Washington Nationals Trade Target: Jackie Bradley Jr.

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Even though the Washington Nationals appear to be set in the outfield for 2016 with Jayson Werth, Bryce Harper, and Michael Taylor even with Denard Span now a free agent. However, could the Nats be targeting another young outfielder to join the organization in 2016?

In his column yesterday for the Boston Globe, Nick Cafardo linked the Nationals as possibly having interest in one of the Red Sox’ young outfielders, Jackie Bradley Jr:

“A year ago, Bradley wouldn’t have brought much in return. Now, the Mariners, Royals, Mets, and Cubs have expressed interest, and perhaps the Nationals.”

In 74 games this past season for Boston, Bradley Jr. had a slash line of .249/.335/.498 with ten home runs and 43 RBI’s. The 25-year-old left-handed hitter has the ability to play all three positions in the outfield, has a great glove defensively, and is able to draw walks. The problem for him in his short career has been his consistency at the plate.

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Bradley Jr. only had four hits in 30 at-bats in the first half of the season and ended up spending most of the early part of the season down at triple-A Pawtucket. However, when he came back up to the Red Sox in the second half, he was a different player. He hit .354 in the month of August with five home runs, 23 RBI’s, and had an on-base percentage of .429. Bradley Jr’s best game during that month was against the Mariners on August 15.

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On a day where Felix Hernandez was on the mound, Bradley Jr. went 5-for-6 with five runs scored, three doubles, two home runs, and had seven RBI’s in a 22-10 win for the Red Sox. He ended up finishing the second half of the season with 41 RBI’s in 60 games. The only player on the Red Sox who had more RBI’s than him during that span was none other than David Ortiz (.352, 22 HR, 65 RBI’s).

A couple of days ago, Boston’s new president of baseball operations, Dave Dombrowski traded away four prospects to acquire former Braves’ closer Craig Kimbrel. He is never afraid to make a trade, but Boston has a good group of young outfielders in Bradley Jr., Mookie Betts, and Rusney Castillo.

Bradley Jr. is a player the Nationals should at least call about his availability because he. would be under team control until 2021. But, with the amount of teams interested in making a trade for him, the Nats might be better off signing Gerardo Parra as a free agent rather than giving up some of their top prospects. Plus, with the team showing confidence in Taylor and Werth under contract for two more years, it would be tough to find Bradley Jr. the amount of at-bats he would need to continue his development.

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