The addition of Jackie Bradley Jr. would fill a missing outfield spot for the Cubs.
The Chicago Cubs continue their search for a starting outfielder and are reportedly interested in free agent Jackie Bradley Jr. The team is in need of replacements following the non-tenders of Kyle Schwarber and Albert Almora.
For the first time this offseason, the team has been connected to a well-regarded outfielder on the free agent market in longtime Boston staple Jackie Bradley Jr.
Bradley would likely take over in center, sliding Ian Happ over to left while Jason Heyward remains in right field. As a member of the Red Sox, Bradley posted his best career batting average and on-base percentage last season, albeit in a small sample size.
Jackie Bradley Last Five Seasons:
- 2016: (156 games) .267 BA .349 OBP .486 SLG 26 HR 87 RBI (All-Star)
- 2017: (133 games) .245 BA .323 OBP .402 SLG 17 HR 63 RBI
- 2018: (144 games) .234 BA .314 OBP .413 SLG 13 HR 59 RBI (Gold Glove)
- 2019: (147 games) .225 BA .317 OBP .421 SLG 21 HR 62 RBI
- 2020: (55 games) .283 BA .364 OBP .450 SLG 7 HR 22 RBI
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Bradley has only stolen more than ten bases once (2018: 17 stolen bases) in his eight MLB seasons, but is considered to have above-average speed on the base paths. This signing likely wouldn’t fix the missing leadoff man the Cubs have been desperate for, but Bradley could still be a nice addition while hitting in the seventh or eighth spot. Not to mention the former Gold Glove winner would make an outfield of Happ-Bradley-Heyward one of the best in the league.
At 30 years old, Bradley still has enough upside to make me believe he would be a good fit with this Cub roster for a decent price. The former first-rounder certainly isn’t the best available outfielder, but he’s far from the worst.
There are also some close ties with the Cubs front office as well. Current President of Baseball Operations Jed Hoyer was an executive with the Red Sox when Bradley was drafted in the first round (40th pick) by Boston in 2011.
Given the current outfield free agent market, the reports linking the Cubs and Bradley are a bit surprising given what the team is projected to spend this offseason. The large uncertainty surrounding the upcoming MLB season in 2021 has affected how Hoyer and the Cubs will set a budget.
Bradley made $11 million last season (non-prorated) and will likely see a similar salary for 2021, perhaps on a multi-year deal. By cutting Schwarber and Almora, the Cubs will save roughly ~$10 million for what both players would have made in arbitration.
Like all rumors this could be some talk to stir-up the rest of the market. Still, it’s a bit of a relief to finally hear Chicago having an interest in a current free-agent.