Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon

news

MLB News

JBJ lauded for defense, seeks more SBs in '18

Red Sox outfielder isn't fazed by offseason trade rumors
MLB.com @IanMBrowne

BOSTON -- It would have been awkward if Jackie Bradley Jr. had come to Thursday's Boston Baseball Writers Dinner to collect his award for defensive excellence as a member of another team.

But rumors proved to be just rumors, and Bradley seems just about certain to stay put with the Red Sox in 2018 and beyond.

BOSTON -- It would have been awkward if Jackie Bradley Jr. had come to Thursday's Boston Baseball Writers Dinner to collect his award for defensive excellence as a member of another team.

But rumors proved to be just rumors, and Bradley seems just about certain to stay put with the Red Sox in 2018 and beyond.

Bradley is the recipient of a new award the Boston chapter of the BBWAA created this year -- the Defensive Player of the Year for the Red Sox.

After strong rookie year, Benintendi eyes more

In fact, Bradley's consistent prowess on defense is just one reason the Red Sox have had very little interest in trying to trade him. As a Super Two player, the center fielder remains under the contractual control of the club for three more seasons.

"He's a very good player. He's very important to us," Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski said. "He's one of the best defensive center fielders in Major League Baseball. We can see what he can do as an overall player. Last year, I think he wasn't as good offensively as the year before, but the reality is Jackie is a really good player who stabilizes our team. He brings a quality individual that comes to play day in and day out and is respected in the clubhouse, and is someone who's very well thought of by us."

Video: BOS@BAL: Bradley Jr. throws 95.9 mph to nab Alvarez

As low key as they come off the field, Bradley never got all that worked up even when the rumors were out there that suggested he could be traded to make room for a bigger bat in the lineup.

"Yeah, that's one of those things where you do see it," Bradley said. "You definitely have family members who are constantly talking to you about it. You know, 'Well, what if this, what if that?' What will be, will be. That has always been my mindset. It's something that I can't really control. You know, so, I'm just not going to worry about it. If it happens, it happens. If it doesn't, I'm perfectly fine. I feel like I'm in a great situation. I feel like I have great teammates. I'm glad to be around them. And like I said, I understand if it did happen, then it's something that I'll have to live with."

Big Hot Stove move or not, Cora confident

Bradley looks forward to another season with the Red Sox, and he provided a teaser that you might see him add more stolen bases to his repertoire under new manager Alex Cora. Thus far, Bradley's career high is nine stolen bases in 2016.

Video: BOS@NYY: Bradley Jr. steals bag after Sox challenge

"I've always wanted to run more and I'm glad [Alex is] going to give me the opportunity to be able to do that more often," Bradley said. "I've always felt like I can run. I feel like I've gotten stronger every year. I've been pretty successful on the basepaths, but I guess certain times, situations did not dictate it in the past. The red light was more of a thing they wanted to do when certain people were at-bat."

For someone who has worked tirelessly on being a top defender, Bradley appreciated the award he received on Thursday.

"It's great. I think y'all made it just for me," Bradley quipped.

Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook.

Boston Red Sox, Jackie Bradley Jr.