Jackie Bradley Jr.’s departure to the Milwaukee Brewers is just another name added to the long list of athletes Boston sports fans have had to say goodbye to in the past 13 months. The farewells began on February 4th, 2020, when the Red Sox sent former AL MVP winner Mookie Betts to Los Angeles Dodgers along with David Price. Just 13 days later, fan-favorite Brock Holt packed his bags and headed to Milwaukee. This was just the beginning of a 13-month stretch in which Boston would lose some of their brightest stars. Let’s take a look at what each of the 4 major Boston sports teams lost during this stretch.
New England Patriots
The Patriots had an off-season full of departures, none more important than Tom Brady, the GOAT, the man who brought six Super Bowl championships to Boston. After bringing 17 AFC East Championships, 9 Super Bowl appearances, and 6 rings to New England, Brady announced he would not be returning to the Patriots on March 17th, 2020. Brady left the Patriots with a career record of 219-64 over the course of his 20-year tenure. Brady would sign with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers just a few days later, and he would be taking another Patriots Hall of Famer with him. That being tight end Rob Gronkowski. Gronk retired in March of 2019 following the Patriots Super Bowl win over the Rams. When the news struck that Brady was heading to Tampa, speculation began to arise over the possibility Gronk would join him. Sure enough, he did and Gronk was traded to the Buccaneers on April 21st, 2020, and well… the rest is history. The two went onto win their 4th Super Bowl together and connected for two touchdowns in the game, a bittersweet sight for Patriots fans.
That same off-season, the Patriots would lose Kyle Van Noy, Elandon Roberts, and Ted Karras to the Miami Dolphins as they reunited with former Patriots coach Brian Flores. Jamie Collins and Harmon also left New England to reunite with another former Patriots coach Matt Patricia in Detroit.
Boston Red Sox
With the departure of JBJ and the retirement of Dustin Pedroia, there is just one player on the Red Sox roster that was a part of the 2013 Boston Strong World Series run. That player is Xander Bogaerts. Better yet, remember the win dance and repeat routine Jackie Bradley Jr., Mookie Betts, and Andrew Benintendi would perform following a win? If you were to tell me in 2018 all three of those guys would be gone heading into the 2021 season I would’ve called you crazy. Unfortunately for Red Sox fans, the goodbyes did not stop with Mookie Betts, David Price, and Brock Holt as we touched on earlier. On August 21st, 2020 the Red Sox sent relief pitchers Brandon Workman and Heath Hembree to Philadelphia Phillies, and just 9 days later the Red Sox sent Mitch Moreland to the San Diego Padres. All three players were members of the 2018 World Series team. The goodbyes have not stopped heading into the 2021 season. On February 1st, 2021, longtime Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia announced his retirement. The Laser Show was a three-time World Series champion, the 2007 Rookie of the Year, 2008 AL MVP, and a 4x gold glover. Just 9 days after Pedroia announced his retirement, the Red Sox traded Andrew Benintendi to the Kansas City Royals. Benintendi spent 5 seasons with the Red Sox and was a key member of the 2019 World Series run. Most recently, on March 4th, 2021, Jackie Bradley Jr. signed a two-year deal with the Brewers. JBJ was with the Red Sox for 8 years, and leaves behind some incredible memories. Arguably one of the best defensive players in the league, Jackie played a key role in the Red Sox’s three straight AL East titles. Jackie was the 2019 ALCS MVP, a World Series champion, and a one-time All-Star during his time with the Red Sox.
After serving as team captain for the past 14 seasons, Zdeno Chara left the Bruins as an unrestricted free-agent to join the Washington Capitals on December 30th, 2020. Chara signed with Boston on July 1st, 2006, where he played in 1,023 games for the Bruins and brought a Stanley Cup title to Boston in 2011. Chara was not the only unrestricted free-agent to leave the B’s. On October 9th, 2020, Krug agreed to a seven-year $45.5 million with the St. Louis Blues. Krug spent nine seasons with the Bruins and was a member of the 2013-2014 All-Rookie Team.
The Boston Celtics have not been hit quite as hard as the other Boston sports teams but did still suffer a significant loss. On November 21st, 2021, Gordon Hayward agreed to a four-year $120 million deal with the Charlotte Hornets. The Celtics signed Hayward to a four-year 128 million deal on July 14th, 2017. In Hayward’s first game a Celtic, he suffered a gruesome ankle injury that caused him to miss the entire season. Some fans argue Hayward never looked the same after his injury. Hayward played in 125 games for the Celtics but started just 71 of them averaging 13.9 points per game. Hayward is now averaging 21.5 points per game for the Hornets alongside former Celtics guard Terry Rozier who is averaging 20.5.