Red Sox

Report: Astros covet Bradley Jr. as free-agent 'priority'

Red Sox

Jackie Bradley Jr. apparently left quite the impression on the Houston Astros during the 2018 American League Championship Series.

The Astros have made signing the free-agent outfielder a "priority" this offseason, The Athletic's Peter Gammons reported Friday, noting Houston is high on Bradley's character and defensive prowess.

The Red Sox reportedly have approached Bradley recently about signing a multi-year deal in Boston. He and the team didn't discuss a contract extension during the season, though, and the Red Sox' efforts might be too little too late if the Astros are serious about signing the 30-year-old.

Houston may have a need at Bradley's position, too: Center fielder George Springer rejected the Astros' $18.9 million qualifying offer Wednesday and officially is a free agent.

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Bradley certainly doesn't possess Springer's bat and is a lifetime .239 hitter prone to long cold streaks at the plate. He batted a career-high .283 during the shortened 2020 season, though, and the Astros are aware of his ceiling after he won 2018 ALCS MVP by driving in nine runs over five games.

So, might the Red Sox and Astros swap center fielders? Gammons recently floated the idea of Boston signing Springer, a Conn. native who grew up a Sox fan. He'd cost much more than Bradley, however, and turned 31 in September.