Alex Speier of the Boston Globe published an article this morning reporting that the Dodgers approached the Boston Red Sox earlier this offseason about a potential trade proposal that would involve Yasiel Puig in exchange for outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr. this offseason.
In the article, Speier notes that “multiple major league sources” were aware of the initial discussion between the Dodgers and the Red Sox about potentially swamping two young outfielders. Speier goes on to say the Red Sox “quickly decline” the idea, and there wasn’t any substantive conversation the followed.
Speier indicates the Dodgers were primarily interested in Bradley because of his extra year of control the team would have. Bradley is under team control for three more years, while Puig has two more years before becoming a free agent.
Bradley will be entering his fourth full season and will be turning 28 this season. Bradley is coming off of what was a relatively disappointing 2017 season after an All-Star appearance in 2016. Bradley slashed .245/.323/.401 with 17 home runs in a season plagued by injuries last year. Those numbers are a decent drop off from his 2016 season when he slashed .267/.349/.486 with 26 home runs. Bradley also has the ability to play elite outfield defense with a 5.3 career defensive WAR rating, and we know how management values defensive versatility.
Bradley made $3.3 million last season and is projected to make $5.9 million this upcoming season. He is a four-year arbitration player and will be eligible for free agency after the 2020 season.
The reports that the front office flirted with the idea of moving Puig is somewhat surprising considering Puig’s season last year. Puig had his most complete season of his career slashing .263/346/.487 with a career-high 28 home runs and 74 RBI. Puig looked much improved at the plate showing better discipline and played Gold Glove-caliber defense. Puig is still only 27 years old and is under contract for two more seasons at a relatively affordable price ($18+M over two years).
If these reports are accurate, and if this trade would have occurred, this would have shocked the Dodger community. After so many ups and downs in Puig’s career, I’m not sure how the fanbase would have reacted to trading away a core player.
But that’s the MLB offseason. General Managers throw around crazy ideas in hopes of finding a move that makes the team better. In this instance, Friedman was looking for a young All-Star caliber player who is is more affordable and under control for an extra season. It would have been an out of the box move, but a move that Friedman likes to make.
How would you have felt if this trade would have developed into something big? Let us know in the comments below!
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