Happy Almost New Year, Brantley fans! we're coming down the homestretch of the offseason, as spring training is right around the corner!😎 but first, here's the latest and last news about Michael from 2017. while there wasn't much information this month regarding his rehab and recovery from right ankle surgery, we at least now know what position he'll be playing with the Indians in 2018.
there's also a surprise at the end of this post detailing something i'll be starting in the new year, so be sure to read it!
for all the offseason 2017 news from October and November, plus my argument to keep Michael in left field (before we officially found out where he'd be playing), please read my previous blogs:
Brantley News from October 2017
Brantley News from November 2017 & Why He Shouldn't Move to 1st Base
December 5: in an article on indians.com, Jordan Bastian discussed some of the Tribe's needs for 2018. he once again stated that Cleveland might consider moving Michael
to first base and having him split time there and at designated hitter with Edwin Encarnacion. then, Jason Kipnis could play left field.
December 9: the breaking news that Giancarlo Stanton approved a trade to the New York Yankees got everyone in baseball buzzing. i immediately realized that that just made it more difficult for Michael to get an All Star nod as an outfield reserve on the American League team next year (assuming he plays left field for the Tribe in 2018). i can't help it, my brain is automatically programmed to think like that--all Brantley, all the time.😉
more importantly, Paul Hoynes again addressed the possibility that Michael might be moved to first base if the Indians don't re-sign Carlos Santana in his cleveland.com article. Hoynsie also reported that Chris Antonetti, President of Baseball Operations, said the organization will have a better idea of where Kipnis and Michael fit by January or early February.
December 10: at the commencement of the Winter Meetings in Orlando, Florida, we got more of the same in another Hoynsie article on cleveland.com. "if the Indians don't sign Santana, they'll need a replacement at first base. prospect Bobby Bradley doesn't appear to be ready, but there has been talk of Michael Brantley, recovering from right ankle surgery, making the move from left field to first. Edwin Encarnacion could play first and Lonnie Chisenhall could offer some platoon help."
December 11: finally, there was some actual news about Michael's recovery from ankle surgery. Zack Meisel put out a tweet that the Indians are encouraged by Michael's rehab process. the team trainer visited with him a couple weeks ago and everything checked out well. T.J. Zuppe followed that up with a quote from Antonetti: "we'll know more when he starts ground-based activities, starts running and cutting, things like that. but so far it's gone really well."
later, Bastian had more details in his blog on bastian.mlblogs.com. he revealed, via Antonetti, that Michael had a checkup with head athletic trainer James Quinlan a couple weeks ago and the report was good. his timetable of 4-5 months (from October 18) remains the same. four months would be February 18, the day position players are to arrive at spring training.
when the question of if Michael could move to first base was brought up to Terry Francona, the manager wasn't sure. "i don't know. Brant's open to whatever we would like him to do. he just wants to know ahead of time so he can prepare. again, i think we have to see where we're at as a team. it would be nice to know that guys are willing. but i think right now, he's an outfielder."
Bastian's article on indians.com continued the song and dance of Michael being a real option as the Indians' 1st baseman in 2018. "barring an external addition, or a trade to free up Cleveland's positional logjam, Brantley moving to first base -- a position he has not played since 2008 in Double A -- might grow into a more serious consideration.
"...with center fielder Bradley Zimmer healthy again, Kipnis would then become a possibility for left field if the team wants to keep [Jose] Ramirez at second. that would potentially mean Brantley, who has battled injuries in each of the past three seasons, could move to first from left. Brantley and Edwin Encarnacion could divvy up the at-bats between first and designated hitter."
no matter where Michael ends up playing, Tito made sure to tell the media that "he's itchin' to go. he is itchin'."
December 12: in an excerpt from Hoynsie's article on cleveland.com, he noted that Michael is questionable for the start of the year.
December 13: according to a tweet from Bastian, Francona was asked if the Indians have internal options to fill 1st base if Santana doesn't return and he responded, "we have guys we could [play there]. i think we'd probably like to sign somebody." and in his indians.com article, Bastian wrote that Francona mentioned Encarnacion and Chisenhall as possible replacements, but not Michael.
December 15: Santana agreed to a three-year, $60 million deal with the Philadelphia Phillies (see my Goodbye Slamtana blog for more information), and all i could think about was the potential repercussion of that for Michael in 2018. turns out, i wasn't the only one.
in Bastian's article on indians.com, Kipnis acknowledged the trade rumors involving him and what position he might play next year. i'm going to spotlight one statement in particular and might i say, his honesty was a bit shocking: "do i think i can handle left and Brantley can handle first? probably, but is this what we really want to be doing right now while we're competing? i don't know." i'm with Kip on this. if a player is even skeptical about that alignment, then how can a manager confidently allow it? seems like Kip really wants to move back to 2nd base, but if that isn't what the team wants, well... maybe he should have given a different answer because he could have just gotten himself traded lol
Hoynsie's cleveland.com article on Santana's deal once again included how there has been talk about moving Michael to first base.
Terry Pluto's Scribbles article on cleveland.com cautioned that Encarnacion is not a regular first baseman, but can play there at times, and the Indians have Michael and possibly Chisenhall who can play some first base as well. in addition, he thinks Yandy Diaz could play there if that was his one designated position. however, Pluto's "but i still expect the Indians to sign and/or trade for a hitter" didn't clarify if he meant a 1st baseman, or just a hitter to replace Santana in general.
