The Cleveland Indians and outfielder Michael Brantley have agreed to a four-year, $25 million contract extension, according to Paul Hoynes of Cleveland.com. The deal includes an $11 million team option.
Brantley and the Indians have been working on an extension for some time, as they hoped to get a deal done before the February 17 arbitration date. The deal, which has an average annual value of $6.25 million, was very close earlier Monday evening, Hoynes had reported.
The 26-year-old has emerged as a very good player over the past two seasons with the Indians. Over his career 3-year, 131-day career, Brantley has posted a triple-slash line of .277/.330/.382 (100 OPS+). Since reaching the 450+ plate appearance plateau in 2011, Brantley's numbers have been good, triple-slashing a .280/.334/.394 while averaging 8 home runs and 60 RBI per season. Brantley adds good speed, averaging 14 stolen bases in that time frame. In 2013, Brantley slashed .284/.332/.396 with 10 home runs, 73 RBI, and 17 stolen bases in 151 games.
The Bellevue, Washington native posted a perfect 1.000 fielding percentage in 2013, but was worth a -17 fielding runs above average, something that shows how well a player contributes on defense. While spending most of his time in left field, Brantley was a fine player, but should not be classified as a great defender.
Overall, this deal works out for both sides. The Indians will keep Brantley in uniform for a long time during his prime, and Brantley is able to stay in Cleveland while also making a good amount of money. He played well for the Indians last year, and expect him to improve as he becomes more mature. A very good deal indeed.