Red Sox acquire veteran outfielder Abraham Almonte from Brewers and assign him to Triple-A Worcester

The Red Sox have acquired veteran outfielder Abraham Almonte from the Brewers in exchange for cash considerations, per the club’s transactions log.

Almonte, 33, should provide the Sox with experienced outfield depth at Triple-A Worcester. The WooSox were likely in need of some outfield help anyway with Jaylin Davis, Jarren Duran, and Rob Refsnyder all currently up in Boston.

A veteran of nine major-league seasons who appeared in 64 games for the World Series champion Atlanta Braves in 2021, Almonte signed a minor-league contract with Milwaukee last October.

After failing to make the Brewers’ Opening Day roster out of spring training, Almonte began the 2022 season at Triple-A Nashville. In 48 games with the Sounds, the switch-handed hitter batted .294/.380/.533 to go along with 11 doubles, 11 home runs, 42 RBIs, 36 runs scored, one stolen base, 25 walks, and 48 strikeouts across 213 trips to the plate.

Listed at 5-foot-10 and 223 pounds, Almonte originally signed with the Yankees as an international free-agent coming out of the Dominican Republic in 2005. The Santo Domingo native broke in with the Mariners in 2013 and has since played for the the Padres, Guardians, Royals, Diamondbacks, and Braves.

At the big-league level, Almonte owns a career slash line of .234/.302/.374 with 23 home runs, 116 RBIs, and 26 stolen bases over 440 total games. Defensively, Almonte unsurprisingly has experience at all three outfield positions. The majority of his playing time in the majors has come in center, though he had only played the corners while in Nashville this season.

With the addition of Almonte, the WooSox now have five outfielders listed on their active roster. The Red Sox made a similar sort of move last season when they acquired Delino DeShields Jr. from the Rangers in exchange for cash considerations. DeShields Jr. appeared in 18 games for Worcester in August before being dealt to the Reds at the end of the month.

(Picture of Abraham Almonte: Adam Hunger/Getty Images)

Red Sox infield prospect David Hamilton shines in organizational debut with Double-A Portland

Red Sox infield prospect David Hamilton made quite the first impression in his organizational debut for Double-A Portland on Friday night.

Batting leadoff and starting at second base in Portland’s opener against the New Hampshire Fisher Cats at Hadlock Field, Hamilton went 4-for-5 with a triple, two home runs, seven RBIs, three runs scored, and one stolen base while leading the Sea Dogs to a commanding 11-6 victory.

Matched up against Fisher Cats starter Elvis Luciano to begin things on Friday, Hamilton got his productive night at the plate started by ripping a leadoff triple to right field and scoring on an RBI double off the bat of Izzy Wilson.

An inning later, Hamilton followed up a leadoff double from Kole Cottam by taking Luciano deep to right field for a two-run home run and his first big fly of the young season.

In the third, Hamilton came through with runners on second and third base and greeted new Fisher cats reliever Parker Caracci by lacing a run-scoring single to right field that plated Hudson Potts and gave the Sea Dogs a 7-1 lead.

After Tyreque Reed, Potts, and Cottam loaded the bases with two outs in the fourth, Hamilton took a 1-1 pitch from right-hander Joey Murray and proceeded to deposit a bases-clearing grand slam into Portland’s bullpen in right field.

Hamilton’s second homer of the contest put the Sea Dogs up 11-1. It was also the last time on the night Hamilton reached base, as he came up short of completing the cycle by flying out to right field in his final at-bat in the bottom of the sixth.

Hamilton, 24, comes into the 2022 season ranked by Baseball America as the No. 25 prospect in the Boston’s farm system. The Red Sox acquired Hamilton, fellow prospect Alex Binelas, and Jackie Bradley Jr. from the Brewers in the trade that sent Hunter Renfroe to Milwaukee last December.

A former eighth-round draft pick of the Brewers coming out of the University of Texas in 2019, Hamilton missed the entirety of the 2019 minor-league season while recovering from a ruptured Achilles and the entirety of the 2020 minor-league season due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The speedy left-handed hitter finally made his professional debut last year and impressed, slashing .258/.341/.419 (110 wRC+) with 48 extra-base hits (eight home runs), 43 RBIs, and 52 stolen bases across 101 games (459 plate appearances) between High-A Wisconsin and Double-A Biloxi. He also participated in the Arizona Fall League and posted a .916 OPS in 14 games (53 plate appearances) with the Salt River Rafters.

