The veteran outfielder has agreed to a two-year deal with the American League Western division champion Houston Astros. Brantley will get $32 million over the two seasons.
The loss of Brantley is disappointing but not a surprise. The Indians are in a cost cutting mode this offseason. When Cleveland elected to decline Brantley’s option for 2019, the writing was on the wall that the end was near for the 31-year old.
After battling two seasons of nagging injuries in 2016 and 2017, Brantley returned to form in 2018. He batted .309 with 17 home runs and 76 runs batted in. He also stole 12 bases and played a solid left field.
Brantley spent his entire Major League career in an Indians uniform. He was the player to be named later in the 2008 trade between the Indians and Milwaukee Brewers that sent C.C. Sabathia to Milwaukee for Matt LaPorta, Zach Jackson and Rob Bryson.
In ten seasons with the Indians, Brantley hit .295 with 87 home runs, and 528 runs batted in. He appeared in three Major League Baseball All-Star games. Brantley also took home the silver slugger award in 2014.
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His best season in a tribe uniform took place in that 2014 season. Brantley posted career best numbers in batting average, (.327), home runs, (20) doubles, (45) and runs batted in (97.) Brantley finished third behind Mike Trout and Victor Martinez in American League Most Valuable Player voting that season. He also led all of baseball with 45 doubles in 2015.
The Astros add veteran leadership both on the diamond and in the clubhouse. Brantley will be an extra veteran outfielder in Houston. He can also see some time at first base and as a designated hitter for the Astros.
Cleveland also lost veteran outfielder Rajai Davis to the New York Mets on Monday. Davis is most remembered for his game tying 3-run home run in game seven of the 2016 World Series off Chicago Cubs closer Aroldis Chapman.