speaking to reporters Wednesday at the Winter Meetings in San Diego, Bloom addressed the Cole signing and noted the importance of the front office not being too reactionary in their approach to the offseason.

"Look, we want to beat the Yankees as badly as anybody, trust me,” Bloom said. “I think it’s just a question of us being able to step back and say, ‘What is the best approach for us to do that?’ The more we feel like we’re being reactive to other teams’ moves, I think the more we’re playing their game. We might be pushing ourselves further from that objective rather than helping ourselves.”

Bloom was the Tampa Bay Rays' senior vice president of baseball operations prior to joining the Red Sox, so he's no stranger to seeing both Boston and New York making noise in the offseason. His experience with a much lower payroll in Tampa helped him learn to not be distracted by the big splashes made by division rivals.

“Having had the good fortune of being in this division for a long time, I’m kind of used to seeing the Yankees, and the Red Sox for that matter, do things over the years,” Bloom said. “It didn’t change things that much in terms of how I reacted to that. I think it’s one of the great things about the challenges of being in, what has been over the course of time probably the toughest division maybe in all of pro sports. You expect the standards to be very high and you expect your rivals to be constantly looking to improve, constantly find ways.

"The approach from team to team might vary, but you expect them to constantly be doing things to make themselves better. It’s important to not get distracted by that. It’s important to focus on your own club and how you can accomplish your goals.”

The Red Sox have made it clear they're aiming to shed payroll ahead of the 2020 season, so don't expect any Cole-like deals for Boston any time soon. Instead, prepare for stars like David Price and/or Mookie Betts to be shipped out of town before Opening Day.

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