Blue Jays will sign Jackie Bradley Jr. – MLB Trade Rumors

Blue Jays will sign Jackie Bradley Jr.  - MLB Trade Rumors

14:55: The Blue Jays announced the signing, selecting utility player Otto Lopez to make room on the active roster and designating right-hander Matt Peacock for a job creating space on the 40-man. Peacock was claimed off waivers by the Royals in July and has pitched ten innings for the Jays this year with a 5.40 ERA.

2:20 p.m: The Blue Jays sign an outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr.reports WEEI’s Ezekiel Telemachus. MassLive’s Chris Cotillo confirmed the deal Twitter, reporting that it is a major league deal. The Blue Jays have a full 40-man roster, which means a corresponding move will be required.

Bradley, 32, was just released by the Red Sox last week and will now land with their division rivals in Toronto. The defensive specialist is having yet another down season at the plate, hitting .210/.257/.321 on the year. That production is 42% below league average, as measured by wRC+. The Red Sox let go of a rookie Jarren Duran take over the center field position in recent months, with Bradley kicked to a corner. He was further pushed out of the outfield mix when they acquired Tommy Pham at the deadline, leading to Bradley’s release.

Despite that red-hot offensive production, Bradley can still provide value with his glove. Defensive Runs Saved ranked him fifth on the year, down from last year’s 12 but still pretty good. Ultimate Zone Rating has him 4.9 on the campaign so far after 10.7 last year. Outs Above Average has already given him three on the year, after accumulating four last year. That puts him in the 84th percentile among outfielders across the league this season.

The Blue Jays just laid George Springer on the wounded list, but acquired Whit Merrifield at the deadline for some extra outfield depth. That gives them Merrifield’s current outfield rotation, Lourdes Gurriel Jr., Teoscar Hernandez, Raimel Tapia and Bradley Zimmer. It seems unlikely that Bradley would get regular playing time over those first four, given his struggles with the bat. Zimmer, however, has been used primarily as a defensive replacement and pinch runner, hitting a measly .107/.212/.240 when in the lineup this year for a wRC+ of just 28. Perhaps the Blue Jays view Bradley as a better option. for that defensive replacement and pinch runner position.

Bradley has shown more promise with the bat in the past, putting up a .283/.364/.450 batting line as recently as 2020, producing a wRC+ of 119 in the shortened season. It was on the heels of that strong campaign that the Brewers signed him to a two-year, $24MM deal. However, Bradley struggled in his first year out of Boston, hitting just .163/.236/.261. He was traded back to the Red Sox in the offseason, along with two prospects, while Hunter Renfroe went to Milwaukee. Even though Bradley wasn’t as bad as he was last year, it was still enough to get him released. The Red Sox will still be on the hook for most of his contract, with the Blue Jays only having to pay the prorated league minimum, which will be deducted from what Boston pays.

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