Red Sox

Is Jackie Bradley Jr. still in play for Red Sox after this report?

Red Sox

The Boston Red Sox have insisted they're open to re-upping with center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. in free agency.

If that's the case, they may have to keep him around for a while.

Bradley has been seeking a "significant" contract in free agency, "perhaps beyond four years," the New York Post's Mike Puma reported Wednesday.

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A short-term deal for Bradley would make sense for Boston. He turns 31 in April but posted a career-best .283 batting average in 2020 and is an elite defensive center fielder who could hold things down at the position while center field prospect Jarren Duran develops.

But a "significant" deal that would pay Bradley until he's 35 may not be what Chaim Bloom is looking for. The Red Sox' chief baseball officer signed position players like Kike Hernandez and Hunter Renfroe to short-term deals this offseason as he eyes a long-term rebuild and tries to keep the team under the $210 million luxury tax.

The Boston Globe's Alex Speier and ESPN's Buster Olney both reported last week that Bradley is unlikely to re-sign with Boston, with Speier noting that Alex Verdugo could assume Bradley's post in center field.

Considering Bradley has interest elsewhere -- the New York Mets and San Francisco Giants both have been linked to the veteran outfielder -- it appears he may find the contract he seeks beyond the confines of Fenway Park.