The scheduled start of the 2021 Major League Baseball regular season is less than two months away, and Jackie Bradley Jr. still is without a team.
Bradley resides on the open market as ballclubs across the big leagues have opened up spring training. Bradley’s ongoing free agency should not be perceived as a lack of interest in the veteran outfielder. Rather, JBJ appears to be surveying all of his options before he signs the dotted line.
MLB insider Robert Murray on Monday reported the Milwaukee Brewers are “in the mix” for Bradley, an eight-year veteran with an All-Star selection, Gold Glove Award and American League Championship Series MVP Award on his résumé. MLB Network’s Jon Heyman added a follow-up to Murray’s report, noting about a “half dozen” teams are considering the 30-year-old.
The Red Sox appear to be among those franchises. Chaim Bloom recently said Boston “remains hopeful” to re-sign Bradley, though Boston’s chief baseball officer earlier this month acknowledged a deal would need to make sense for both sides. It’s unclear where JBJ currently is at with his contract desires, but an early February report indicated the defensive dynamo was in search of a deal that runs for at least four years.
Perhaps recent events have boosted the Red Sox’s interest in retaining Bradley. Boston recently shopped Andrew Benintendi, the club’s starting left fielder of the past four seasons. Boston brought in Franchy Cordero via the three-team trade, though it remains to be seen if he’s capable of being an every-day outfielder. The Red Sox also might not be keen on having J.D. Martinez play the field regularly.
Bradley batted .283 with seven home runs and 22 RBIs in 55 games over the course of Boston’s abbreviated 2020 season. He’s a career .239 hitter, though he still ranks among the best defensive outfielders in all of baseball.