In the lead up to Monday night’s deadline for teams to tender contracts to their arbitration-eligible players, there were only a few questions for the Red Sox to deal with. One of those was Sandy León, who was traded in the morning to Cleveland in exchange for minor-league pitcher Adenys Bautista. As we mentioned in the linked post, the return was sort of beyond the point here as they were certainly going to non-tender their backup catcher.
Over the last 24 hours there has been increasing speculation that the Red Sox may non-tender Jackie Bradley Jr. at the deadline. The center fielder is projected by MLB Trade Rumors to make an even $11 million in 2019. That’s not an insignificant amount of money, but it would be surprising for a contending team to let a league-average player at a premium position walk for nothing at that salary. According to Alex Speier, they are indeed not going to let that happen.
The deadline to tender contracts to arbitration-eligible players is tonight. There’d been some question among MLB teams about whether the Red Sox might non-tender Jackie Bradley Jr. That’s not going to happen: Per source, the Red Sox are tendering a 2020 contract to Bradley.— Alex Speier (@alexspeier) December 2, 2019
Like I said, it just never really made sense to me that they’d let Bradley walk over such a reasonable amount of money. Even if the Red Sox don’t want to spend that much money, I find it hard to believe there is no team in baseball who would value him at that price. This is particularly true given the relative lack of outfield options on the market, particularly those who play center field.
All of this is to say I am not surprised they are tendering a contract and also that this does not mean Bradley is a shoo-in to be on the roster when camp breaks. We all know about the self-imposed payroll limitations, and Bradley always made sense as a guy who could potentially alleviate some of that financial “stress.” I would strongly suspect they will see what the trade market is for Bradley between now and Opening Day. Whether or not he definitely gets traded is certainly up in the air, but it’d be surprising if they didn’t at least look into it.
One thing we do know is that Bradley will not be hitting the open market, though that always seemed to be unlikely.