Buster Olney reports that the Cleveland Indians do not plan on giving a qualifying offer to outfielder Michael Brantley. The qualifying offer this year is for one-year and $17.9 million.
An interesting move, but it’s hard to say whether it’s a good one.
On the one hand, Brantley hit .309/.364/.468 with 17 home runs, 76 RBI and 12 stolen bases over 143 games last season and, beyond him, the Indians outfield depth chart looks like a dang train wreck. The currently penciled-in left fielder is a second baseman. The currently penciled-in center fielder nearly friggin’ died last summer. Yes, there’s a chance the Indians add someone else or that Jason Kipnis and Leonys Martin have nice comeback years, but the cupboard is kinda bare out there right now.
On the other hand, Brantley will be 32 early next season and, his nice 2018 aside, has has been far from durable of late. $17.9 million for a single season may be worth that kind of gamble to a lot of teams but the Indians are far less free with their money than just about any contender.
I have no idea if not giving him a qualifying offer is a good move, but Brantley may prove to be one of the more interesting test cases as to where the free agent market stands this year.