Former Red Sox Gold Glove outfielder shuts down retirement reports

Jackie Bradley Jr. hasn’t ruled out retiring, but it’s far from a done deal.

“So let’s get this cleaned up a little. I personally have NOT officially retired. I may retire, but that has not been decided,” the longtime Red Sox outfielder shared on X (formerly Twitter), with a raised-eyebrow selfie. He captioned the post with a simple “FYI.”

Boston selected Bradley 40th overall in the first round in 2011, and he played nine of his 11 seasons in a Red Sox uniform (over two stints). He was an All-Star in ’16, won a Gold Glove in ’18 (and was a finalist several times, including ’21 and ’22), and has two World Series rings for his contributions to the ’13 – he debuted but only played in the regular season – and ’18 championship seasons. In the latter, he earned ALCS MVP honors by driving in nine runs on three extra-base hits, two of which gave the Red Sox the lead, and a grand slam.

For much of the mid-2010s, Bradley was one of the American League’s best defensive outfielders, top-10 in Defensive Wins Above Replacement three times between 2014-17. To date, his 10.3 career dWAR ranks 19th among active players. Currently, he’s 10th in defensive games played, sixth in putouts, and fifth in assists.

MLB insider Jon Heyman reported in late November that Bradley was ready to hang up his cleats. However, Bradley, 33, has only accrued 9.057 years of service time. When a player reaches 10 years of service – a full year is 172 days on the active roster and/or injured list – they are considered fully vested and therefore, entitled to a slew of benefits, including the full benefits of the MLB pension.

Spotrac lists Bradley’s estimated career earnings at $49.4 million, but reaching the 10-year mark is about more than money. According to the players’ association, fewer than 10% of Major Leaguers hit the milestone, and doing so requires a “combination of talent, health, resilience, perseverance and good fortune.”

It’s understandable that Bradley wouldn’t want to walk away when he’s so close to the finish line.

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