Can the Yankees avoid the missteps of the Red Sox and Mariners?

(Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
(Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images) /

Center Stage

Take Jackie Bradley Jr. He always had gold glove talent, but his stick has never arrived; Bradley slashed just .245/.323/.402 this season. And his talent looks worse against comparisons.

Jackie got 482 AB’s and produced a WAR of 2.8. That was only good enough for seventh among AL center fielders. And just above him is the Yankees’ Aaron Hicks. The separation between them, though, is greater than that as Hicks ended the season with a 3.9 WAR after only 301 AB’s.

Perhaps it is a better barometer to point out that Jacoby Ellsbury’s WAR was 1.7. That means Jackie is halfway between a diminished, aging player and a talented but inconsistent one his same age. That is not what the Red Sox were hoping for.

And although Jackie hit 17 home runs, both Hicks and Kevin Kiermaier hit 15 homers with at least 100 fewer at bats. Now, Boston must already make a decision about him. He’s a free agent in three years, so the clock is ticking.

Should they trade his All-Star defense for an upgrade in offense? Can he put together another first half like he did in 2016, or was that a true aberration? The Sox have to know that at 28, Jackie Bradley is the player he is going to be.