Defensively, Hamilton is well-regarded for his skills as a middle infielder. In 2021, the 6-foot, 175 pounder logged 746 2/3 innings at shortstop and 112 2/3 innings at second base. He figures to see time at both positions with Portland in 2022.

Hamilton, who turns 25 in September, can become eligible for the Rule 5 Draft for the first time in his career this December. The Red Sox would need to add the native Texan to their 40-man roster between now and late November if they wish to protect him from the Rule 5 Draft.

With that being said, the 2022 campaign should prove to be an important one for Hamilton. He certainly did not waste any time in getting things off to a hot start on Friday.

(Picture of David Hamilton: Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox infield prospect Alex Binelas has plenty of raw power

Alex Binelas enters his first season with the Red Sox as the organization’s No. 17 prospect, according to Baseball America’s rankings.

After being selected by the Brewers in the third round of last year’s draft out of the University of Louisville, Binelas’ time with his hometown team came to an abrupt end when he (and fellow prospect David Hamilton) was traded to the Red Sox alongside outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr. for Hunter Renfroe in early December.

It was a move that evoked plenty of emotion for Binelas, a Wisconsin native who grew up in the suburbs of Milwaukee and less than 20 miles away from American Family Field.

When he was taken by the Brewers last July, Binelas had just recently wrapped up his third and final season with Louisville. In 50 games with the Cardinals, the 21-year-old junior slashed .256/.348/.621 with 19 home runs and 63 RBIs across 230 trips to the plate.

Regarded by Baseball America as the 77th-ranked draft-eligible prospect in the 2021 class, Binelas signed with Milwaukee for $700,000 and was assigned to the rookie-level Arizona Complex League Brewers Gold out of the gate. It took all of seven games for the left-handed hitting infielder to earn a promotion to Low-A Carolina on August 16.

Spending the rest of his debut season with the Mudcats, Binelas batted a stout .314/.379/.636 to go along with 11 doubles, nine homers, 27 RBIs, 29 runs scored, 12 walks, and 33 strikeouts over 29 games spanning 132 plate appearances.

Among all Low-A East hitters who made at least 130 trips to the plate in 2021, Binelas ranked ninth in batting average, 35th in on-base percentage, fourth in slugging percentage, fifth in OPS (1.014), third in isolated power (.322), and fifth in wRC+ (163), per FanGraphs.

Defensively, Binelas saw time at both corner infield positions in his first exposure to pro ball, as was the case throughout his college career. With Carolina in particular, the 6-foot-3, 225 pounder logged a total of 42 2/3 innings at first base and 167 innings at the hot corner.

Since he was unaffected by this off-season’s lockout, Binelas was one of several Red Sox minor-leaguers who participated in the team’s Winter Warm-Up program back in January. Spring training began shortly thereafter, allowing Binelas to see some action in one Grapefruit League game thus far.

Two days before making his Grapefruit League debut this past Thursday, Binelas was identified by Baseball America’s Geoff Pontes as one of the top raw power prospects in the game since he hit the ball hard and far on a consistent basis last year.

Binelas, who turns 22 in May, is projected by SoxProspects.com to make the jump to High-A Greenville for the start of the 2022 campaign. His first full season as a professional should be one worth watching.

What do the Red Sox have in infield prospect David Hamilton?

Red Sox infield prospect David Hamilton returned to his alma mater and played in the University of Texas’ alumni game over the weekend. He went 2-for-3 with an RBI and two runs scored on Saturday while propelling the Texas Exes to an 8-6 victory in Austin.

Hamilton, 24, was one of two prospects the Red Sox acquired from the Brewers in the shocking trade that sent Hunter Renfroe to Milwaukee and Jackie Bradley Jr. back to Boston in December.

Along with fellow infielder Alex Binelas, Hamilton led the Sox to believe that they were adding a pair of intriguing minor-leaguers who had plenty to offer to their new organization.

“David Hamilton has premium speed and he’s a really good middle infielder,” chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom said said at the time the trade was made. “Plays a good shortstop. Interesting trajectory. High-touted high school player who went to the University of Texas. Had a tough injury and recovered from it, and kept his speed. He has great speed and athleticism and is a very exciting player to add to our system.”

Originally selected by the Brewers in the eighth round of the 2019 amateur draft out of Texas, Hamilton entered the professional ranks having missed the entirety of his junior season due to a ruptured Achilles suffered in a scooter accident earlier that year.

