Jackie Bradley Jr. of the Boston Red Sox is eliciting trade interest from teams around the league ahead of Monday’s trade deadline. There’s no clear indication whether the Red Sox are offering their centerfielder up in trade discussions, but both the Giants and Indians are curious, per MLB Network’s Jon Heyman.
Bradley has long been considered a standout defensive outfielder. He’s lost a step in the outfield by metrics like Defensive Runs Saved (2 DRS this season, -2.0 UZR), but he nonetheless remains a viable option to man the middle of the grass. Just last season, Bradley Jr. was worth 6 Outs Above Average by the Statcast metric, ranking as the very best in majors in reaction time. On his defensive prowess alone, Bradley Jr. could easily carve out a role on any number of contenders.
The offensive end tells a different tale. He’s long been a confounding presence at the plate, and this season hasn’t been Bradley’s finest with the stick. A triple slash of .253/.317/.363 still holds value when paired with his glove, however. It would be a little surprising for the Red Sox to hold onto him given that Bradley is a free agent at year’s end, and they’re one of the few teams in the majors all but guaranteed to miss the playoffs. Still, the Red Sox might see value in having his veteran voice in the clubhouse. Before prorating for the shortened season, JBJ was owed $11MM for the season, his last before free agency.
The Indians probably have enough bodies to man the corners of the outfield, but they’re thin in the middle after Oscar Mercado’s somewhat shocking sophomore season (-29 wRC+). Delino DeShields (84 wRC+) is their primary option in center with Greg Allen (48 wRC+) backing him up. The need is clear, but frankly, Bradley Jr. (82 WRC+) fits the mold of the players already on the roster. The Giants, meanwhile, would be surprising buyers, but their offense has kept them within striking distance of the wild card. Mike Yastrzemski has done an admirable job in center, but the Giants must prefer to keep him in a corner if possible. Steven Duggar has returned to the roster, but he’s struggled in limited action thus far (-7 wRC+).
Speculatively speaking, the Cubs or Brewers would be another pair of contenders that could potentially seek outfield help. The Brewers have been forced to play Avisail Garcia in center after Lorenzo Cain opted out for the season. The Brewers have been a disappointment this season on the whole, but they’re a perfect fit should Boston decide to deal Bradley. The Cubs are fairly well stocked in the outfield, and Albert Almora Jr. offers a similar option in terms of skillset, but they still have room for another outfielder on the roster and will definitely look for ways to upgrade. Team President Theo Epstein obviously has a history with Boston and should have no trouble getting his former club on the line, should they have interest.