One of the mysteries regarding the Red Sox' approach at the trade deadline was the decision to not deal Jackie Bradley Jr.
While industry sources confirm there was interest in the outfielder, who is going to be eligible for free agency after the 2020 season, the Sox chose to hang on to the 30-year-old.
"We love Jackie. That shouldn't be news," said Red Sox Chief Baseball Officer Chaim Bloom. "He's been here a long time, he means an enormous amount to this organization. Me, personally, not having known him as long, I've still come to regard him so highly and see what an incredible person he is. We know he's a good player. We'd love to have him here for a long time. That was the case months ago, it was the case yesterday, the case today, the case tomorrow. I don' think there's anything to read into that today, but that shouldn't be news, it's how we've always felt about Jackie."
But while the Red Sox may have suggested they want to extend Bradley Jr.'s stay in the organization that drafted him in the first round in 2011, their actions to date make such a scenario unlikely.
According to a source familiar with the situation, the Red Sox have not engaged in any contract talks with Bradley Jr. It continues a trend the outfielder revealed to WEEI.com last summer and in spring training, with the eight-year big-league veteran having never been approached by the team regarding an extension.
So why then did the Red Sox choose to not trade Bradley Jr.?
Typically, for a team that is out of the pennant race and has a player with an expiring contract, the impetus for not parting ways is a desire to keep the option a qualifying offer in play. But in this case, that seems unlikely considering Bradley Jr. would likely accept what would figure to be a one-year contract worth in the vicinity of $18 million.
And while Bradley Jr. undoubtedly offers value to the Red Sox, the prevailing opinion is that they are positioning themselves to turn over the position with prospect Jarren Duran sooner rather than later.
When asked the reason a team might not trade a player with an expiring contract -- as was the case with the Red Sox sending Kevin Pillar to Colorado -- Bloom cited the value of having the likes of Bradley Jr. around for the stretch drive.