The former Longhorn missed the remainder of the 2019 season while recovering from that Achilles injury, then fell victim to the fact that the 2020 minor-league season was ultimately cancelled because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Although Hamilton was unable to play affiliated ball in 2020, he did spend time with a team in the independent Constellation Energy League that was coached by Roger Clemens. He was able to use his experience there to impress at the Brewers’ fall instructional league and gain momentum heading into 2021.

After breaking minor-league camp with the High-A Wisconsin Timber Rattlers in the spring, Hamilton made his long-awaited pro debut on May 4. From there, the left-handed hitter batted .263/.351/.422 (114 wRC+) with 14 doubles, seven triples, five home runs, 31 RBIs, 50 runs scored, 41 stolen bases, 35 walks, and 58 strikeouts over 68 games (309 plate appearances) for the Timber Rattlers.

On August 3, the Brewers promoted Hamilton to Double-A Biloxi. With the Shuckers, the speedy middle infielder slashed .248/.322/.414 (104 wRC+) to go along with five doubles, four triples, three homers, 12 RBIs, 16 runs scored, 11 stolen bases, 15 walks, and 32 strikeouts across 33 games spanning 150 trips to the plate.

Among all qualified minor-league hitters last season, Hamilton ranked fifth in total triples (11), sixth in total stolen bases (52), 25th in speed score (8.9), and seventh in weighted stolen base runs (5.8), per FanGraphs.

Upon completing the conventional minor-league season with Biloxi, Hamilton headed out west to suit up for the Salt River Rafters of the Arizona Fall League, where he hit an impressive .293/.453/.463 in 14 games while swiping four additional bags.

Defensively, Hamilton was drafted and signed out of Texas as a shortstop. Last year, however, the 5-foot-10, 175 pounder saw time at both shortstop and second base. He logged 112 2/3 innings at second and a much more substantial 746 2/3 innings at short between High-A and Double-A before logging 59 innings at second and 38 innings at short in Arizona.

A native of San Marcos, Hamilton was regarded by Baseball America as the No. 15 prospect in Milwaukee’s farm system at the time the Red Sox acquired him from the Brewers. He, like Binelas, was one of 28 minor-leaguers who participated in the Sox’ Winter Warm-Up program in Fort Myers last month.

The weeklong minicamp gave Red Sox brass an opportunity to see Binelas and Hamilton in-person for the first time, and it is safe to say they liked what they saw from both prospects and are excited about what is to come.

“I think somewhat different dynamic between Hamilton — more of a speed guy, more of a middle infield threat — “whereas Binelas is more of a power-orientated corner bat,” said director of player development Brian Abraham. “But I think from the short time we’ve seen them, the physicality we’ve seen even out of both them has been exciting to see. They seem like great kids and very excited about coming here to camp.”

As for Hamilton, who does not turn 25 until September, he is projected by SoxProspects.com to begin the 2022 minor-league season with Double-A Portland.

With the Sea Dogs, it seems likely that Hamilton will be used in a variety of ways around the infield since the Red Sox view him as a versatile player. That being said, the speedster can become eligible for the Rule 5 Draft for the first time in his career later this year, so he would need to be added to Boston’s 40-man roster by the November deadline if the club wants to prevent that from happening.

(Picture of David Hamilton via his Instagram)

Red Sox add intriguing infield prospects Alex Binelas, David Hamilton in trade with Brewers: ‘We’re excited about the minor-league players that we got,’ Chaim Bloom says

The Red Sox may have traded Hunter Renfroe for Jackie Bradley Jr. on Wednesday night, but they did so while also acquiring two intriguing prospects from the Brewers.

As highlighted by MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo, the Sox basically dealt Renfroe and took on Bradley Jr.’s $9.5 million salary for 2022 (plus an $8 million buyout in 2023) in order to add infield prospects Alex Binelas and David Hamilton.

“Having two premium defensive center fielders is a huge boost to our roster,” Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom said Wednesday. “And we’re also excited about the minor-league players that we got. So we felt like this was something that made sense for us right now and also had a chance to pay dividends down the road.”

Binelas was recently selected by the Brewers in the third round of the 2021 amateur draft out of the University of Louisville, where he belted 19 home runs and posted a .968 OPS in his final season with the Cardinals.

Going into this summer’s draft, Binelas was ranked by Baseball America as the No. 76 draft-eligible prospect and was assigned to Milwaukee’s Arizona Complex League affiliate upon signing with the organization for $700,000.

