Former Red Sox World Series champion skirts retirement, lands with Long Island Ducks

New York Yankees v Boston Red Sox
New York Yankees v Boston Red Sox / Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/GettyImages

At the end of the 2023 MLB season, Jackie Bradley Jr. floated the possibility of retirement. He changed his mind.

The former Boston Red Sox outfielder and 2018 World Series champion has signed with the Long Island Ducks, a minor-league team in the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball. ALPB is a partner of MLB and the league plays in the mid-Atlantic region to the southern US, and the league has become associated with former major leaguers trying to make their way back to the MLB level.

Bradley Jr. has 11 years of MLB service time under his belt, he's won a Gold Glove, and earned an All-Star appearance in addition to his World Series title. He played for the Red Sox from 2013-2020 and returned for the beginning half of the 2022 campaign.

He spent half of the 2023 season with the Kansas City Royals. After limited success with the club — he batted .133/.188/.210 in 113 plate appearances — he was designated for assignment, then waived.

Former Red Sox World Series champion Jackie Bradley Jr. has signed with the Long Island Ducks

Bradley Jr. is most well-known for his exceptional defense, and the Red Sox's defense hasn't been the same without JBJ in the pastures. Over his 11-year career, he's collected 78 defensive runs saved and 62 outs above average, which places him in the top 10 outfielders from his debut in 2013 to now.

Bradley Jr. was a member of the iconic Red Sox outfield squad that also consisted of Mookie Betts and Andrew Benintendi. The three were known for their playmaking ability, but also their good vibes and friendship. The "win, dance, repeat" celebration that they created still holds fond memories for Red Sox fans everywhere.

The Red Sox's newest defensive powerhouse, Ceddanne Rafaela, has already earned himself comparisons to Bradley Jr., and good defenders will continue to be compared to him for years to come. The league is better with players like JBJ making game-saving plays in center field, and hopefully his journey back to the majors ends well for him.

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