David Stearns is always reminding people the roster is never really finalized, and we’re waking up to a pretty good example of that this morning.
Jeff Passan of ESPN was among those to report in the early-morning hours that the Brewers have agreed to a two-year, $24 million deal that may effectively be a one-year deal, since Bradley can opt out after this season.
Center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. plans to sign a two-year, $24 million deal with the Milwaukee Brewers that includes an opt-out after the first year, a source familiar with the contract tells ESPN. First with the news: @byJulianMack.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) March 4, 2021
The Brewers’ interest in Bradley was first reported last week, and this time, it looks like that interest actually turned into a signing.
The Brewers have long been looking for fourth outfielder options, and Bradley fills a need in that he’s a very good defensive outfield who also happens to bat left-handed, giving Craig Counsell plenty of lineup flexibility.
With Bradley in the fold, Counsell can feel better about giving Lorenzo Cain more frequent days off, spelling Christian Yelich without having to play someone like Ben Gamel in a corner, or maybe even toy with the idea of a soft platoon with Avisail Garcia (Bradley has the slightly higher career OPS against righties, with a little more pop and the higher OBP despite trailing Garcia about about 20 points in batting average against RHP).
Whatever the role, the money they were willing to pay him means the ABs and innings in the outfield will be there. Counsell and the Brewers have repeatedly shown that there are more than enough at-bats to go around for four outfielders, so no, they do not have “too many” now.
Depth is going to be king in 2021 as everyone tries to adjust to a (hopefully) full season, and the Brewers just added another very good piece.