Brewers GM David Stearns made another late night splash in the free agent market.
First reported by Julian McWilliams, and then confirmed by Jeff Passan, the Brewers are adding another Gold Glove outfielder to the mix, signing Jackie Bradley Jr to a two-year deal worth $24 million that includes a player option for 2022.
After a strong run in Boston, Bradley Jr is coming to a team that has seemingly not enough places for him to play everyday. The Brewers now have $53.5 million committed to their outfield in 2021, and have four capable everyday outfielders to play three spots.
Over a week ago, FanSided’s Robert Murray was the first to report that the Brewers were in the mix for Bradley.
The Brewers added another Gold Glove winning outfielder to the fold. Jackie Bradley Jr is reportedly in agreement on a two-year $24 million deal.
Jackie Bradley Jr brings elite defense to Milwaukee, and a solid offensive contribution. Since 2017, when Outs Above Average (OAA) was first tracked, the lowest percentile Bradley Jr has been in was the 92nd percentile.
Offensively Bradley Jr will be a solid contributor who fits the Brewers tendencies quite well. He hits the ball hard, strikes out a lot, and is a left-handed hitter, which will play well in American Family Field.
While in Boston, Bradley Jr spent a majority of his time in the bottom of the batting order, and given his career OBP of .321, he likely will not be competing with Lorenzo Cain or Kolten Wong for the leadoff spot in the lineup.
The signing of Bradley Jr does raise some questions for the future of the outfield. Avisail Garcia is under contract for this season with a team option for 2022, and Lorenzo Cain is under contract for the next two seasons. It appears unlikely that Bradley Jr would have signed anywhere that would not give a player of his defensive prowess the ability to play.
Does that mean Cain and Garcia are on the trading block? With David Stearns at the helm, it is tough to say. Cain turning 35 next month, and may get more days off than before. However, the Brewers appear to be working under the impression it is better to have too many talented players than too few.
The exact breakdown of the deal is unknown, it may be a deal similar in structure to deals signed by Yasmani Grandal or Mike Moustakas, where it acts as a one year deal, and there is a buyout of the option that is used to spread the salary across more than one year.
But regardless, the Brewers have made another move, further beefed up their defense, and have taken another step towards securing the NL Central.