The Houston Astros have reportedly added another legitimate bat to the corner of their outfield, agreeing to terms with former Cleveland Indians star Michael Brantley. The reported deal is expected to be for two years and $32 million as first reported by Ken Rosenthal:
#Astros closing in on free-agent outfielder Michael Brantley, sources tell The Athletic. Rival executives expect deal to be in two-year, $32M range.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) December 17, 2018
Report: Michael Brantley Signs with Houston Astros
Brantley is coming off a strong 2018 individual campaign, slashing .309/.364/.468 with 17 home runs, 76 RBI, and 12 stolen bases. After battling significant injury troubles in 2016 and 2017, Brantley was able to put any concerns about his health to rest, appearing in 143 games this past season en route to being named a 2018 AL All-star.
Outside of the 2016-17 seasons when he was limited to 101 total games, Brantley has been undeniably valuable. He posted 3.6 bWAR in 2018 and has three other seasons of at least 3.0 bWAR on his resume (As well as another 2.7 bWAR season). Brantley may not be a superstar at this point of his career, but he is a valuable piece to plug into the outfield.
Now 31-years of age, the Bellevue, WA native will join an Astros team in the middle of its championship window. Brantley is expected to slot into a stacked lineup that already features George Springer and Josh Reddick. Brantley has been an integral member of the Indians franchise for the past decade, and the move to Houston will be his first since reaching the big leagues and just the second of his career. He was originally dealt to Cleveland in 2008 while still in the minor leagues as part of the C.C. Sabathia trade with the Milwaukee Brewers, who drafted Brantley in the 7th round of the 2005 June Amateur Draft.
Brantley has been a consistently complete hitter at the plate over his 10-year MLB career. He finished third in AL MVP voting in 2014 after hitting .327 with a career-high 20 homers, 97 RBI, and 23 stolen bases for Cleveland. The three-time American League All-star holds a career batting average of .295 to go along with 248 doubles, 87 home runs, 528 RBI, and 118 stolen bases in 1,051 big league games.
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