Jackie Bradley Jr.The market continues to percolate, like MLB.com’s Jon Paul Morosi tweets that the Cubs and Phillies are the newest teams linked to the free agent outfielder.
Bradley is a known amount for Phillies president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski from their time with the Red Sox, and Bradley would address a dire need for the Phils in midfield. The tandem of Roman Quinn and Adam Haseley currently being in the middle field track, but installing an everyday veteran like Bradley would both bolster the position and provide a major defensive upgrade. Bradley’s left-handed bat would also be useful in a Philadelphia setup that leans to the right.
Ian Happ gave both a strong offense and fairly respectable (+1 Outs above average, -2 Defensive Runs Saved, -1.6 UZR / 150) glove work as the Cubs’ regular midfielder in 2020, but Bradley clearly offers much more defensive value in the middle . Which Kyle Schwarber has not been tendered, Happ can easily be shifted to left field to bring Bradley to the center. Given the number of former Red Sox employees within the Cubs organization, Bradley would also find many familiar faces in Wrigleyville – to name two, manager David Ross and assistant general manager Craig Breslow were both former teammates in Boston.
Outside of Philadelphia and Chicago, four other clubs (the Blue Jays, Red Sox, Astros and an unknown AL Central team) have also reportedly expressed interest in Bradley’s services at various times during the off-season. Toronto is also strongly associated with George Springerwhile the Astros haven’t ruled out a reunion with Springer yet, and the Red Sox and Phillies may also be in the mix, although it’s not clear yet how much money either team is willing to spend this off-season. Bradley could be seen as a “plan B” type of midfield options to many Springer suitors, and he could be more of a primary target for a team like the Cubs who aren’t thought to have much salary space available. While not exactly a cheap sign, Bradley’s expected price tag could be as much as $ 100 million less than Springer’s next contract.