When Scott Boras views his client Jackie Bradley Jr.’s free agent prospects, the agent likens the longtime Red Sox center fielder to a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.
In classic Boras fashion, the agent who likes to deliver funny one-liners was creative in explaining how he’s selling Bradley Jr.’s talents to teams as the 30-year-old center fielder who spent his entire career with the Red Sox enters his first foray into free agency this winter.
“JBJ is kind of the PBJ of the major leagues,” Boras said Tuesday during his annual Winter Meetings availability, which was held virtual this year. “He’s sweet, smooth and he spreads it all over and covers it well.”
Boras was speaking about Bradley Jr.’s defensive exploits that have always been the strength of his game. But with Bradley coming off a career-best offensive season — though it happened during a pandemic-shortened season — in which he batted .283 with an .814 OPS over 55 games, Boras said teams have been intrigued by his performance at the plate, which has long been inconsistent.
“I think the idea of what Jackie does in a defensive runs saved environment has been quite popular,” Boras said. “I think the fact that he has really illustrated a dimension of a different approach, particularly going the other way and his OPS went well over .800. That seems to be very, very attractive to a lot of clubs. They’ve asked a lot of questions about it, what adjustments he’s made and so when you have a world champion, someone who’s done what Jackie’s done, being as young as he is and being as efficient as he is and a great teammate as he is. He’s received a lot of attention and we expect something very grand for him going forward.”
Bradley Jr. has reportedly received interest from multiple teams, including the Phillies, Cubs and Blue Jays. But a reunion with the Red Sox, who he was drafted by in 2011 and played eight seasons, is certainly still in the mix.
“Certainly we’ve had the discussions and they’ve certainly expressed the interest and let us know that he is a clear part of the Red Sox support hose, let’s put it that way,” Boras said. “So, we know that he’s had great success there, he’s a winning player and the Red Sox’ intentions are to advance their winning ways, certainly beyond what happened in 2020. Again, as with most free-agent players, we get notice of interest and then we’ll wait and see how the market unfolds moving forward.”
Red Sox General Manager Brian O’Halloran said last week that Bradley Jr. “is definitely on our radar.” Despite signing outfielder Hunter Renfroe on Monday, the Sox are still in need of an everyday center fielder, and Chaim Bloom said they’ll be looking to add this winter.
“I always talk about depth and it’s so important,” Bloom said Monday. “But I do think we still have room to add without straining our roster. The good thing is we have a number of outfielders who are all good enough athletes to play center field but we also still have room to augment that with a center fielder or a corner outfielder. So we have options and different paths we can take, but it would be nice to be able to continue to increase our depth as we go forward.”