Astros show brilliance with Brantley signing
Yesterday, news broke that the Houston Astros were signing former Indians outfielder Michael Brantley to a two-year $32 million contract.
Brantley, 31, played a mostly full season last year for the first time since 2015. He hit .309/.364/.468 with 17 home runs, 76 RBI, 89 runs scored, and 12 stolen bases in 631 plate appearances. He made the AL All-Star squad for the third time in his career.
For the Astros, this is a match-made in heaven. Sure this deal has some risk—due to Brantley’s health issues, but for the amount and length he signed for, Houston is getting incredible value.
As an avid baseball follower, I’m a daily reader of MLBTradeRumors as they do incredible work over there. Entering the offseason, MLBTR graded Brantley the tenth-best free agent on the market. Those guys predicted both he and Andrew McCutchen would secure three-year deals at $15MM average annual values.
McCutchen signed with the Phillies for three-years $50 million.
Compared to Brantley’s contract, I think we can all agree Philadelphia overpaid.
If you look at their last three seasons, the only thing Cutch has on Brantley is volume of games played. Brantley has been a better hitter–same wRC+, but give me the player that is younger, comes with a .300 average and half the strikeout rate–add in he’s a wildly better baserunner and defender.
Brantley figures to man left field with rumors of playing first base in a platoon situation with Yuli Gurriel and some occasional DH days. That could free up super prospect Kyle Tucker to get some run in left field as well.
With the losses in the Astros front office (Assistant General Manager Mike Elias is the newest General Manager of the Baltimore Orioles and he brought analytics guru Sig Mejdal with him) there was some concern of how GM Jeff Luhnow would deal with those losses. This signing shows he’s still got it.
The MLB offseason is still heating up with a lot of big names yet to sign. It will be interesting to see how the Astros approach the remaining free agents. Of course, we are all waiting on Marwin Gonzalez, Dallas Keuchel and other Houston free agents to see where they might end up.