After incorrect early reports involving the Toronto Blue Jays, Michael Brantley is staying in Houston. Mark Berman, sports director at KRIV-TV in Houston, has reported that the veteran outfielder will re-sign with the Houston Astros. The reported two-year deal is worth $32 million. Brantley, who will be 34 next season, is coming off two very consistent campaigns.
The Toronto Blue Jays were in talks with Brantley, with multiple reports indicating a deal was in place. The report was later refuted, and Brantley will remain put in Houston.
Source confirms: Free-agent Michael Brantley in agreement with Blue Jays on a three-year contract, pending physical. First: @thehazelmae.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) January 20, 2021
There is not an agreement in place between outfielder Michael Brantley and the Toronto Blue Jays, according to a source. The Blue Jays are among the teams still in on Brantley, and a deal may eventually get done, but it is not finished.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) January 20, 2021
MLB source: #Astros reach an agreement with Michael Brantley on a two-year deal worth $32 million.
— Mark Berman (@MarkBermanFox26) January 20, 2021
A Look At Brantley’s Career
In 194 games, the outfielder posted a .309/.370/.497 slash line with 27 home runs and 112 RBI. In the Astros’ back-to-back ALCS appearances, Brantley contributed four home runs and 15 RBI in 31 games.
Brantley, who was acquired by Cleveland in 2008, became one of the majors’ best all-around players. He enjoyed a breakout year in 2014, hitting 20 home runs, 97 RBI while batting .327 in 156 games. That same season, Brantley won his lone Silver Slugger Award.
Before leaving Cleveland for Houston, the four-time All-Star enjoyed a comeback season in 2018. Brantley dealt with injuries limited that him to 101 games in 2016 and 2017. Brantley missed out on most of Cleveland’s World Series run in 2016, limited to 11 games due to offseason surgery.
The following season, he appeared to be a strong candidate for the AL’s Comeback Player of the Year, only until he injured his ankle, missing 79 games. Brantley returned later that season, where he was selected to Cleveland’s playoff roster. In the best-of-five series against the New York Yankees, he hit terribly, going 1-for-11.
Brantley Will Make a Great Addition
Even though he’s reaching his mid-thirties, Brantley figures to see playing time in left field. If he’s not in the outfield, then he’ll serve as the Astros DH. Given his offensive power and playoff experience, he’ll likely presume a leadership-mentorship role in the clubhouse.
Still, there’s no doubt that Brantley can hit. In 12 seasons, he owns a career slash line of .297/.354/.440 with 114 home runs, 640 RBI, and 123 stolen bases. He was one of the Astros vital hitters in the shortened 2020 season. Brantley provides the Blue Jays a much-needed veteran presence to go along with its potent offense.
The Astros finished the 2020 season with a 29-31 record. They qualified for the expanded postseason beating the Minnesota Twins and Oakland Athletics en route to a fourth-consecutive ALCS. Brantley was a pivotal player in their relative success the past two seasons. With the departure of George Springer, his return improves their chances in 2021.
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