The Royals announced that they have signed outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr. to a minor league deal with an invitation to major league Spring Training.
Bradley, 33 next month, has spent the past decade as one of the best defensive outfielders in the game. He has career tallies of 74 Defensive Runs Saved and 58 Outs Above Average, in addition to a grade of 53.2 from Ultimate Zone Rating. All three of those totals place Bradley in the top 10 among all outfielders in the game, dating back to his 2013 debut.
His offensive contributions have been less consistent, however. He seemed to have a breakout with the Red Sox back in 2015 and 2016, hitting .262/.345/.489 over that stretch for a wRC+ of 119. But over the next three seasons, he settled in as a below-average hitter. From 2017 to 2019, he hit .234/.318/.409 for a wRC+ of 90. That was 10% below league average for that stretch but he still proved valuable given his work on the grass.
Bradley then had a well-timed spike in 2020, just as he was about to reach free agency. He slashed .283/.364/.450 that year, leading to a wRC+ of 118 and a two-year, $24MM contract with the Brewers. Unfortunately, Bradley’s offense has nosedived since the moment that deal was signed. He hit just .163/.236/.261 in 2021, 37 wRC+, and then was flipped back to Boston for 2022. The return to familiar environs didn’t help much as he continued to struggle, got released and then signed with the Blue Jays. Between the two clubs, he hit .203/.255/.311, a slight bounceback to a wRC+ of 56 but still far below league average. Despite all those struggles at the plate, JBJ can still go get in in the field. He was worth 5 DRS, 8 OAA and 6.0 UZR last year, despite making only 98 starts.
The Royals traded from their center field depth this offseason, sending Michael A. Taylor to the Twins for some minor league pitching. That seemed to open up the spot for Drew Waters to get an extended audition, but he recently suffered an oblique strain and seems poised to miss the start of the season. Manager Matt Quatraro said at the time of the Waters injury that Kyle Isbel will “get every opportunity to grab that spot,” but Bradley’s presence in camp will give the Royals a glove-first veteran fallback option.
Michael A Taylor replacement.
Defensively an even addition,speed can be called even.
Offensively probably a step back.
Club house leadership goes to JBjr.
Overall good pick up.
Agreed. Good signing, but they are not even close on speed. And I doubt a minor league signee playing for them for the first time will have much leadership pull.
Marinararivera + Tony Plush
Yeah, he probably will provide very similar value to Michael A Tater
Relegate the Royals
I think he’s mostly done for. Can’t hit and his defense is starting to decline. But definitely deserves a shot.
This is Bull Schiste
The Orioles could not afford this gamble??
If anything Jbj is still a gold glove caliber glove outfielder
Who would have he played over? Not Santander, Mullins, or Hays. Stowers is the 4th and replacement for Hays if he struggles. Then maybe McKenna but I think McKenna makes a great 5th outfielder
He would be the fourth outfielder and he would have had the best arm of the bunch
Now his bat is questionable
I would have been okay with JBJ but I don’t want to block Stowers. Kid had like a .850 OPS in over 1k minor league at bats. I’m not sold on Hays
Not playing him over Stowers. Not to mention the fact that he is an automatic out. Pass with a capital P. Hays, when healthy is better plus we have like 3 of’s in the pipeline.
Had they also signed him to a minor league deal I definitely think it would’ve been worth the risk. Its a long season and guys can get injured or just flat out play poorly. Maybe one of the outfielders is losing games with bad fielding or maybe just underperforms altogether. The O’s are still pushing to consistently be in the playoffs and having JBJ as an option for them on a minor league deal would’ve been a solid gamble. But thats neither here nor there since they didn’t sign him lol.
JBJ may not be the best hitter, but his outfield defense is still well above average. I can see him coming off the bench in close games or to give the regulars a day off. The clubhouse presence is a nice bonus.
That is a nice low-risk pickup for the Royals.
It’s a good pickup for the royals, because, well, the rest of the roster.