After just seven games in the rookie-level complex league, Binelas was promoted to Low-A Carolina on August 16. In 29 games with the Mudcats to close out the year, the left-handed hitter slashed .314/.379/.636 (163 wRC+) with 11 doubles, nine home runs, 27 RBIs, 29 runs scored, 12 walks, and 33 strikeouts over 132 plate appearances.

Among hitters who accrued at least 130 plate appearances in the Low-A East this season, Binelas ranked fifth in OPS (1.014), third in isolated power (.322), and fifth in wRC+, per FanGraphs.

Listed at 6-foot-3 and 225 pounds, the 21-year-old is capable of playing both corner infield positions. At the midway point of the 2021 season, he was regarded by Baseball America as the 20th-ranked prospect in Milwaukee’s farm system.

“A left-handed hitter with power,” Bloom said of Binelas. “He plays both infield corners. But the bat is really his calling card. A good hitter with really special power. Obviously it’s just early in his professional journey but he had a tremendous debut and really showed a lot in his acclimation to pro ball. A really nice power left-handed bat to bring into the system.”

Hamilton, on the other hand, was selected by the Brewers in the eighth round of the 2019 amateur draft out of the University of Texas at Austin despite suffering a ruptured Achilles in a scooter accident that resulted in him missing the entirety of the 2019 season at both the college and pro levels.

With the 2020 minor-league season being cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Hamilton did not make his professional debut as a member of the Brewers organization until this spring.

The 24-year-old, who is also a left-handed hitter split the 2021 season between High-A Carolina and Double-A Biloxi. He batted .258/.341/.419 (110 wRC+) with 19 doubles, 11 triples, eight homers, 43 RBIs, 66 runs, 52 stolen bases, 50 walks, and 90 strikeouts in 101 games spanning 459 total plate appearances.

Formerly regarded by Baseball America as the No. 15 prospect in Milwaukee’s farm system, Hamilton just wrapped up a solid campaign in the Arizona Fall League by slashing .293/.453/.463 with three doubles, two triples, five RBIs, five runs scored, four stolen bases, 12 walks, and six strikeouts over 14 games (53 plate appearances) for Salt River.

Listed at 5-f00t-10 and 175 pounds, Hamilton is obviously well-regarded for his speed and athleticism, which were his carrying tools coming out of college. The middle infielder’s 52 stolen bases were the sixth-most in the minor-leagues this season.

“David Hamilton has premium speed and he’s a really good middle infielder,” Bloom said. “Plays a good shortstop. Interesting trajectory. Highly-touted high school player who went to the University of Texas. Had a tough injury and recovered from it, and kept his speed. He has great speed and athleticism and is a very exciting player to add to our system.”

Unlike Binelas, Hamilton can become eligible for the Rule 5 Draft for the first time in his career in 2022. The Red Sox will need to add the speedster to their 40-man roster by next November if they want to prevent that from happening.

(Picture of Alex Binelas: Michael Clevenger/Courier Journal via Imagn Content Services, LLC)

Red Sox trade Hunter Renfroe to Brewers for package including Jackie Bradley Jr.; Boston also acquires prospects Alex Binelas and David Hamilton in deal

In a stunning turn of events, the Red Sox have traded outfielder Hunter Renfroe to the Brewers for infield prospects Alex Binelas and David Hamilton and a familiar face in Jackie Bradley Jr, the club announced late Wednesday night.

Renfroe, who turns 29 next month, originally signed a one-year deal with the Sox shortly after being let go by the Rays last December.

In his debut season with Boston, the right-handed hitter slashed .259/.315/.501 with 33 doubles, 31 home runs, 96 RBIs, 89 runs scored, 44 walks, and 130 strikeouts over 144 games spanning 572 relief appearances.

While seeing the majority of his playing time come in right field, Renfroe finished the year tied with Rangers rookie Adolis Garcia for the most outfield assists in the American League (16), but also led all big-league outfielders in errors committed with 12.

Upon signing with the Sox last winter, Renfroe earned $3.1 million in what was his first season of arbitration eligibility. MLB Trade Rumors projected that the 28-year-old would receive $7.6 million in his second year of arbitration eligibility in 2022, which obviously represents a significant raise from the amount he earned in 2021.

Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom must have felt that this price was too steep to pay, leading the club to deal Renfroe to the Brewers for a pair of prospects and an established veteran such as Bradley Jr.

