In Cleveland Indians rumors, Michael Brantley will be a free agent at season’s end, and his landing spot may be in the National League.
The 2018 campaign was a win-win for both the Cleveland Indians and Michael Brantley.
The Indians received an All-Star year for Brantley, all at the cost of just $12 million, which is a steal for a corner outfielder who’s batting .309 with 17 homers and 76 RBIs. His average is the fifth best in the American League.
Brantley, meanwhile, proved that he could stay healthy after two previous years of nagging injuries.
The 31-year-old will hit free agency in demand, according to the Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo, and and the San Francisco Giants and Philadelphia Phillies could be potential destinations.
Cafardo indicates that Brantley’s destination may be on the team that loses out on the Bryce Harper sweepstakes. Both the Giants and Phillies have the money to pay Harper, but so does his current team, the Washington Nationals.
Indians’ fans are going to hate losing the player they’ve come to know as “Dr. Smooth,” but there’s zero chance the Tribe will make an effort to keep the left fielder, which is a shame, because outfield promises to be a position of need next spring.
The front office’s decision to pick up Brantley’s $12 player option looks brilliant, considering what Brantley’s peers earn, but the Tribe doesn’t usually hand out multi-year extensions to players over 30 who have an injury history.
The Phillies are an interesting team to consider based off how they signed Carlos Santana away from the Tribe. The Indians were going to make Santana an offer, but there was no way the club could compete with the three year, $60 million offer Santana received.
Ideally, Brantley will leave Cleveland as a World Series champion, because he’s finally going to get an opportunity to be healthy at the onset of the postseason.
In 2017, a banged up Brantley was pressed into action after Edwin Encarnacion sprained his ankle in Game 2 of the ALDS.
He missed most of the 2016 season, and the Tribe’s run to the World Series because of injury.