Major league transactions are frozen but offseason news is not dead.
In the final minutes before the MLB lockout, the Milwaukee Brewers and Boston Red Sox pulled off a trade, swapping outfielders Hunter Renfroe and Jackie Bradley Jr. alongside prospects.
In his latest for The Athletic, Ken Rosenthal reported the Brewers discussed flipping Bradley Jr. in a deal for Toronto Blue Jays' slugger Randal Grichuk, "dangling" their former CF in other deals prior to pulling off the move with the Red Sox.
"Unlike the Renfroe deal, in which the Brewers parted with Bradley and two infield prospects," Rosenthal wrote. "A Grichuk trade would have been one-for-one."
With two years and over $20 million left on Grichuk's deal, the Brewers ultimately ended up with greater financial flexibility, flipping two prospects alongside Bradley in exchange for the cheaper Renfroe.
Had the Blue Jays traded Grichuk for Bradley, the deal would have kept Toronto's salary expenses relatively even in 2022 but may have brought a better fit to their fourth outfield role.
While Bradley was one of the worst offensive players in baseball last year, posting a .497 OPS in 428 plate appearances, he brings elite defense in centerfield, speed, and a left-handed bat the Blue Jays could use in their outfield mix. With Corey Dickerson in free agency, Josh Palacios is the lone lefty outfielder on Toronto's 40-man roster.
Even with his inconsistency, Grichuk has been the far better offensive player in recent years (.750 OPS as a Blue Jay), but it became increasingly hard to find him playing time down the stretch in 2021. He offers the same platoon advantage, hitting right, to all of Toronto's starting outfield and the Jays often opted to start Corey Dickerson or Jarrod Dyson in center over Grichuk when facing righties.
It was a deal that didn't happen, but Rosenthal's report gives us some insight into the options available if the Blue Jays seek to bring something new to thei fourth outfielder role.
H/T Ken Rosenthal