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Brewers sign Jackie Bradley Jr., the top remaining MLB free agent on the market, per report

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The Milwaukee Brewers have agreed to terms with outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr. on a contract that could guarantee him $24 million over two years, according to Julian McWilliams of the Boston Globe. The second season is reportedly a player option, meaning Bradley Jr. will have the ability to elect for free agency again next winter.

Bradley Jr. entered the offseason ranked by CBS Sports as the 12th best free agent. Here’s what we wrote at the time:

Bradley Jr. isn’t a freaky-deaky athlete in the vein of, say, Kevin Kiermaier or Ramon Laureano. What he is, though, is one of the best defensive center fielders in the game. He darts into space as if he’s Mike Campbell, and he plays the position with an admirable precision — to the extent that his routes appear preprogrammed. Bradley Jr. isn’t a zero at the plate, either. The Red Sox allowed him to face more lefties the past two years, and he put up good numbers against them in 2020. (His next team will probably relegate him back to platoon status.) He’s good for double-digit homers and an OPS over .760 against righties. That’ll play just fine with his glove. 

Bradley Jr., 30, has batted .238/.324/.418 (95 OPS+) over the last three seasons. Publicly available defensive metrics aren’t particularly worth paying heed to, but Baseball Savant’s calculations have him saving 56 runs since the 2017 season. For reference, that ranks as the fourth-most in the majors, behind Ender Inciarte, Lorenzo Cain, and Nick Ahmed.

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Bradley Jr. and Cain, of course, are now teammates. The Brewers figure to run out a most-days outfield that includes those two and Christian Yelich. Milwaukee also has to figure out a role for Avisail Garcia, their big free-agent signing last winter who has reported to camp in much better shape this spring. 

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The Brewers had previously been connected to Justin Turner, among other free agents.


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