MLB Hot Stove Rumors: Will the Phillies Land Jackie Bradley Jr.?

The market for current free agent Jackie Bradley Jr. is beginning to heat up. On Tuesday, the Phillies emerged as potential suitor for Bradley. With the Phillies hiring Dave Dombrowski as president of baseball operations, will he make a splash and sign Bradley?

Last week, it was reported that the Red Sox were still in on the possibility of bringing Bradley back. The former All-Star and Gold Glove winner has been the Red Sox everyday center fielder since 2015. Bradley is a free agent for the first time in his career. Last season, Bradley hit .283 with seven home runs with 22 RBI’s. He had a slash line of .362/.450/.814 in 55 games. 

Courtesy of 973ESPN.com

Bradley’s agent Scott Boras has said the Red Sox and his client have had discussions about returning to Boston. “They’ve certainly expressed the interest,” Boras said during a Zoom media availability Tuesday. With the Phillies in need of an upgrade in center field and the arrival of Dombrowski adds a brand new dynamic to the mix for Bradley.

The Red Sox on Monday added outfielder Hunter Renfroe on a one-year deal. The right-handed power hitter gives Boston a some added pop off the bench and someone who can play all three outfield positions. The signing of Renfroe doesn’t close the door completely on Bradley but it raises more questions on whether he’ll want to return.

Financial Trouble in Philly?

The Phillies have been linked to Bradley in the past, including this past season at the trade deadline. The Red Sox decided not to trade Bradley and he became a free agent.

If the Phillies were to sign Bradley he would be an immediate improvement in center field. The Phillies have Roman Quinn and Adam Haseley running a platoon in center field. The addition of Bradley gives the Phillies one of the best defensive center fielders in the game and a much needed left-handed hitter in their lineup.

MLB Trade Rumors predicted that Bradley would land a two-year, $16 million deal this offseason. While that isn’t a lot of money for a player of his caliber, the Phillies are in a position where they may not have a lot of money to spend.

According to Rob Maadi of the Associated Press, he spoke to someone familiar with the Phillies financial situation. The team reportedly lost $145 million during the pandemic-shortened 2020 season. Despite the losses, Dombrowski has a roster to revamp and he needs to add significant Major League talent to Philadelphia.

The 64-year-old Dombrowski has always been known as an executive to spend money and trade prospects to assemble a team to win the World Series. Dombrowski did that while in Boston, trading away many minor leaguers to acquire Chris Sale and Craig Kimbrel as foundations to his pitching staff.

The Phillies are now a team that could make a splash out of nowhere under Dombrowski. While Bradley isn’t a major splash, he would be a great first signing under the new Phillies-Dombrowski partnership.

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