The Royals announced they have signed outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr. to a minor league deal. The move comes the same day General Manager J.J. Picollo wanted to add an outfielder following the rash of injuries the team had suffered. Outfielder Drew Waters will miss the next six weeks with an oblique injury, and minor league outfielders Brewer Hicklen and Diego Hernandez are also out.
Bradley is a former All-Star and Gold Glover who has played ten years in the big leagues, mostly with the Boston Red Sox. The 32-year-old saw his offensive numbers take a dive the last two seasons, and he has hit just .182./245/.285 in 265 games since signing a multi-year deal with the Brewers in 2021. They traded him back to Boston last year, but he was released by the Red Sox in August.
Bradley still plays terrific defense, which may be more important for a team trying to develop young pitching. He will be in the mix to compete for an outfield job with MJ Melendez likely to spend the most time in left, and Kyle Isbel likely to start in center. Edward Olivares, Nate Eaton, and Franmil Reyes are other candidates to see playing time in the outfield, and Picollo said that Maikel Garcia could see some time out there this spring as well.