Michael Brantley did anything and everything for the Indians last season. His versatility and consistency has been rewarded.
Brantley has agreed to long-term contract with the Indians, a person familiar with the deal told the AP on Tuesday. Cleveland’s most consistent player in 2013, Brantley will sign a four-year, $25 million deal once he passes a physical, says the person who spoke on condition of anonymity because the contract can’t be finalized until he undergoes the medical examination.
The Indians are reporting to spring training in Goodyear, Ariz., this week, and it appears they’ll open camp by announcing their commitment to Brantley.
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The deal was first reported by Northeast Ohio Media Group.
Brantley moved from center field to left last spring when the Indians signed free agent Michael Bourn. The switch didn’t rattle Brantley, who batted .284 with 10 homers and 73 RBIs in 151 games. Manager Terry Francona used Brantley throughout his lineup – he batted everywhere but ninth – and he excelled in the field by not making an error and recording 11 assists.
The Indians were scheduled to go to an arbitration hearing with Brantley on Feb. 17.
Brantley’s new deal locks him up through the 2017 season and the club has an $11 million option for 2018.
He was at his best late last season, batting .345 with 14 RBIs in September to lead the Indians’ push toward a wild-card playoff spot.
Brantley began his career with Cleveland as ”the player to be named” in the blockbuster deal that sent pitcher CC Sabathia to Milwaukee in 2008. While first baseman Matt LaPorta didn’t pan out for the Indians, Brantley has developed into one of their core players.