Baseball’s national media made a pretty major gaffe today, announcing pre-maturely that Michael Brantley had reached a three-year deal with the Blue Jays, joining his good buddy George Springer. It turns out that isn’t the case, at least not yet.
Now hearing same as @Feinsand and @JeffPassan: No agreement yet between Blue Jays and Brantley. Two sides remain in discussions. Apologies for being among those who reported deal prematurely.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) January 20, 2021
This pertains to the Braves for a couple of reasons. Obviously, they are in the market for a left-fielder, and Brantley would probably be their top backup option if they cannot re-sign Marcell Ozuna. Also, Brantley being off the market and going to the same team as George Springer would have all the outfield-needy teams interested in Ozuna, which would likely raise his price tag out of Atlanta’s price range.
Thankfully, Brantley is still on the market. However, if the Blue Jays are really willing to offer him three years, I don’t see how the Braves match. Alex Anthopoulos has been consistently hesitant to hand out multi-year contracts, especially to aging players with an injury history. Who is Michael Brantley? A talented player, but one that is 34-years-old with a lengthy injury history over his career.
I don’t see the Braves offering Brantley anything more than two years. He’s a doubles machine that has made three-straight All-Star games, but Atlanta won’t want to be dealing with his contract three years from now with all of their players that will be due for extensions.
On top of that, I’m not sure he’s exactly what the Braves are looking for offensively. Ideally, Atlanta would like a right-handed power bat that can protect Freddie Freeman. That’s a primary reason as to why he won the 2020 NL MVP award. I understand beggars can’t be choosers, but the Braves also probably aren’t interested in blocking their #3 prospect Drew Waters either.
If Atlanta is really out of the Ozuna sweepstakes, they could do a lot worse than bringing in Brantley. However, a three-year contract for an aging All-Star with a history of injuries that will not fill all of the Braves’ needs and block one of their top prospects doesn’t make much sense. A bloated one or two-year contract is much more palatable, but three years should be off the table.
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