WEEI.com writer Alex Speier reports that South Carolina outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr. is preparing to return to Columbia for the 2012 campaign. The Boston Red Sox selected him with the 40th overall selection after having surgery for torn tendons in his left wrist. He returned for the 2011 College World Series where he helped lead the Gamecocks to their second straight national championship. Coming into the 2011 season, CBD rated him as the 5th best player in the country.
The WEEI report states:
Bradley, who was the MVP of the College World Series in 2010, hit .174 with a .240 OBP and a .217 slugging mark in this year’s tournament. Given his down performance year and the fact that he was coming off an injury, it seemed fair to wonder whether Bradley might follow a similar path to a player whom the Sox had taken one year earlier with the No. 39 pick — right-hander Anthony Ranaudo — who likewise dealt with injuries and performance issues as a junior but used a stint in the Cape League in order to try to command a bonus commensurate with his preseason status.
But Bradley — who, like Ranaudo, is advised by Scott Boras — will not follow that course. Instead, he is working out this summer, though Boras suggested from the All-Star festivities that Bradley is doing so with a return to USC in mind, rather than the start of his professional career.
“He’s doing well. He just had the wrist issue. He was able to come back and compete very, very well. He should be fine,” said Boras. “[He is] probably not [playing this summer]. We’re just having him work on his strength and getting him ready to go back to college.”
Such threats would typically carry little weight, since college seniors have little leverage in the draft. That said, Boras clients have, on occasion, returned to college for their senior year. For instance, catcher Jason Varitek and pitchers James Paxton and Luke Hochevar all returned to school when they were unable to reach an agreement with the teams that took them with a high draft pick.
I believe this negotiating strategy by Boras is just a ploy to get some extra money out of the Boston Red Sox and Jackie Bradley Jr. will be signing come the August 15th deadline. What do you think?