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Cubs, Phillies Interested In Jackie Bradley Jr.

Jackie Bradley Jr.’s market continues to percolate, as MLB.com’s Jon Paul Morosi tweets that the Cubs and Phillies are the latest teams to be linked to the free agent outfielder.

Bradley is a known quantity to Phillies president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski from their time together with the Red Sox, and Bradley would address a big need for the Phils in center field.  The tandem of Roman Quinn and Adam Haseley are penciled into the center field job at the moment, but installing an everyday veteran like Bradley would both solidify the position and provide a big defensive upgrade.  Bradley’s left-handed bat would also be useful in a Philadelphia lineup that leans to the right.

Ian Happ provided both strong offense and some decently respectable (+1 Outs Above Average, -2 Defensive Runs Saved, -1.6 UZR/150) glovework as the Cubs’ regular center fielder in 2020, but Bradley obviously offers a lot more defensive value up the middle.  Now that Kyle Schwarber has been non-tendered, Happ could easily be shifted over to left field to accommodate Bradley in center.  Given the number of former Red Sox personnel within the Cubs organization, Bradley would also find a lot of familiar faces in Wrigleyville — to name two, manager David Ross and assistant general manager Craig Breslow were both former teammates in Boston.

Beyond Philadelphia and Chicago, four other clubs (the Blue Jays, Red Sox, Astros, and an unknown AL Central team) have also reportedly shown interest in Bradley’s services at various points in the offseason.  Toronto has also been heavily linked to George Springer, while the Astros haven’t yet ruled out a reunion with Springer, and the Red Sox and Phillies could also potentially be in the mix, though it isn’t yet clear how much money either of those teams are willing to spend this offseason.  Bradley could be seen as a “plan B” type of center field options for many Springer suitors, and he could be more of a primary target for a team like the Cubs that isn’t thought to have much payroll space available.  While not exactly an inexpensive sign, Bradley’s projected price tag could be as much as $100MM less than Springer’s next contract.

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