Brantley, 31, hit .309/.364/.468 with 36 doubles, 17 homers, 76 RBI, 89 runs and 12 steals last season with the Indians. He's actually spent his entire 10-year career with the Indians, so seeing him in another uniform will be weird at first.
Where Brantley fits on the Astros is obvious. Marwin Gonzalez is a free agent and Brantley plays left field, so he serves as a natural replacement. Brantley also swings the bat lefty and could be used somewhere toward the top of the lineup to break out the right-handed parade of George Springer, Alex Bregman, Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa and Yuli Gurriel. Maybe something like this:
- Springer, CF
- Bregman, 3B
- Altuve, 2B
- Brantley, LF
- Correa, SS
- Gurriel, 1B
- Josh Reddick, RF
- Tyler White, DH
- Robinson Chirinos, C
With Andrew McCutchen having already signed with the Phillies, Brantley -- -- was the third-best outfielder on the free agent market entering the week, behind Bryce Harper and A.J. Pollock. Brantley provides a lot of bang for the buck here, as those two are going to command pretty huge deals, relatively speaking. Gonzalez, Adam Jones and Nick Markakis are the next three top available outfielders, though Gonzalez can also handle some infield spots and his versatility likely makes him more money than Brantley.
Also, for those considering the DH spot here, Nelson Cruz remains on the market and some reports indicate the Astros could add Cruz as well. Circle back up to that lineup and plug Cruz in after Brantley and that's some serious power.
Oh and it could get a lot more fun. Check out some juiciness here from CBS Sports HQ's Jim Bowden:
#Astros agree with LHH Michael Brantley on 2yr deal as first reported by the Athletic’s @Ken_Rosenthal ……that signing should set the stage now for a possible Kyle Tucker to the #Marlins for J.T. Realmuto deal…maybe DH Nelson Cruz and most assuredly a middle of rotation starter— Jim Bowden (@JimBowdenGM) December 18, 2018
J.T. Realmuto and Nelson Cruz added to the above lineup and that's stellar. Let's take a quick look, just for kicks:
That's not far off an All-Star team lineup, really.
For now, though, we know Brantley is headed to the Astros and he's a good fit.