The Phillies reportedly have interest in center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr.
The Philadelphia Phillies are reportedly eyeing a starting center fielder for the 2021 season that does not include current players within their organization who play the position, such as Adam Haseley, Roman Quinn, or Odubel Herrera.
The Phillies — along with the Chicago Cubs and Toronto Blue Jays — are among the known teams to have interest in free-agent Jackie Bradley Jr., according to Jon Morosi, who said Tuesday morning on MLB Network that the interest in him is “very broad across the major leagues.”
Bradley Jr., 30, is coming off a 2020 season in which he posted his best OPS+, 118, since his 2016 All-Star season, notes Morosi, who predicted on MLB Network that the eight-year veteran will sign with Philadelphia this offseason. If Morosi’s prediction comes true, the longtime Red Sox outfielder would reunite with new Phillies president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski, who most recently led the Boston front office from August 2015 to September 2019.
“If I had to guess one place — Philadelphia,” Morosi said. “Dave Dombrowski knows what Bradley Jr. can do. Of course, they won a championship together just two short years ago in Boston.”
Morosi noted that the Red Sox likely would not be in the running to try to re-sign Bradley Jr., as they recently signed outfielder Hunter Renfroe to a one-year contract. Plus, Red Sox president Chaim Bloom said earlier this week that Alex Verdugo would most likely be team’s starting center fielder, if the season were to start today. Andrew Benintendi is also in the mix to log innings at the position for the Red Sox.
“When you consider what Bradley Jr. does defensively, on top of a very solid offensive year for him in 2020, I think the interest in Bradley Jr. is broad,” Morosi added. “And yet, you consider where the Red Sox are now, having reached an agreement with Renfroe on a one-year deal. If they are going to play either Verdugo or potentially Benitendi in center field, I do think the Renfroe news yesterday with the Red Sox diminishes a little bit the chances of Bradley Jr. going back to Boston.”
The Phillies having interest in Bradley Jr. is encouraging news. The Richmond, Virginia, native slashed a career-best .283/.364/.450 this past season with 11 doubles, seven home runs, and 22 RBI. While at center field, he did not commit a single error spanning 471 innings and 123 chances.
Bradley Jr. earned a Gold Glove Award in 2018, the same year he and Dombrowski won a World Series championship in Boston. During that year’s ALCS, Bradley Jr. was named the MVP after slugging a double, two home runs, nine RBI, and four walks spanning 15 plate appearances.
Now, he and Dombrowski could soon reunite in Philadelphia, just more than two years later.