Brewers' Updated Lineup After Jackie Bradley Jr.'s Reported Contract

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistMarch 4, 2021

Boston Red Sox's Jackie Bradley Jr. celebrates as he runs the third base line before scoring on the Atlanta Braves during a baseball game Friday, Sept. 25, 2020, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Amis)
John Amis/Associated Press

The Milwaukee Brewers reportedly upgraded their outfield Thursday with the addition of former Boston Red Sox center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr.

ESPN reported it's a two-year, $24 million contract with a player option after the 2021 MLB season.

Here's a look at the Brewers' projected lineup after the free-agent signing:

  • 1. Kolten Wong (2B)
  • 2. Lorenzo Cain (RF)
  • 3. Christian Yelich (LF)
  • 4. Keston Hiura (1B)
  • 5. Jackie Bradley Jr. (CF)
  • 6. Travis Shaw (3B)
  • 7. Orlando Arcia (SS)
  • 8. Omar Narvaez (C)

Bradley was one of the league's best defensive center fielders across his eight years with the Red Sox. He recorded 48 defensive runs saved over that span, which ranked third behind his new teammate Cain (99) and Billy Hamilton (75), according to FanGraphs.

His performance at the plate has been a little more inconsistent. His best offensive season with Boston came in 2016, when he posted career highs in both OPS (.835) and home runs (26).

He's coming off a solid showing during the coronavirus pandemic-shortened 2020 campaign, during which he compiled a career-best .283 batting average with seven homers and seven stolen bases in 55 games.

Bradley is one of the last high-profile free agents to sign a contract, but the 2016 All-Star told Julian McWilliams of the Boston Globe in late December he was content waiting at home with his newborn child until the right offer came along.

"Writers, players, whoever it may be—owners—kind of knew it was going to be a slow offseason," he said. "I feel like everybody is kind of trying to get more information about what's going to go on with the pandemic. Making sure that everybody's protected in a certain way. So we...forecast the flow, but it'll pick up when it does."

The Brewers are expected to find themselves in a hotly contested four-team race atop the NL Central alongside the Chicago Cubs, Cincinnati Reds and St. Louis Cardinals. It could contend with the NL East for the most competitive division in baseball this year.

Adding Bradley this late in the process is a nice coup by Milwaukee, and it may prove crucial in the team's hunt for a playoff berth if he can find success at the plate like he did in 2016 and 2020.

It's unclear when he will make his spring training debut for the Brew Crew, but he shouldn't have much trouble getting up to full speed before their Opening Day clash with the Minnesota Twins on April 1.