Red Sox

Report: Red Sox trading Jackie Bradley Jr. 'all but certain'

Report: Red Sox trading Jackie Bradley Jr. 'all but certain'

Chaim Bloom will be put to the test right away this offseason as the Boston Red Sox' new Chief Baseball Officer.

The Mookie Betts contract situation is enough to give any front office executive a headache, but one under-the-radar storyline in Boston this offseason will be what Bloom decides to do with center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr.

Bradley is set to hit free agency after next season and will make $11 million in the final year of his contract. As the Red Sox look to shed payroll, they could look to deal their homegrown Gold Glover and find a more cost-effective replacement. In fact, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic believes it's "all but certain" Boston will look to trade Bradley.

Rosenthal writes:

"One way or another, the Sox’s new chief baseball officer, Chaim Bloom, will need to be creative. A trade of center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr., projected to earn $11 million in his final year before free agency, seems all but certain. The Sox can replace him by dealing for the much more affordable Jake Marisnick — manager Alex Cora previously was Marisnick’s bench coach with the Astros — and pursuing a relatively inexpensive free-agent first baseman such as switch-hitter Justin Smoak to replace free agents Mitch Moreland and Steve Pearce."

Marisnick would be a reasonable replacement for Bradley given his stellar defensive ability, but if he indeed comes to Boston, don't expect an offensive upgrade. The 28-year-old hit just .233 with 10 home runs and a .700 OPS last season.

Bradley enjoyed another sensational season in the field in 2019, though he again struggled at the plate hitting .225 with 21 homers and a .738 OPS.

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White Sox pitching coach 'concerned' about ex-Red Sox prospect Michael Kopech

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White Sox pitching coach 'concerned' about ex-Red Sox prospect Michael Kopech

As some MLB players choose to not participate in the 2020 season, it's important to remember some things are bigger than baseball.

Chicago White Sox pitcher and former Boston Red Sox prospect Michael Kopech missed the start of camp due to a "personal matter," and he recently made the decision to opt out of the upcoming campaign. It's unclear exactly why Kopech opted out, but the 24-year-old has been open about his battles with anxiety and depression. For that reason, White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper expressed his concern about Kopech's well-being.

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"I don't know what is going on with Michael, but I know he deals with some anxiety and depression, and my thought is, I sure hope he's OK," Cooper told the Chicago Sun-Times. "And I hope he gets to where he needs to be, where he's feeling good and wants to come back, because we will welcome him back with open arms."

"Last time I saw him in spring training, he was in a great place," Cooper added. "But let me put it this way: I sure hope the kid is OK. I'm concerned that he's not OK."

Kopech has not publicly discussed his decision to sit out of the upcoming season. Cooper notes the right-hander is "not in the mood to talk right now" to the media.

After missing the entire 2019 season due to Tommy John surgery, Kopech was slated to compete for a spot in the White Sox rotation. Of course, his mental health comes first, and we hope he returns to Chicago's pitching staff in 2021 under better circumstances.

"It's Michael's decision, and we have no idea what's going on in his world, and as a team, we support him 100 percent," White Sox pitcher Carlos Rodon told the Sun-Times. "It's a tough loss. He's a guy who can boost our rotation or wherever he would line up in the row of arms. But looking forward to having him back next year."

Kopech was involved in the five-player trade that brought Chris Sale to the Red Sox in 2016.

Ron Roenicke sheds light on plans for Red Sox starting rotation

Ron Roenicke sheds light on plans for Red Sox starting rotation

The Boston Red Sox starting rotation is going to look a lot different during the shortened 2020 season.

With Chris Sale out due to Tommy John surgery and David Price now on the Los Angeles Dodgers, left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez will be counted on to anchor the pitching staff. Then, it'll be Nathan Eovaldi and newcomer Martin Perez in the No. 2 and 3 spots.

After that are are a couple of question marks. Right-hander Collin McHugh, who signed a one-year deal with Boston in March, likely will miss some time to begin the season as he continues to rehab his injured elbow. That leaves the fourth and fifth spots in the rotation wide open.

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After the team's intrasquad scrimmage Sunday, manager Ron Roenicke told reporters that southpaw Brian Johnson is a candidate for the No. 4 spot and he may roll with an "opener" in the No. 5 slot.

So in order, the starting rotation to begin the season would be:

1. Eduardo Rodriguez
2. Nathan Eovaldi
3. Martin Perez
4. Brian Johnson
5. Opener/TBD

Right-hander Ryan Weber is expected to be in the mix as well, but how he'll fit into the rotation remains to be seen.

It definitely doesn't look like pitching will be a strength for Boston in its 60-game campaign. Making matters even more difficult is Rodriguez's positive COVID-19 test, which could further complicate things to start the season.

Opening Day for the Red Sox is scheduled for July 24 vs. the Baltimore Orioles at Fenway Park.