Jackie Bradley Jr. designated for assignment by the Red Sox

Of the 231 players with at least 250 plate appearances this year, his .578 OPS ranked 220th. Even with typically excellent defense — he was credited with 5 Defensive Runs Saved (DRS) by Baseball Info Solutions, and with having saved 3 outs more than an average rightfielder by Statcast — the Red Sox made the decision to move on from Bradley given the depth of his offensive struggles.

The acquisitions of first baseman Eric Hosmer, who is expected to join the Sox in Kansas City on Thursday, and outfielder Tommy Pham meant the Red Sox needed a 40-man roster spot — prompting the decision to designate Bradley.

After the Sox acquired Pham, the team committed to Jarren Duran as its everyday centerfielder while moving Alex Verdugo to right.

Duran, 25, is hitting .232/.280/.384 with seven steals, though is carrying a .156/.200/.267 line and 36.8 percent strikeout rate since July 3. Duran has also struggled defensively, grading as six runs below average by DRS, although Statcast suggests he’s converted an average number of balls in play into outs.

Committing to Duran (for at least the next few weeks, while Kiké Hernández works his way back from a hip strain) will give the Sox a better glimpse of his potential role in 2023 and beyond, while also allowing Duran an opportunity to show whether he’s ready to make the necessary adjustments to handle big league pitching.

The decision to designate Bradley is only part of what promises to be a day of numerous roster moves for the Red Sox. Righthander Kaleb Ort, who logged three innings out of the bullpen on Wednesday in Houston, has been sent back to Boston, presumably optioned back to Triple-A Worcester.

Righthander Matt Barnes is expected to be activated at some point over the road trip, although it’s not yet clear if that will take place on Thursday in Kansas City.

Bradley, a Gold Glove winner and ALCS MVP for the Red Sox in 2018, is a career .236/.315/.404 hitter in 936 games for the team and is considered the best defensive centerfielder in modern team history.

The Sox believed that with a return to familiar terrain, he had a chance to rebound from his woeful 2021 season with Milwaukee (.163/.236/.261) – a possibility that, in combination with a chance to acquire two prospects, convinced the team to deal Renfroe to the Brewers.

But while Bradley performed well this year at Fenway (.288/.317/.468 with excellent defense in right), the extremity of his road struggles (.129/.196/.167) ultimately proved too great for the Sox to keep him in the lineup rather than giving Duran an opportunity.

Renfroe, meanwhile, is hitting .246/.299/.508 with 19 homers in 70 games. Defensively, he’s credited with 8 DRS – which would rank in the top 10 among big league outfielders – but as 2 outs below average by Statcast (the bottom 25 percent of outfielders). The loss of that production ultimately led the Sox to make the Pham deal.

Between the salaries of Bradley and Pham and the absence of the less expensive Renfroe, this sequence of moves will likely represent the difference between the Red Sox finishing the year above the $230 million luxury tax threshold and under it – something with significant implications for the potential draft pick compensation the Sox will receive if free agents Nate Eovaldi, Xander Bogaerts, and JD Martinez depart.


Julian McWilliams can be reached at julian.mcwilliams@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @byJulianMack. Alex Speier can be reached at alex.speier@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter at @alexspeier.

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