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MLB rumors: Red Sox didn't find Jackie Bradley Jr. trade to their liking

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MLB rumors: Red Sox didn't find Jackie Bradley Jr. trade to their liking

The Boston Red Sox need to figure out which of their upcoming free agents in 2019 and 2020 to pay long-term, and that's going to create a lot of tough decisions.

The Sox could get ahead of those decisions by trading one or more of their veterans who are up for free agency in the near future. One of those players with free agency on the horizon is outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr., and The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal reported Saturday that Boston looked at trading the 2018 American League Championship Series MVP but didn't find a package that made sense.

Left-hander Chris Sale, righty Rick Porcello, shortstop Xander Bogaerts and designated hitter J.D. Martinez are eligible for free agency after the 2019 season (Martinez if he opts out). Outfielders Mookie Betts and Jackie Bradley are scheduled to hit the open market after ‘20.

The Red Sox will not retain all of those players, in part due to ongoing payroll concerns. Talk surfaced at the winter meetings that the team was willing to trade Porcello, Bogaerts or Bradley to clear money, perhaps for bullpen help. A source said the Sox pushed Bradley the hardest, but did not find a deal they liked.

Bradley is an elite defensive player but can be frustratingly inconsistent at the plate. His batting average, home runs and RBI totals have declined in each of the last two years from his career-best 2016 season.

He did come up clutch a few times in the 2018 postseason to help the Red Sox win the World Series. He tallied nine RBI in the ALCS, which Boston won in five games over the Houston Astros.

If the Red Sox don't plan on re-signing Bradley when it's time for his next contract, they might as well move him and try to replenish a farm system that's been depleted as a result of trades for Craig Kimbrel, Chris Sale and others. 

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Red Sox claim RHP Phillips Valdez off waivers, place Dustin Pedroia on 60-day IL

Red Sox claim RHP Phillips Valdez off waivers, place Dustin Pedroia on 60-day IL

The Boston Red Sox have made yet another move to bolster their pitching depth.

On Sunday, they claimed right-hander Phillips Valdez off waivers from the Seattle Mariners. To make room for Valdez, they placed veteran second baseman Dustin Pedroia on the 60-day injured list.


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Valdez, 27, only has 11 games worth of major league experience under his belt. In 2019, he posted a 3.94 ERA and 1.62 WHIP in 16 innings pitched with the Texas Rangers. Valdez was claimed off waivers by the Mariners in November, then designated for assignment on Saturday.

Pedroia suffered a "significant setback" during his knee rehab, so his placement on the 60-day IL doesn't come as a surprise. The 36-year-old did not report to spring training with the Red Sox.

Along with Valdez, Boston has added Chris Mazza, Martin Perez, Trevor Hildenberger, to its pitching staff this offseason.

An Opening Day start for Red Sox' Chris Sale: 'I think I'm going to be ready'

An Opening Day start for Red Sox' Chris Sale: 'I think I'm going to be ready'

Already coming off a season cut short by an elbow injury that shut him down last August, Chris Sale's spring training got off to a slow start as he recovered from a bout with pneumonia just as pitchers and catchers reported to Red Sox camp in Fort Myers. 

He says he's progressing after the illness led to him dropping a few pounds from his already thin frame (6-foot-6, 180). He'll throw a side session Sunday and told reporters on Saturday that he thinks he'll be ready for Opening Day March 26.

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"I think I’m going to be ready for [the opener]. But like I said, those aren’t my calls to make. I go out there, do my job, tell them how I feel on a daily basis," Sale said. "Obviously as the workload picks up, we have to see how things work out. I’ve just got to be open and honest with them and then we map out a plan and see how it works out."

In a Friday interview on WEEI's "Ordway, Merloni and Fauria" show, Sale said having his season end early last summer and going through a rehab process to avoid Tommy John surgery has him raring to go into 2020 despite questions about his stamina.

"I feel like I'm better now than I was then because of going through that [injury and rehab]."

Sale hasn't reached 200 innings pitched since 2017. He went 6-11 in 25 starts (147.1 IP) in what he called "a nightmare season" in 2019 after his and all the starters' workloads were limited in spring training and he struggled with his velocity at times before the injury was diagnosed.

"I feel really good," he told WEEI. "I can sit here and tell you what I want to do, what I think I'm going to do, but I've just got to go do it. I live here in town and put in a lot of work. I was here four to five times a week. It's exciting. For me, this really started last September October when that rehab process began.

"I gotta get back to the basics. Not really worry about fading, the injuries. This is sports. Injuries can happen overnight...I'm not worried about what my track record is or what people are thinking of me."