Finally, we come to Michael Brantley who had to overcome a lot in 2023 to even make it back on the field at all. Since 2019, Brantley has proven himself to be one of Houston's more savvy pickups. In his five seasons with the Astros, he has averaged a .305/.365/.463 line and made a pair of All-Star Games along the way.
The problem the last couple of years, of course, has been his health. During the 2022 season, he suffered a torn labrum in his shoulder which forced him to have surgery. After suffering a setback during his rehab from the injury, Brantley only played 15 games in the regular season in 2023 although he did make the postseason roster where he was poor to mediocre at best.
If there was some assurance that Brantley could approach being the hitter he was before he got hurt, then bringing him back on another short-term deal would make plenty of sense. However, with his recent injury history and the simple fact that he is 36 years old, it is hard to come up with a deal that would make both sides happy to bring him back. The Astros would need to protect themselves in the event that his body continues to break down, but Brantley may want more financial security that he could likely find elsewhere.
Maybe an incentive laden one-year deal is the answer and that remains a possibility as Brantley has been a big part of the Astros' clubhouse over the last few years. However, the smarter bet is probably that Brantley's time with Houston has come to an end.
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