Three days after word got out that the Indians locked up left fielder Michael Brantley to a long term deal, the club made the move official Thursday. Check back later for more details from the scheduled noon (MT) presser with Brantley and Indians GM Chris Antonetti. In the meantime, here's the Tribe's press release:
The Cleveland Indians today announced the club has signed OF MICHAEL BRANTLEY to a four-year contract with a club option for the 2018 campaign.
Brantley, 26, has spent his entire five-year Major League career with the Cleveland Indians since being acquired from the Milwaukee Brewers following the 2008 season. The Port St. Lucie native has been a member of the club’s Opening Day lineup over each of the last four seasons since 2010 and owns a career Major League batting average of .277 (545-1968) with 100 doubles, 14 triples, 26 home runs and 212 RBI in 514 games. The reliable, hard-working Brantley has appeared in 300 of the club’s 324 games (92.6%) over the past two seasons.
Michael is coming off his finest season in 2013, batting a team-best .284 (158-556) with 66 runs scored, 26 doubles, 10 home runs and 73 RBI in 151 games. The 66 runs, 10 homers, 73 RBI and 17 stolen bases (21 attempts) all represented career-highs. After shifting over to left field in February, Brantley registered a club-high 11 assists and did not make an error the entire season, carrying a club-record 245-game errorless streak into 2014. The left-handed hitter was a pivotal force in the club’s drive to the A.L. Wildcard, hitting .343 (34-98) with 14 RBI over the season’s final 26 games while his year-long .375 (45-120) mark with runners in scoring position was third-highest in the A.L. In addition to his outfield versatility, offensively he made starts in eight of the nine spots in Terry Francona’s batting order.
“Michael exemplifies the qualities we look for when bringing people - not just athletes - into our organization,” said Cleveland Indians Executive Vice President and General Manager CHRIS ANTONETTI. “He has a clear vision of the type of player he wants to become and consistently exhibits the tireless work ethic, focus and discipline necessary to achieve his goals and those of our team. In a relatively short period of time, Michael has grown into a selfless leader who sets an example for our younger players.”