Brewers #2 Move That Didn’t Work Out in 2021: Signing Jackie Bradley Jr
Of all the moves on this list, bringing in a free agent outfielder in Jackie Bradley Jr easily came with the highest expectations. You had a player coming off one of the best offensive seasons of his career with Gold Glove and postseason pedigree.
The move may have felt extraneous to some, but Stearns has always loved having a surplus of outfielders on his teams. Plus, no one knew how many games players like Christian Yelich and Lorenzo Cain might miss coming off a shortened season in 2020.
As it turned out, Bradley Jr got plenty of run with the Brewers in 2021, playing in 134 games for the Crew last season. As it also turned out, he basically ended up in a season-long slump for all 134 of those games.
Bradley Jr went from one of the best offensive seasons of his career to the worst one. He batted a paltry .163 last season with a miniscule .497 OPS to go along with it. His ratio of 132 strikeouts to 28 walks was a ratio you’d much rather see out of one of your pitchers.
Luckily, Bradley Jr’s stellar defense didn’t go the way of his offense. It was much needed during the games that Cain missed while on the injured list, and even though he only started 99 games, it still made him a finalist for the NL Gold Glove award at center field.
In the end, the Jackie Bradley Jr experience may end up paying dividends for Milwaukee. Right before this offseason’s MLB lockout began, the Brewers swung a last second trade with the Red Sox, shipping out Bradley Jr and two prospects for outfielder Hunter Renfroe.
No, the signing of Bradley Jr may not have worked out quite as planned, but at least it has a chance of paying off for the Brewers down the road.