The Houston Astros are reportedly close to a deal with free agent outfielder Michael Brantley, the ten-year veteran of the Cleveland Indians.
According to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, the Astros are nearing an agreement with Michael Brantley on a two-year deal in the $32 million range. Brantley would be that highly coveted DH/outfielder Luhnow has been seeking, to add left-handed support to the lineup.
Michael Brantley, 31, is a three-time All-Star with a career slash line of .295/.351/.430. Last season he belted 17 HRs while knocking in 76 RBIs and scoring 89 runs. The left-handed batter has one of the best contact rates in baseball and also adds some speed on the base paths, averaging 18 stolen bases per season. He was one of only three batters with a strikeout percentage of 10% or less in 2018.
Adding that lefty to the Astros line up would be a big advantage over last season. In 2018 Houston had an OPS of .803 against left-handers and .733 against righties. Last season Brantley had an OPS of .781 against LH pitchers and .848 against RH pitchers.
Brantley is also an excellent asset to the outfield as a defensive player. He has a career .994 fielding percentage as an outfielder, which is 3rd among active outfielders and a .995 percentage while playing in left field, 1st out of all active left fielders.
What this means for the future of Kyle Tucker is yet to be seen. Could this possibly open up the possibility of using Tucker or Josh Reddick as trade bait for one of the top-tier pitchers that remain on the market or maybe a play at J. T. Realmuto? Whatever happens down the road is still a question, but one thing is for sure, they’ve added a talented left-handed bat to the lineup and a skilled fielder to man left.