Theo Epstein drafted him and last week it was reported Jackie Bradley Jr. was one of several possibilities the Cubs were checking on for a centerfielder. Bradley Jr. is known as an exceptional defensive outfielder. And many teams think he will eventually hit enough in the majors to keep him in the lineup on a daily basis.
According to Nick Cafardo, the Cubs are one of four teams that expressed interest in trading for Bradley Jr. along with the Mariners, Royals and Mets. The Nationals could also have interest as Cafardo indicated Bradley Jr. “has been coveted by at least four teams.”
While addressing the Craig Kimbrel deal with the Boston media, Dave Dombrowski said “he thinks the Sox are out of the major trade business for now.” Add in the fact Dombrowski “loves Bradley’s defense and has never wanted to deal him” and Cafardo doesn’t think Bradley Jr. will be moved this winter.
The Red Sox thought Bradley Jr. might have been needed in a deal to acquire a top reliever. And the talks with the Reds for Aroldis Chapman included Bradley Jr.
According to general managers Cafardo talked to about Jackie Bradley Jr. he is “one of the most coveted outfielders this off-season” because of his “low-cost, his elite defense and his emerging offense.”
Brett Gardner is a big name that could be acquired in the right deal. The mainstream media has linked Gardner to the Cubs as a possibility to fill the need for a centerfielder and leadoff hitter.
According to Nick Cafardo, Gardner’s name “was prevalent at the meetings for teams thinking centerfielder/left fielder/leadoff man.” Cafardo added there would be a fit with the Nationals, Mariners, Mets, Padres, Giants and Royals with the Yankees for Gardner.
Gardner may not be a fit for the Cubs for more than one reason. Gardner’s days as an everyday centerfielder may be behind him plus the Yankees “would want a front-line” starting pitcher in return for Gardner.
The Cubs are trying to add pitching not trade what they have in order to acquire a rather expensive veteran outfielder.
Red Sox and Free Agent Starters
As has been the case every winter since 2011, the Cubs and Red Sox are interested in acquiring the same players, either via trade or free agents.
The Cubs reportedly have David Price, Zack Greinke, Jordan Zimmermann and Jeff Samardzija at the top of their free agent pitching list. The Cubs could have enough room in the budget to sign either Price or Greinke in order to add a true Ace to the starting staff. The front office tried to trade for Zimmermann last year and he is reportedly interested in signing with the Cubs. And there is some level of mutual interest in a reunion with Samardzija.
The Red Sox are now looking to sign a free agent starter. Price, Zimmermann and Samardzija, along with Johnny Cueto, are “very much in play.” By signing one of the free agent starters, Dave Dombrowski would not have to unload any more players from his farm system. The Red Sox paid a rather big price to acquire Craig Kimbrel. Some of those prospects could have used to help acquire a top of the rotation starter.