Mut, Rob, and John are talking about some of the Hall of Fame candidates who gained or lost support within the last year. Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds both gained support, while Curt Schilling lost a chunk of votes he had gotten last year.

[0:01:12] ... Manny Ramirez 23 point 8% his first time on the ballot and Curt Schilling down this is not a surprise for Curt Schilling losing it. 31 votes from a year ago he was up but we're 50% last year now it's 45%. This year. And this'll be 888. APEC cause of mind is even before. This became an issue I thought a year ago two years ago. I've always thought Curt Schilling was a hall of Famer as regular season numbers. You can make the argument are not good enough when put in comparison ...
[0:03:16] ... like that's that's on nothing and it's only a few more than Tim Wakefield won. He got to get a hold of Rambo now. Can you carry once again juxtaposed against the deep that'd be that ...
[0:10:23] ... guy guys are using it because of their political views on of Curt Schilling you don't they're saying it's not Johnny Damon. And that's that they use and keep Curt Schilling from getting able this year a guy who in my mind. In and out on the field. The Vienna baseball I've said this before I'll say it again lynching is not a political issues so I think that's a little disingenuous everyone's just like it was a joke it was this it was that. I understand why people are offended by the idea of lynching I don't think that is limited to the right Torre also said you don't think the Curt Schilling wants to which anybody. I debate again we're not I'm not gonna go down this road again no I don't think he ...
[0:13:03] ... Until someone gives us a good reason why they changed the voted Curt Schilling that's all we have to go lie. And and did have you guys heard of anybody who changed their vote a good reason why Curt Schilling. BK it was a hall of Famer last year it is not a hall favor this year other than what we're talking ...

Mut, Bradford, and Tomase are in after it was announced that Jeff Bagwell, Tim Raines, and Ivan 'Pudge' Rodriguez will be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. They also talk about some notable candidates who weren't elected this year like Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds.

[0:04:46] ... maybe they're people out there Tuesday. You know what I wanna recognize Tim Wakefield long career you know I wanna recognize but I don't I don't sort of like a hall of just saying is it's not you can make yours saying oh it's because your buddies. I think that's a little to convene what is probably true well a rhythm thing is is say that you say. I wonder recognizable when there is this many qualified guys on the ballot and you have ten you can both a maximum of ten guys. And then your putting Tim Wakefield and Jason Varitek and Edgar Renteria and Magglio Ordonez. When there's legitimate. Not even an argument dies. That you can vote for ...
[0:05:42] ... thing is if you vote for Varitek or you don't follow the Ken Griffey you've got your vote taken away and it's like is that democracies work like it's. No that's not a product comes back ...
[0:07:26] ... can't make that same argue or John up I asked you okay. Tim Wakefield hall of fame. Yeah I am I cannot say listen I'm not gotten it out it's a what you're defending those people aren't having been in their right I am defending their right to make Padres because I think there's always a rip them them you know that you can absolutely rip I'm not saying we can do anything to knee jerk thing you're driving and of course at the thing. I tell then what else are reporting it is to say you gave votes a guy could you liked him maybe year recognizing a long career the 200 wins I don't know I mean I can't make that case but maybe somebody can. And the risk we run with a halt use if you don't vote for Ken Griffey on the first ballot you should lose your vote like c'mon Mike may be. They have their misguided thing about no first ...
[0:10:16] ... notes up yet so one person one vote of 22500. Went to Tim Wakefield China doesn't offend me so that does not offend me that that if I went only five not that they're not paying ...

The breakout seasons of Mookie Betts and Jackie Bradley Jr. in 2016 can be easily explained. Both saw more time in the major leagues, and with that experience comes adjustments and increased success. That is the way of the world in big league baseball.

Jackie Bradley Jr. and Chris Young were part of a close-knit Red Sox clubhouse. (Greg M. Cooper/USA Today Sports)

Jackie Bradley Jr. and Chris Young were part of a close-knit Red Sox clubhouse. (Greg M. Cooper/USA Today Sports)

The breakout seasons of Mookie Betts and Jackie Bradley Jr. in 2016 can be easily explained. Both saw more time in the major leagues, and with that experience comes adjustments and increased success. That is the way of the world in big league baseball.

But there was also a very real difference in the Red Sox’ clubhouse, as well.

