Roughly a week after the trade deadline has come and gone, the Blue Jays continue adding to their squad. Chris Costillo at MassLive.com and Zeke Telemco at WEEI reported that the Jays were close to signing Jackie Bradley Jr. to an MLB deal for the rest of the regular season. As I was writing this, the Blue Jays made the move official.
A former first-round pick of the Red Sox back in 2011, Bradley Jr. spent parts of eight seasons in Boston before signing with the Milwaukee Brewers during the 2020 offseason, a two-year deal worth $24 million. He spent one season with the Brew Crew before being traded back to Boston in a package deal that saw outfielder Hunter Renfroe come the other way. Jays fans might remember that the front office was close to trading Randal Grichuk to the Brewers in exchange for JBJ before he was shipped back to Boston. Grichuk would be traded after the lockout to the Colorado Rockies in exchange for Raimel Tapia and prospect Adrian Pinto.
The 2022 season has not been kind to Bradley Jr., as the lefty-batter owns a .210/.257/.321 slash line through 271 at-bats with a .578 OPS. He also has 22 extra-base hits on the year with 29 RBI and two stolen bases. Defensively, JBJ has spent most of the season in right field, where he has amassed a 7 bDRS while also having 170.2 innings in centre field with a -2 bDRS. He will likely slot into a bench role once he joins the squad.
The Blue Jays added some depth to their outfield in the form of former Boston Red Sox outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr., who joins on an MLB deal.
To make room for Bradley Jr. on the 40-man roster, right-hander Matt Peacock was designated for assignment and Otto Lopez was optioned back down to AAA, clearing a spot for JBJ on the active roster as well. The Blue Jays will now have five outfielders total on the roster, including Lourdes Gurriel Jr., Raimel Tapia, Teoscar Hernandez, and Bradley Zimmer with a sixth outfielder in George Springer currently on the IL with elbow inflammation. Whit Merrifield can also play centre field if needed as well as Cavan Biggio in the corners.
Ultimately, it seemed like Zimmer’s days with the Jays were numbered but the club decided to carry an additional outfielder on the roster, potentially signalling that Springer could be out for longer than anticipated. While there is no official word at this point regarding Springer, the Jays will run with five outfielders (and utility players Merrifield and Biggio) and may have to make a decision on whether to keep Zimmer or JBJ on the roster once Springer is healthy.