Red Sox News: Boston doesn’t give qualifying offer to Jackie Bradley Jr.

BOSTON, MA - SEPTEMBER 24: Jackie Bradley Jr. #19 of the Boston Red Sox exits the tunnel after a game against the Baltimore Orioles on September 24, 2020 at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts. The 2020 season had been postponed since March due to the COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo by Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - SEPTEMBER 24: Jackie Bradley Jr. #19 of the Boston Red Sox exits the tunnel after a game against the Baltimore Orioles on September 24, 2020 at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts. The 2020 season had been postponed since March due to the COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo by Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images) /
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Red Sox don’t give a qualifying offer to Jackie Bradley Jr.

We’re a few hours into free agency now and it’s just a matter of time before the dominoes begin to fall. As the deadline approached for teams to make their qualifying offers to players, Red Sox Nation waited to see what Boston would do with Jackie Bradley Jr.

Per Jon Heyman of MLB Network, only six players received qualifying offers and JBJ wasn’t one of them. In a move that wasn’t too surprising, the team chose to not give JBJ a qualifying offer for 2021 and the centerfielder will have his chance at free agency.

As I said, it shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone that follows this team that they didn’t give him an offer. Hell, Jackie has been in trade rumors any and every chance possible for the last handful of years. He made his debut with the Red Sox in 2013 and it wasn’t too long after that the whispers began to swirl about him being in trade talks. He even joked about it during the Winter Weekend ahead of the 2020 season that he’d already been traded numerous times during his time in Boston.

Today was a bit of a reality check though for those that follow the Red Sox. I think deep down we all knew that this was going to be Jackie’s final season with the team but now it feels like more of a reality. Now that the team hasn’t given him an offer he can hit the free-agent market free and clear this winter. Obviously, there’s always the chance that he could make his way back to Fenway Park this offseason on a new deal but with the way his career has gone, I don’t know if I’d want to if I were him.

This past season was the dictionary definition of an anomaly as it was something that strayed from the norm. Interestingly enough, JBJ’s stats were also a bit of an anomaly as he finished with a .283/.364/.450/.814/7/22 slash, which for the most part, was one of his best offensive seasons to date.

As far as his defense is concerned, Jackie did what he does best and had a Web Gem damn near every night this year. He picked one hell of a time to have a great year as he’s about to test the market in a weird year that could benefit him more than others.

Though Boston didn’t make a qualifying offer to JBJ, some of their rumored targets did receive offers from their current teams. Both Trevor Bauer and George Springer received offers from their squads and will now require a sweet deal from the Red Sox to move them to Beantown. Granted, both Bauer and Springer are worthy of the draft pick compensation and deals they’ll command, I just don’t know if Chaim Bloom will be willing to part with such a fee for either player.

Bauer has made it clear that he wants just one-year deals despite his management team giving a different message. As much as the Red Sox need some help in the starting rotation, I don’t know if Bloom will want to part with the draft pick if he can’t ensure that Bauer will be in Boston for the long haul.

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Springer, on the other hand, could be the solution for the Red Sox to not only ramp up their offense but also strengthen their outfield defense. I could see the team splashing the cash on him despite my dislike of the signing. We all know how FSG loves to hand out big deals when the fans lose interest and the team loses games. Not only could they get him long-term and the draft compensation would be justified, but they just got in the good graces of the CBT, and ol’ George could mess that up in a hurry.

On the other hand, I could see the budget-conscious Bloom wanting to stay clear of the mess he just fixed while still working to fix the issues of the 2020 squad. Now, there’s always the possibility that JBJ and the Sox could come to an agreement in free agency, but as I said, I just can’t see him wanting to come back. If the market isn’t quite as hot on him as it should be, then he may want to take a homecooked deal to come back to Boston, but I truly feel that there’s a team out there that will value Jackie to the level that he should be.

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With the Red Sox seemingly moving on from their dynamic centerfielder, they’ll need to replace him and in a hurry. It wasn’t long ago that they shipped off Mookie Betts, and now JBJ is likely heading for greener pastures. Boston’s once dominant outfield is a shell of itself and it’s up to Bloom to salvage what it once was. If this is it for Jackie Bradley in Boston, I just want to say thank you, as I can say without the shadow of a doubt that he’s the best Red Sox centerfielder that I’ve seen in my lifetime.