CLEVELAND, Ohio — Free agent outfielder Michael Brantley is not expected to return to the Indians.
Brantley has reportedly received offers from Atlanta, Philadelphia and the White Sox. The Indians did not offer Brantley a one-year $17.9 qualifying offer on Friday.
Chris Antonetti, Indians president of baseball operations, explained the decision not to make Brantley a qualifying offer this way, “Ultimately, the first week of the offseason, as we looked at our path ahead, it wasn’t the best decision to potentially allocate ($17.9) million dollars right now.”
This year Brantley played 143 games. He was limited to 101 games in 2016 and 2017 because of right shoulder and right ankle injuries. Both injuries required surgery.
The Indians acquired Brantley from Milwaukee as part of the CC Sabathia trade in 2008. He did not join them until Oct. 3 as the player to be named in the deal. Brantley has spent his entire big league career with the Tribe.
Late this season, Brantley, 31, was asked what he would say to the Indians if he didn’t re-sign, “I would thank them for the honor of playing here,” he said. “I grew from a young man to a man here.”
MLBtraderumors.com ranked Brantley at No. 10 among its top 50 free agents in this winter’s class. It speculated he’d sign a three-year $45 million deal with Atlanta. Brantley hit .309 (176-for-570) with 36 doubles, 17 homers and 76 RBI this season. He struck out just 60 times, while drawing 48 walks.
Cody Allen, Andrew Miller, Melky Cabrera, Lonnie Chisenhall, Josh Tomlin, Brandon Guyer, Rajai Davis, Oliver Perez, Adam Rosales, Josh Donaldson and Brandon Barnes were the other Indians’ players who became free agents.
Brantley is represented by Kenny Felder of Excel Sports Management. Brantley and Felder left The Legacy Agency near the end of the season.