The Red Sox and Brewers hooked up on a trade before the CBA expired, as Hunter Renfroe was sent to Milwaukee and Jackie Braldey Jr. and three prospects went to Boston.
According to Ken Rosenthal, the Brewers tried to dump Bradley in a variety of different trades for other outfielders, one of which was Randal Grichuk…
Before acquiring Hunter Renfroe from the Red Sox, the Brewers dangled Jackie Bradley Jr. in trades for a variety of other outfielders, including the Blue Jays’ Randal Grichuk, sources said. Unlike the Renfroe deal, in which the Brewers parted with Bradley and two infield prospects, a Grichuk trade would have been one-for-one.So, why lose the prospects, infielder David Hamilton and Alex Binelas, who ranked 16th and 17th for the Brewers respectively, according to MLBPipeline.com? Because in the Bradley-Renfroe exchange, the Brewers created greater payroll flexibility for 2022, saving about $10 million. The Bradley-Grichuk swap likely would have been a financial wash. And Renfroe was just more appealing overall.
Bradley left the Red Sox last winter and signed a two-year deal with the Brewers last spring worth $6,500,000 in 2021, $9,500,000 in 2022, and with a mutual option for 2023 worth $12,000,000 with an $8,000,000 buyout. He was a mess in his first season in Milwaukee, slashing a .163/.236/.261 line, far and away the lowest figure of his career in each of those categories.
Renfroe had a down season in 2020, signed with the Red Sox last winter in free agency, and had a nice bounce back in 2021. In 144 games, Renfroe slashed a .259/.315/.501 line with 31 homers. He’ll be cheaper than Bradley and likely more productive and the difference between the two for Milwaukee was two depth prospects ranks No. 16 and 17 in their system.
Given the $8,000,000 buyout for 2023, a one-for-one swap involving Grichuk and Bradley wouldn’t have been worthwhile for the Blue Jays. Grichuk is paid $10,333,333 in 2022 and 2023 so the savings after a hypothetical Bradley swap would be fairly minor while the dropoff offensively could be quite large.