This weekend very well might be Jackie Bradley Jr.’s Boston Red Sox swan song.
It’s hard to believe given how long he’s patrolled center field for the Red Sox, but he indeed is set to hit free agency this offseason, and it’s unclear if he’s in the team’s plans for 2021 and beyond.
Ahead of the Red Sox’s penultimate game of the season, Bradley addressed his future.
“You think about (if this is it in Boston), for sure,” Bradley told reporters over Zoom. “When you’ve been around a lot of people for so long in the organization, I think you start thinking about all the relationships and stuff that you’ve developed over time. … You definitely think about it, and you reflect.”
Bradley was asked point blank if he is open to return to the Red Sox if the opportunity presented itself.
“If the opportunity presented itself and (that’s) how things play out, then yes.”
When Bradley got called up, he was engaged. Now he’s married and has a daughter, and now there’s a son on the way.
So he’s thinking about far more than just himself right now.
“This is a big decision, and it’s going to have an impact on not just my life, but (my family’s) lives as well. And I don’t take that for granted, I don’t take that lightly, and ultimately I’m going to do what I think is best for my family.”
Bradley had indicated earlier in the season that he hadn’t talked about a new contract with the Red Sox at that point. That’s remained the case.
“I’m sure we’ll talk here in the offseason and kind of see where that goes. Never really one to talk business, so to speak, until (it’s) time. But I’m excited for the opportunity and I think that it’s going to be an interesting one.”
In part because of the financial uncertainty around the game, it’s unclear what Bradley’s market will look like. It’s also worth mentioning that Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom has always raved about Bradley.
If the 30-year-old departs though, the Red Sox’s internal options are Andrew Benintendi and, probably to a lesser degree, Alex Verdugo.
Jarren Duran might very well be an option down the road, but it’s hard to envision him being ready to be an everyday big leaguer by the start of next season.