The 33-year-old Michael Brantley is a free agent for the second time in his career. Should the Mariners try to strike a deal with the veteran outfielder? Or, should they pass?
Michael Brantley hits the free-agent market after spending the last two seasons with the Houston Astros. Before you ask or try to do the math, this means that Brantley was not a part of the 2017 World Series-winning Astros that were a part of the largest cheating scandal in recent baseball history.
These last two seasons in Houston have been two of the best of Brantley’s career, even at ages 32 and 33. In 824 plate appearances with the Astros, he had a .309/.370/.497 batting line adding up to an .867 OPS while playing in 148 games in the 162 games 2019 season, and 46 games in the 60 games 2020 season.
Before joining the Astros, Brantley was a three-time All-Star in ten seasons with the Indians. He finished third in MVP voting in 2014 and led the league in doubles in 2015. However, he only played in 11 games in the Indians American League winning season of 2016 due to injury.
So should the Mariners pursue or pass on Michael Brantley?
My answer is to pursue Brantley for one big reason. The Astros did not offer Brantley a qualifying offer, meaning that if the Mariners were to sign him they would not have to give up a draft pick. This is key for a team trying to rebuild and not lose draft picks.
A funny fact about Brantley that would make signing him all the more fun is that he was born in Bellevue, WA. While he grew up in Port St Lucie, FL, Brantley was born in the Seattle area because at the time of his birth his father, Mickey Brantley, was playing for the Mariners.
Signing Brantley would also be a huge help to the Mariners outfield for the next couple of years. Since Brantley is 33 years old, he would only be signing with the Mariners for 1-2 seasons, and he could help the Mariners compete right now with an impressive outfield of Brantley, Lewis, and Haniger/Moore/Kelenic, while we wait for prospects like Julio Rodriguez and Taylor Trammell to come up to the big leagues.
There are rumors that Michael Brantley is interested in a reunion with the Astros, and the interest is mutual. So, if the Mariners wanted to bring Brantley back to his birthplace and ad a hits machine to the lineup, they may have to act soon.