Bradley will exercise his $9.5 million player option with the Brewers for the 2022 season, Jon Heyman of MLB Network reports. It's hardly a surprise, as Bradley endured the worst offensive season of his career with a .163/.236/.261 slash line and 30.8 percent strikeout rate in 134 games. The 31-year-old remains one of the best defensive center fielders in baseball, but he'll need a significant rebound at the plate in 2022 in order to maintain a regular role in the Milwaukee outfield with Christian Yelich, Lorenzo Cain and Tyrone Taylor still under contract.
Bradley will start in right field and bat eighth Wednesday against the Phillies. Bradley will crack the starting nine for the third time in four games, with Avisail Garcia getting some extra maintenance Wednesday after recently returning from a tight hamstring and back. Garcia should be ready to take on an everyday role in right field moving forward, with Christian Yelich and Lorenzo Cain joining him in Milwaukee's regular outfield configuration. As such, opportunities are likely to be scarce for Bradley the rest of the way. The 31-year-old Bradley continues to impress with his defense, but not enough to atone for his lowly .521 OPS -- a nearly 300-point drop his 2020 mark (.814).
Bradley is out of the lineup for Wednesday's game against the Pirates. The lefty-hitting Bradley's absence from the lineup against an opposing southpaw (Steven Brault) isn't surprising, but the veteran outfielder's playing time has become more scarce against right-handed pitching as well now that Lorenzo Cain is back in the fold. Christian Yelich could return from the COVID-19 injured list as soon as Thursday, which would likely leave Bradley as the Brewers' fifth outfielder behind Yelich, Cain, Avisail Garcia and Tyrone Taylor. The Brewers value Bradley for his excellent glove and ability to play all three outfield spots, but his anemic .538 OPS and bloated 29 percent strikeout rate has made it increasingly tough for manager Craig Counsell to justify making room in the lineup for the 31-year-old.
Bradley isn't starting Saturday's game against Atlanta. Bradley went 1-for-4 with a run and a strikeout while starting Friday's contest, but he'll return to the bench for the third time in the last four games. Tyrone Taylor will start in left field and bat fifth.
Bradley isn't starting Thursday's game against Pittsburgh. Bradley has had an inconsistent spot in the starting nine recently, and he'll now retreat to the bench for the fifth time in the last eight games. Tyrone Taylor will start in left field and bat fifth.