While so many focused on the presence of David Ortiz in the designated hitter’s last season, the team’s aura was being defined by the group of young players who finally became secure enough in their major league existence to not just silently worry about their own lot in life.

Bradley Jr. Betts. Brock Holt. Travis Shaw. Xander Bogaerts. Andrew Benintendi. Christian Vazquez. Blake Swihart. And the additional veteran presence of Chris Young. While Ortiz and Dustin Pedroia were supplying their usual brand of leadership, the increased comfort level of the aforementioned group of position players became a very powerful dynamic.

Perhaps the most noticeable example of the evolution was Bradley Jr. He explained when appearing on the Bradfo Sho podcast:

“Believe it or not, I’ve never really told anybody, this year was the first year I actually felt I was part of a team. In previous year, I stayed up the majority of year. But I didn’t really feel like I fit in. I was still trying to work through some things. I wasn’t sure when I was going to be up there at a particular time. The only reason why I started in 2014 there was because Shane [Victorino] got injured the last game of spring training so I didn’t necessarily make the team in 2014, even though a lot of people think I did. Just kind of finding myself and knowing what I need to do. I think this year was where I actually developed very strong bonds and close-knit relationships with people, not saying I didn’t have that before, but as a whole I was able to put everything together.”

While so many wonder about how the Red Sox are going to survive without Ortiz’s guidance, this reality should be understood.

Who knows how it will translate on the field. But whatever happens, it most likely won’t be pinned on the kind of uneasiness that Bradley Jr. explained.


Blog Author: 
Rob Bradford

Dustin Pedroia. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Dustin Pedroia. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Wednesday is Hall of Fame day. It’s when we uncover the next class. But with most of the voting having gone public, the results will ultimately be somewhat anti-climatic.

That’s why we should spend today having a different conversation.

We have plenty of time for the David Ortiz talk. The year 2021, to be exact. So with the designated hitter starting his Hall of Fame clock, now we can turn to which player still wearing a Red Sox uniform should be considered Cooperstown-worthy.

It’s a debate that might take a bit more effort — which, as we found out through the latest round of balloting, isn’t often times a favorite of voters. But a worthy exercise, nonetheless.

Mookie Betts and Xander Bogaerts have Hall of Fame talent. That much we do know. But their cautionary tale is teammate Hanley Ramirez, who through is first five years as a major leaguer had .313 batting average and .906 OPS to along with the sixth-most total bases from 2006-10.

Now we can’t, with all good conscious, introduce Ramirez into any Hall of Fame conversation.

The pitchers? David Price could make a run at it. Through his first eight seasons he has the third-most wins over that span, equaling Clayton Kershaw. The lefty has also turned in more innings than all but four starters, while managing a 3.23 ERA, all while pitching exclusively in the American League.

Hall of Famer Randy Johnson had 20 fewer wins and a 3.55 during his first eight full seasons in the bigs, hitting his ninth legit year two years older than Price. So there is a chance.

But with the volatility of pitchers’ shoulders and elbows, projecting into their 30’s, is a dangerous proposition.

That brings us to Dustin Pedroia.

The Red Sox’ second baseman has put himself in a pretty good position.

His health is obviously the wild card. But for the sake of this discussion, we will work under the assumption that Pedroia is going to be using the momentum of last season’s health (154 games) to stay on the field.

The foundation of his case should be with the most recent second baseman to enter the Hall, Craig Biggio. Through the same number of plate appearances Pedroia currently own (6,280), the former Astro owned a .290 batting average and .809 OPS with 126 homers. They’re all numbers the Sox’ star eclipse, with both players hitting the plate appearance jumping off point at relatively the same age.

As we sit here right now, Pedroia has a career batting average of .301, an .811 OPS and 133 homers.

Biggio did go on to play nine more seasons, but hit just .269 during that stretch with a modest .776 OPS.

Perhaps comparing Pedroia to a sure-fire first ballot middle infielder might offer more of a convincing case. Let’s use Derek Jeter.

Through that 6,280 plate-appearance jumping off point, Jeter is ahead of Pedroia. But not by as much as you might think. During that start of the former Yankee’s career, he hit .315 with an .850 OPS and 151 homers. The rest of the way? Jeter totaled 6,271 plate appearances over just more than nine seasons and hit .304 with a .785 OPS.

