Sox fans and to some degree the wider universe of baseball fans have become quite smitten with Jackie Bradley, Jr. His banner year in the minors last year, leading up to him stealing spring training with his five-tool skills, finds Bradley at the center of the debate as to what the Sox should do with him right now, with everyone weighing in. I'll leave that alone, because you've already read a thousand arguments about that, including a few on our site.
The latest is Buster Olney, who was a guest on WEEI's midday show Mut and Merloni. Buster was asked what to do with JBJ (he'd leave him in the minors), and then was asked what big-leaguer Bradley most closely resembled. His answer: Future Hall of Famer and Patron Saint of Baseball Derek Jeter.
“He is a blessing for the Red Sox, in terms that they have this type of player with this type of personality at the beginning of the year,” Olney said. “He’s so mature. He looks like he’s going to be their version of Derek Jeter, he really does. I don’t mean as a player — I mean in terms of being able to handle things when he gets up.”
Even with the "don't mean as a player" caveat, it's quite a compliment. When anyone is pressed to describe the ultimate pro, the answer is almost always Derek Jeter. And that's great for us -- if Bradley is really that mature, that much of a leader, possessor of that many intangibles, he's going to be an important figure for the team. It's also a pretty lofty goal to reach. I'll take mature kid, solid player. We don't have to start expecting him to be consummate winner, future Hall of Famer.
But still, it's great to hear that we're replacing some of the trash we got rid of last year with some decent human beings. And if he's that great of a human being, all the more reason to make sure we hold on to as many arbitration years as possible (sorry, couldn't resist).