Regarding the two prospects Boston acquired from Milwaukee, Binelas and Hamilton were regarded by Baseball America as the No. 20 and No. 15 prospects in the Brewers’ farm system, respectively.

Binelas, 21, was selected by the Brewers in the third round of this summer’s amateur draft out of the University of Louisville.

A Wisconsin native, Binelas appeared in just seven Arizona Complex League games before earning a promotion to Low-A Carolina on August 16. He batted a stout .314/.379/.636 (136 wRC+) to go along with 11 doubles, nine home runs, 27 RBIs, 29 runs scored, 12 walks, and 33 strikeouts across 29 games (132 plate appearances) with the Mudcats.

Listed at 6-foot-3 and 225 pounds, the left-handed hitter can play both corner infield positions and well regarded for his power, as evidenced by his .322 ISO at Low-A this year.

Hamilton, 24, was also selected by Milwaukee in the eighth round of the 2019 amateur draft out of the University of Texas at Austin.

After not playing any affiliated baseball in 2019 and missing out on the 2020 season due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Hamilton made his professional debut for High-A Wisconsin this spring and ultimately made his way to Double-A Biloxi by early August.

In 33 games with the Shuckers, the left-handed hitting infielder produced a .248/.322/.414 slash line (104 wRC+) with five doubles, four triples, three homers, 12 RBIs, 16 runs, 11 stolen bases, 15 walks, and 32 strikeouts over 150 plate appearances while seeing playing time at second base and shortstop.

Unlike Binelas, Hamilton is not known for his power, but for his speed, as the 5-foot-10, 175 pounder has already stolen 52 bases through his first 101 games in the minor-leagues.

Neither Binelas nor Hamilton were immediately added to Boston’s 40-man roster, though the latter can become eligible for the 2022 Rule 5 Draft if he is not added to the 40-man by next November.

Finally, we arrive at what is the most fascinating aspect of this deal in Bradley Jr., who the Red Sox, of course, took with the 40th overall pick in the 2011 draft out of the University of South Carolina.

After spending the first eight years of his big-league career with the Sox, Bradley Jr. became a free agent last winter and effectively signed a two-year, $24 million contract with the Brewers in March.

Bradley Jr.’s first season with a new team did not go as swimmingly as it did for Renfroe. Despite remaining an elite defender in center field, the 31-year-old struggled at the plate to the tune of a .163/.236/.261 slash line with 14 doubles, three triples, six home runs, 29 RBIs, 39 runs, seven stolen bases, 28 walks, and 132 strikeouts in 134 games (428 plate appearances) with the Brewers.

By swapping Renfroe’s projected 2022 salary of $7.6 million for Bradley’s 2022 salary of of $9.5 million (plus an $8 million buyout in 2023), Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom and Co. — per MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo — took on about $10 million in additional salary to add Bradley Jr. and two promising prospects in Binelas and Hamilton.

In addition to acquiring Bradley Jr., the Red Sox also announced the signings of left-handers James Paxton and Rich Hill to one-year deals for the 2022 season, meaning their 40-man roster is now up to 39 players.

(Picture of Jackie Bradley Jr: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Red Sox to hire Mike Groopman as new assistant general manager, per report; Former Brewers executive will oversee Boston’s analytics department

The Red Sox are hiring Brewers vice president of international scouting and player personnel Mike Groopman to become one of the team’s new assistant general managers, according to The Athletic’s Chad Jennings and Ken Rosenthal.

Groopman, 36, is a native of Brookline, Mass. He spent the last four years with the Brewers after initially being hired as the club’s director of international scouting in November 2017.

Under Milwaukee general manager/president of baseball operations David Stearns, Groopman oversaw the Brewers’ “international scouting efforts, focusing on player evaluation and acquisition, as well as the management of the international scouting staff, infrastructure and process.”

He also provided “international player personnel leadership and [worked] closely with staffs involved in Dominican Republic Academy player development,” per the team’s media guide.

A graduate of Columbia University, Groopman’s career in baseball began when he served as a baseball operations intern within the Reds’ front office in 2006. He undertook the same role with the Mets a year later and also interned for Major League Baseball’s labor relation department in 2008.

That same year, Groopman joined the Royals organization as a baseball operations intern and wound up spending 10 years with Kansas City as an intern, baseball operations administrative assistant, assistant to baseball operations, director of baseball analytics, and director of baseball operations/analytics.

