Kansas City Royals: Jackie Bradley Jr. makes perfect sense

ATLANTA, GA - SEPTEMBER 27: Jackie Bradley Jr. #19 of the Boston Red Sox in action during a game against the Atlanta Braves at Truist Park on September 27, 2020 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GA - SEPTEMBER 27: Jackie Bradley Jr. #19 of the Boston Red Sox in action during a game against the Atlanta Braves at Truist Park on September 27, 2020 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images) /
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According to reports, one team in the American League Central is strongly interested in Jackie Bradley Jr. The Kansas City Royals make perfect sense.

During the Kansas City Royals heyday in the mid 2010s, their team was built around three concepts. They had an impressive bullpen, the ability to put the ball into play consistently, and incredible defense. That formula led the Royals to consecutive World Series appearances, culminating with their title in 2015.

As the Royals look to return to glory once more, it would not be a surprise if they sought to return to that strategy. The Royals had somewhat gone away from their identity in recent years, seeing a decrease in contact as they chased an improvement in the power department. There have been indications that the front office is aware of these issues, as they are reportedly looking to find players that can actually get on base.

While there are several players in free agency that could fit the bill, there is one player in particular who seems destined to be a target for the Royals. Jackie Bradley Jr. is making his first foray into free agency, although the Red Sox are potentially looking towards a reunion. There is also reportedly an unnamed team in the AL Central that is strongly interested in Bradley’s services.

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Bradley had one of his best seasons with the bat in 2020. In his 217 plate appearances, he posted a .283/.364/.450 batting line, hitting seven homers and 11 doubles. Although he has a lifetime OPS+ of 94, Bradley has been a respectable power source who can steal a base and get on base at a solid clip.

Despite having won just one Gold Glove award, he has been consistently regarded as one of the better defensive center fielders in the game. Defensive metrics are not as bullish on his defensive prowess, as he is considered to have cost the Red Sox three runs over eight seasons in center, although the bulk of that damage was done in 2019.

Nonetheless, Bradley could be the second best center fielder in free agency. He has displayed some competence at the plate at various points in his career, and remains a top defensive player. His ability to get on base and decent pop make him an intriguing option.

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The Kansas City Royals and Jackie Bradley Jr. have seemingly been a match for years. This offseason may be the time that pairing happens.