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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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