Red Sox news: Longtime fan-favorite set to retire after award-winning career

Boston fans never grew tired of the center fielder's tremendous defensive profile
Boston Red Sox v Chicago Cubs
Boston Red Sox v Chicago Cubs / Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/GettyImages

As Boston Red Sox fans reminisce about the good old days, the weekend news cycle brought another reminder of a franchise centerpiece.

Jackie Bradley Jr. spent 11 seasons in the majors, including nearly nine with the Red Sox. He provided the club with several enormous, jaw-dropping plays on defense, as well as a historic performance during the 2018 ALCS that earned him series MVP honors.

Recently, Jon Heyman of the New York Post reported that Bradley is planning to retire from baseball.

Jackie Bradley’s legacy with Red Sox

Bradley had a batting line of .236/.315/.404 with Boston, contributing 101 homers and 62 stolen bases while posting an 8.6 percent walk rate and 25.4 percent strikeout rate. He also averaged 9.2 dWAR over his eight full seasons as the club’s mainstay in center field.

The former first-round pick was an All-Star in 2016 and also won a Gold Glove Award in 2018. Many Red Sox fans believe he should (and would) have been selected for more Gold Glove honors if not for annual competition in the American League from Kevin Kiermaier and Kevin Pillar.

Of course, Bradley also has a World Series ring from his key role with the club in 2018.

After going on an offensive tear during the COVID-shortened 2020 season, Bradley hit free agency and signed with the Brewers, only to be traded back to Boston in the oft-criticized Hunter Renfroe trade one year later. He appeared in 92 more games during his final stint with the Red Sox before being released. He finished 2022 with the Blue Jays.

Where did Jackie Bradley play in 2023?

Looking to revitalize his career after playing for three teams in two seasons, Bradley signed a deal with the Royals in 2023. It was originally a minor league deal, but he impressed the team enough in Spring Training to earn a spot on the Opening Day roster. Quite simply, his elite defensive skills belonged in the majors.

However, Bradley went on to deliver his worst season at the plate, slashing .133/.188/.210 with five walks and 29 strikeouts through 43 games. The offensive shortfalls outweighed his exceptional performance on defense. He was released in June and spent the rest of the 2023 season as a free agent.

Red Sox Nation will always be grateful for Bradley’s heroics in center field at Fenway Park.