Catching Jeter might not be realistic, but presenting a better case than Biggio? That isn’t out of the realm of possibility. And if that’s the case, then you should have another Red Sox Hall of Famer.

Such a long way to go, and plenty of time to talk. Seems like a good a time as any to kick things off.

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Blog Author: 
Rob Bradford

Andrew Benintendi didn’t play like a rookie when he was promoted to the big leagues. Now he doesn’t look like one, either.

Andrew Benintendi didn’t play like a rookie when he was promoted to the big leagues. Now he doesn’t look like one, either.

Benintendi finished his first foray into major league baseball hitting .295 with an .835 OPS and two home runs. He also went 3-for-9 with a homer in the postseason.

He’s evidently put the physique tailored for playing high school basketball in the rear-view mirror, as this Cincinnati Enquirer photo suggests …


Blog Author: 
Rob Bradford

Talking to Jackie Bradley Jr., it’s clear that the Red Sox outfielder has a deep respect for those who came before him.

Jackie Bradley Jr. (David Butler II/USA Today Sports)

Jackie Bradley Jr. (David Butler II/USA Today Sports)

Talking to Jackie Bradley Jr., it’s clear that the Red Sox outfielder has a deep respect for those who came before him.

He has discussed in length about his admiration for Jackie Robinson, while also making a point to visit the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum last season. And when it comes to honoring Martin Luther King Jr. Day Monday, Bradley Jr. noted while appearing on the Bradfo Sho podcast, “[King Jr.] just wanted everybody to be treated equal and that was the message that he preached. And to this day everybody would want that, or at least I know I do.”

So when the topic of living life as an African-American major league baseball player in Boston came up on the podcast, Bradley Jr. was predictably insightful

It is a topic of particular interest, not only because of the man the nation celebrates on Jan. 16, but also because of recent news items involving the Celtics’ Jae Crowder and Bradley Jr.’s Red Sox teammate, David Price, who told the Boston Globe he has heard racial taunts at Fenway Park.

“Overall experience, I have had nothing too terribly negative said about me,” he said. “I can only speak about my experience. As a whole, you will have people here and there, but that’s just some people. That’s not a majority. You can link everybody as a majority. It was definitely an adjustment period for me because I’m from the South so the weather, for one, was an adjustment. Just people’s personalities. LIke opening doors for people and not hearing ‘Thank you,’ I would always say, ‘You’re welcome’ to get them to have a response. But that’s not everyone. I’ve enjoyed my time in Boston. I have nothing negative to say about it. I know my wife enjoys it. I’ve been very welcome and I haven’t heard anything personally directly to me said negatively.

“Social media is social media. Anybody can write something. But those same people are probably the same people who are first in line to speak to you, or get an autograph. You kind of just take it how it is and go about your business.”

Growing up in Virginia, and going to college at the University of South Carolina, Bradley Jr.’s had also heard about, and researched, the sometimes uncomfortable history of race relations in Boston, and involving the Red Sox.

“I’ve heard a lot of different things, knowing Boston was the last American League team to have an African-American player in MLB. I kind of researched a little bit about [former Red Sox owner Tom] Yawkey … ,” he said.

“I’m definitely able to speak on certain things and speak my mind, because I feel comfortable talking about certain situations. Those are things you know coming in, but I don’t let that kind of stuff distract me from the goal at hand. I’m here to compete, help my team win, provide for my family and kind of everything else is everything else. I’m focused and I want to win, and that’s what it all boils down to.”

While Bradley Jr. downplays the effect any perceived racial issues have had on him during his time in the Red Sox organization, he also hasn’t totally immune to the kind of vitriol Price spoke of.

“I definitely had a lot of struggle in 2014. I think that was most racist type things that were directed toward me during that time,” Bradley Jr. said. “But it’s all growing pains. If you don’t know what somebody has been through, the adversity they’ve been through, it’s kind of hard to make that judgment. They’re judging solely off of performance in my career, which, by the way, was just getting started. There is definitely a lot of room to grow and improve. I’m willing to put the work in and I feel like last year was a stepping stone in showing that.”


Blog Author: 
Rob Bradford

When it comes to the World Baseball Classic, Jackie Bradley is saying thanks, but no thanks.