But, the question becomes, is he worth a bench spot? If you don’t have a better 4th OFer sure. But on any team expecting to contend, it didn’t make a lot of sense, and, on teams not expecting to contend, they’re more focused on finding pieces with a long term future either as sticking with the team or bringing back prospects in a deadline move.
I liked JBJ as a player, but, his AAA batting just never translated over. He always hit well in the minors, and, depended on a hot streak to boost his season line.
Lately, those hot streaks that saved the numbers haven’t come around
Play him, if he looks good great trade piece. I think the royals are grabbing these guys to get some return. They have good players but can wait. The floor is super high on their guys in the minors. Regulars galore. Play jbj, get some value. Stock the system, trade for what you need for world series run 2025
If you’re really betting on JBJ hitting and getting a good return on a trade, I really don’t know what to tell you.
Isbel and Waters will still get virtually all the starts this season in Center. JBJ is going to be a fine temporary bench piece. With Waters being injured this is nothing more than a bandage to the banged up CF depth
Not for his bat but should a contender have a key July CF injury, he’s worth a shot simply for his defense. That said, he’d only bring back a half dozen baseballs.
I’m dreaming in optimism land. Maybe Tolbert shoots up to AAA because of the injuries and a nice spring. The radical change fuels his confidence and suddenly can get on base a bunch. Has an amazing career, just because of some injuries and thriving when he gets a shot. Go Royals!
Where defensive first light hitting outfielders go to retire
With MJ Melendez ticket for regular LF work JBJ could have a very good chance at making the Royals as a defensive replacement at the very least
I feel for Royals fans…. They’re already getting the Aroldis Chapman Experience since he showed up to ST and said his arms are numb or whatever because he fell. He also had a bruised lip….
and pitched pretty good yesterday
Steve Cohen Owns You
Aroldis will have a better year than Frankie Montas
Possibly not. Montas can’t hurt the Yankees on the IL, Chapman can absolutely hurt the Royals in close games.
He may play more games, but it doesn’t mean he will be better.
Bradley can’t hit, and his defense isn’t as great as it once was. But at a very low cost, why not?
Not bad at the minimum, late inning defensive replacement, or pinch runner.
This guy cannot hit. At all. Devastatingly horrible move by the Royals
Devastatingly? It’s a minors’ deal with an NRI. You’re not going to find better defense for that cost.
Old timer 78
Didn’t see what the $$$ will be if he makes the Club. Do I hear SHOWCASE??
Considerably more than a certain other Jackie Jr.’s
$100,000 Jackpot Wad, I suspect.
Thank you for that flashback, watching an episode now.
all in the suit that you wear
Who will sign Gary Sanchez to a minor league deal?
“An invitation to spring training” always sounds so nice and hospitable doesn’t it? “Come on down and we’ll prep the guest room.”
Good for him, such a nice guy. A stellar centerfielder !! It’s just too bad he can’t hit. I wish him good luck in KC
I don’t understand why KC would waste a spot on JBJ. Its not like they are lacking in leadership, nor have I ever heard JBJ being a clubhouse leader. A younger player could be getting those ABs.
First, it’s not wasting a spot since he’s not on the 40-man yet. Even if he makes it, who is the better defensive center fielder he’s blocking?
His fielding remains excellent but he’s a very streaky hitter. Loved him with the Red Sox. I hope things go well with ol’ JBJ and that his hitting picks up again. Hell, the Sox’s outfield may be so defensively challenged, they probably could have used him for late-inning play,
They will trade for him at the deadline !
Career earnings $49 million. Unbelievable.
For one of the best defensive outfielders of his generation? Over a 10 year career? That couldn’t hit? Probably about right.
He’s pretty much there to push the young guys and fill in. Nothing to lose…
I will never understand the JBJ for Renfroe trade.. not the prospects that’s for sure.
Great signing! I can’t believe he was available!With the bullshift being outlawed he will hit .250 and give elite defense!
The bullshift outlaw is going to help a lot of guys like!