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The Boston Red Sox continue to look for help in the outfield, sources tell WEEI.com.
The team wants to alleviate some of the pressure on younger Jackie Bradley, who has struggled at the plate, hitting .193 with 49 strikeouts in 46 games. However, no deal appears imminent at this time.
“It’s a little bit early to think about trades because teams are not really of that mindset yet,” Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington said.
“There’s a very strong track record there. This guy (Bradley) has been a good offensive player wherever he’s ever been. We’re seeing things in his at-bats that show us that he’s making progress. No one wants to perform like he has. He knows that’s got to happen at some point.”
There are also some worries about veteran Grady Sizemore, who is three years removed from playing in the majors. Sizemore is hitting .224 through 39 games with a .295 on-base percentage. His physical health also remains a concern.
“We’re looking at a guy who went a long time without seeing major-league pitching and is maybe in that phase where now he’s just getting used to major-league pitching again. When he gets his pitch, we see him drive it and hit the ball hard. He cares. He’s here every day early. This guy wants to be as good as anyone.”
The Red Sox have been linked to Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Andre Ethier, though interest from the team has been refuted. Last week, FOX Sports suggested the next two weeks would be critical for the Dodgers, and if the team fell out of contention Ethier could be placed on the trade block.
Los Angeles has a wealth of outfielders with Yasiel Puig, Matt Kemp and Carl Crawford, and the organization has a history of making deals with the Red Sox. In 2012, Boston sent Adrian Gonzalez and Josh Beckett to the Dodgers.
Ethier struggled early on this season, but has lifted his batting average to .277. He’s managed only three home runs and 25 RBI, though. Theoretically, a change of scenery could be good for him, too.
Though Boston is in need of outfield health, Cherington won’t admit as much. The team could be patient and wait for Shane Victorino to come off the disabled list, but there will still be the dilemma of playing either Sizemore or Bradley. The offense could drastically improve just by the return of Victorino, Mike Napoli and Will Middlebrooks.
Perhaps Ethier’s teammate, Kemp, is a more viable target?
Boston was reportedly in the mix to acquire Kemp last year. He is three years removed from his career-best campaign, but injuries have plagued the All-Star center fielder since. Kemp does carry a bloated contract, and is owed $107 million beyond 2014 and is signed through 2019. It’s unknown whether the Red Sox want to inherit that kind of deal.