It is worth noting that Groopman was a member of the Royals’ front office when the club won back-to-back American League pennants in 2014 and 2015 and won its second World Series title in franchise history in 2015.

According to MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy, Groopman oversaw Kansas City’s analytics department in his role as the club’s director of baseball operations and applied the skills he obtained there “to the international arena” while with Milwaukee.

Like Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom, Groopman once wrote for Baseball Prospectus and attended an Ivy League school, so the two have something in common there.

Groopman, per Jennings and Rosenthal, will officially join the Sox’ front office “soon after the holiday,” though it’s unclear if that means after Thanksgiving or after Christmas.

The Boston Globe’s Julian McWilliams reports that in his new role, Groopman will oversee Boston’s analytics department. He will become the third assistant general manager on Bloom and general manager Brian O’Halloran’s staff by joining the likes of Raquel Ferreira and Eddie Romero.

UPDATE: For what it’s worth, Groopman has officially joined the Red Sox front office. His formal title is senior vice president/assistant general manager.

(Picture of Chaim Bloom: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox lose Ryan Weber on waivers to Brewers

Former Red Sox right-hander Ryan Weber has been claimed off waivers by the Brewers, the team announced earlier Wednesday afternoon.

Weber, 30, was designated for assignment by Boston on Monday, one day after getting lit up for 11 runs on 13 hits — four of which were home runs — two walks, and seven strikeouts over 5 2/3 innings of relief in Sunday’s 18-4 loss to the Blue Jays at Fenway Park, which was also his 2021 debut.

Designating Weber for assignment allowed the Red Sox to both recall infielder Michael Chavis from Triple-A Worcester to take his spot on the 26-man roster as well as acquire righty reliever Yacksel Rios from the Mariners to take his spot on the 40-man roster.

Chavis has since been optioned back down to the WooSox, while Rios will be activated by Boston ahead of Wednesday’s series finale against the Braves in Atlanta.

In parts of three seasons with the Red Sox (2019-2021), Weber posted a 5.54 ERA, a 5.27 FIP, and strikeout-to-walk ratio of 63:24 over 36 appearances (eight starts) spanning 89 1/3 total innings of work.

He was certainly far more effective as a reliever than as a starter during his tenure with Boston, Sunday’s outing notwithstanding.

While he does join the Brewers’ 40-man roster, Weber has been assigned to Milwaukee’s Triple-A affiliate in Nashville.

On that note, it should be added that the Red Sox now have full 26-man and 40-man rosters, as MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo pointed out here.

(Picture of Ryan Weber: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Jackie Bradley Jr. reflects on time with Red Sox in heartfelt Players’ Tribune piece: ‘It was an honor’

Upon signing with the Milwaukee Brewers earlier this month, former Red Sox outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr. did not rush to social media to bid farewell to the organization he had spent the first 10 years of his professional career with.

“I don’t want it to just be some short thing,” he said back on March 8. “The years that you invest and put in, I don’t think it would justice for me to just give a little tidbit over this. I will gather my thoughts and emotions and be able to put it into words soon.”

On Wednesday, the final day before the start of the 2021 regular season, Bradley Jr. put his thoughts and emotions into words via an essay, as the soon-to-be 31-year-old penned a heartfelt piece for The Players’ Tribune titled: ‘Dear Red Sox Nation.’

In 288 words, the former first-round draft pick-turned-top prospect-turned Gold Glove-caliber centerfielder reflected on the ups and downs he experienced in his time with the Sox and how special it was to make his first Opening Day roster in 2013.

“April 1, 2013 — eight years ago, tomorrow — was the beginning of a new chapter for my career,” Bradley Jr. wrote. “It’s one that would be filled with hardships and triumphs, but most importantly growth. From the Merloni Shuttle to the duck boat parades; from hitting slumps to hitting streaks; from All-Star Games to Gold Gloves; and from last-place finishes to World Series championships … my baseball career in New England has been one that’s challenged me to always be present in the moment. 

“And to always be better than the day before.”

Over the course of eight big-league seasons with the Red Sox, Bradley Jr.’s accolades include putting together a 29-game hitting streak and making his first All-Star team in 2016, winning ALCS MVP and his first World Series and Gold Glove award in 2018, and quite frankly establishing himself as one of, if not the best defensive outfielder in baseball.

“These memories and accomplishments would not have been possible without God, hard work, dedication, family, friends, teammates, coaches, and support staff,” he added. “The relationships I’ve made over the years, both on and off the field, have helped me to become the player and person I am today — and I’m so grateful for that.”

