The Cleveland Indians will avoid arbitration with one of their three remaining arbitration-eligible players, agreeing to terms with outfielder Michael Brantley, on a four-year contract worth $25 million. The deal also includes an $11 million club option.
The agreement means Brantley will remain a Cleveland Indian through his three remaining arbitration-eligible years and first year of free agency. If the team picks up the fifth-year option, Brantley will be in Cleveland throughout the 2018 season.
The news was first reported by Paul Hoynes of The Cleveland Plain Dealer.
Brantley and the Indians were $1.1 million apart in salary negotiations for the upcoming season and had an arbitration hearing scheduled for Feb. 17. Brantley filed at $3.8 million and the Indians countered with an offer of $2.7 million.
The 26-year-old outfielder batted .284 with 10 homers, 73 RBI and 17 stolen bases for the Indians in 2013. He also holds a club-record error-less streak of 245 games for an outfielder.
The Indians are now down to only two arbitration cases to hear, with right-hander Josh Tomlin (Feb. 14), and more notably, Justin Masterson on Feb. 20.
The All-Star starter has asked for $11.8 million in salary arbitration, a figure that’s $3.75 million above the club’s offer for 2014. Masterson’s gap — Cleveland is offering $8.05 million — is the largest among pending cases.
Tomlin is seeking $975,000, while the Indians are offering $800,000.