One relationship Bradley Jr. made while in Boston was with Alex Cora, who managed the Gold Glover in 2018 and 2019. And while Cora was not surprised by Bradley Jr. signing elsewhere, he will miss the player he had gotten to known in more than just an on-the-field capacity.

“Solid player, better person,” Cora said of Bradley Jr. earlier this month. “Very consistent at everything he did. It was a pleasure to have him in the clubhouse, to know him off the field and get to know his family. An outstanding kid. He did some great things while he was here. He was amazing in 2018.

“He has a fan from afar,” added the Sox skipper. “I’ll be paying attention. Off the field, we’re going to keep having a relationship.”

Bradley Jr.’s deal with the Brewers will net the Virginia native $13 million in 2021. It also includes a $11 million player option for a potential second year in 2022, though Bradley Jr. could hit the open market once again this winter if he so chooses.

As Bradley Jr. prepares to embark on a new journey in Milwaukee — playing alongside the likes of Christian Yelich and Lorenzo Can — he will also be sure to cherish the memories he made in Boston from here on out.

“So before each of us officially turns the page to our next chapter, I just wanted to say: Red Sox Nation, thank you,” Bradley Jr. wrote. “It was an honor.”

(Picture of Jackie Bradley Jr.: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Former Red Sox outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr. officially signs with Brewers

Former Red Sox outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr. finally saw his free agency come to a close on Monday as his two-year, $24 million deal with the Brewers was made official.

The 30-year-old had been on the open market for a little more than four months, eventually reaching the point where he was the best position player still available by the time clubs reported for spring training in February.

A client of super-agent Scott Boras, Bradley Jr. never wavered while being in a situation others in his position might have considering the fact it was early March and he was still without a job.

Speaking with reporters via Zoom from Phoenix, Ariz. on Monday, the Gold Glover explained what led to him landing with Milwaukee after a long winter.

“This was an unprecedented offseason,” Bradley Jr. said. “This is my first free agency, so I don’t have anything to compare it with. I personally enjoyed it, because I focused on the things that were going on around me. I was able to spend a lot of quality time with my family and kind of let all that figure it out itself. I was just relaxing, and waiting for the opportunity. I was continuously staying ready, working hard.”

Coming off a successful 2020 season in which he slashed .283/.364/.450 to go along with seven home runs and 22 RBI over 55 games while providing his usual superb defense in centerfield, the former first-round pick had multiple offers to consider, but he ultimately wound up signing a two-year pact with the Brewers that also includes an opt out after the first year.

“With the offer now, I just wanted to trust myself,” he added. “I believe in my ability and my talent and I feel like this particular deal offers me a lot of flexibility.”

Throughout the course of the offseason, Bradley Jr. seemingly had one definitive suitor in the form of his old club in Boston.

It never seemed all that likely that the two sides would come to terms on a new deal, but whenever he was asked, Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom would say something along the lines of: ‘We love Jackie. We’re going to remain involved on that front until his free agency resolves.’

Bradley Jr.’s free agency ultimately resolved itself without the Sox getting overly involved, but the All-Star centerfielder did confirm that there were talks about a potential reuinion.

“I think, as a whole, you want to stay open-minded about it all,” he said when asked if there was a point this winter when he thought he might stay with the Red Sox. “Anytime you’re already closing off different avenues, then you’re limiting yourself. So I think as long as you’re pretty open-minded about listening and gathering all the information, that’s going to give you the best opportunity to make the decision that you feel is best for you and your family.”

Bradley Jr., who turns 31 next month, is slated to earn $13 million with the Brewers this season with the chance to earn an additional $11 million in 2022 if he declines to opt out of his deal.

That decision is a longways away, though, and the University of South Carolina product is just looking forward to familiarizing himself with his new organization for the time being. This is after all his first time reporting to a team whose spring training headquarters are not in Fort Myers.

And for what it’s worth, Bradley Jr. will wear the No. 41 for the Brewers. That number signifies the birth dates of himself, his wife Erin, his daughter Emerson, and his son Jackie III.

“It was a breath of fresh air,” Bradley Jr. said when describing what it was like to put on a Brewers uniform on for the first time. “To be able to finally be out here and moving around, I’m glad to be here. I’m really excited for the opportunity and I’m going to have a lot of fun with these guys.”

(Picture of Jackie Bradley Jr.: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)