Joe Noga compiled a reaction article on cleveland.com highlighting fans' tweets after the Santana news broke. one person on twitter, @Steelixite_, was super pissed, tweeting "great job @Indians, you kept Michael Brantley but couldn't manage to keep Carlos Santana..." okay, i want to live in that world where apparently $12 million and $60 million are the same thing, please.🙄 i knew Brant would somehow get the blame here. all i can do is keep telling the haters not to kiss Michael's ass next year when he's healthy and playing at an All Star level again.💋
another Bastian article on indians.com suggested an internal solution of Encarnacion sliding over to first base, with outfielders Brantley and Chisenhall, or third baseman Diaz also presenting possibilities. JB ended his ponderings with, "it is more likely that Cleveland tries to fill that need via an external addition."
lastly, Hoynsie's second Santana article of the day on cleveland.com disclosed that it sounds like Michael will miss part of April. then when reviewing the options for 1st base again, he mused, "versatility is a good thing, but are the Indians really going to move Brantley from left field to first base to stay out of harm's way? isn't there much more action/danger at first base than in the outfield?" yes! Hoynsie, are you reading my blogs? lol finally, somebody pointed out something i've been saying for months!👏👏👏
December 18: the Indians unveiled their video holiday card which featured the miniball team! in it, Michael is fishing (one of his favorite offseason activities) with Cody Allen at the 0:04 mark. so cute.🎣
in an evening cleveland.com article from Hoynsie, he went over first base candidates and contended that Michael was perhaps an option already on the roster. he referenced that Michael played first base in the minors with Milwaukee and the Indians could move him to first from left field following two injury-shortened seasons, but that seems doubtful. (yes!😁)
December 20: in Pluto's early morning article on cleveland.com, he again listed Michael, who played some first in the minors, as a possibility to replace Santana at first base.
Ryan Lewis' afternoon ohio.com article named Michael as an option for 1st as well, explaining: "the often-injured Michael Brantley could be moved to first base to ease some of the stress put on his body over a grinding 162-game season, something that could also solve the issue of where to put Jason Kipnis, who could move to left field." geez, Michael has a sprained ankle and all the sudden there's stress put on his body in a regular season? smh.
just after 9:30 pm, Bob Nightengale killed all the Brantley to 1st base rumors when he announced Yonder Alonso had agreed to a deal with the Indians. soon after, Ken Rosenthal specified it's a two-year deal worth $16 million with a third year $8 million vesting option. see you in left field then, Brant!😀
Hoynsie's article on cleveland.com confirmed the deal. "the signing of Alonso would appear to mean that speculation of Michael Brantley moving from left field to first base was just that -- speculation. Brantley has missed large chunks of the last two seasons with injuries and is currently recovering from right ankle surgery. he played first in the minors and the Indians talked about moving him to first base to keep him out of harm's way."
Bastian concurred the deal effectively puts a halt to the talk of potentially moving Michael to first base in his indians.com article, and now Brant can focus solely on his rehab from right ankle surgery (which is what i said he should be focusing on all along) without worrying about a position change on top of it (something no writer gave two craps about, with most insinuating it would be so simple to do over the past two months, but whatever). i'm so glad all this 1st base nonsense is over.😉
December 23: per Bastian's twitter, Antonetti was asked if Kipnis in left field is a contingency plan for Brantley (if he's not ready for Opening Day). "that's possible, yes." he still needs to talk to Kipnis about a position plan, and whether moving back and forth is an option.
and in Bastian's blog on bastian.mlblogs.com, Antonetti explicitly proclaimed, "i think at this point, with the way we're currently configured, left field would be the most likely position for Michael."👏👍
now i'd like to put a comment on record from Meisel voicing his disapproval of the Tribe's exercising of Brantley's option while not spending money to retain other Indians free agents. "...and it really makes you wonder if about the value in committing $12 million to a guy who had ankle surgery and might not be ready for Opening Day." good to know where you stand, ZM.
i'm not an objective writer. i don't have to be because this is my blog and i'm not getting paid by the Indians or other outlets to write this. but when an objective writer breaks from reporting the facts and puts his true feelings out there, and they're anti-Brantley and i read it, i'm not just gonna ignore that. it really irks me how some of the guys who will be shoving their recorders and phones in Michael's face come spring training and the regular season clearly did not want him back on the team. imagine them in the locker room like, "if i was in charge, i wouldn't have brought you back, but can i get a quote?" smh. sigh.
December 31: Bastian's closing article of 2017 on indians.com declared that Michael's health and ability to stay on the field will be an important storyline for the 2018 season. he further cited that Michael is once again questionable for Opening Day, just like last year, but the Indians will need him on the field and being productive to help make up for the loss of Santana.
so that's all the news from 2017! keep following me on twitter @clevelandgirl23 for the latest on Michael's rehab progressions before he reports to Goodyear for spring training. position players are supposed to be there by February 18, which is 49 days away, but most fly out to Arizona at the beginning of Feb.😀👍
and don't forget, if you join my subscription list, you'll receive notifications every time i post a new blog. for that, simply enter your email address in the box underneath the Blog Archive sidebar over on the upper right side of the page.📧
Celebrating Michael Brantley!
if you're anything like me, then you're somewhat sad about 2018 because right now it's to be assumed that this is Michael's last year with the Indians.😢 but instead of fearfully tracking the amount of days left in the season until Michael will no longer be part of the squad, i have decided to do something much more positive.🙂 beginning on the first Monday of the regular season (April 2), i am going to initiate what i'm calling Celebrating Michael Brantley! i plan to look back through the archives of Michael's career with the Tribe and reminisce about the many exciting highlights from his time in Cleveland. so make sure you're following my twitter because that's where i'll be posting these memories/videos/blog links every Monday throughout the year. and if you want to get involved, you can use the hashtag #CelebratingMichaelBrantley to add some of your own personal favorite moments into the mix and i can see them!🙌
(i shouldn't even have to say it, but this is meant for supportive tweets only. if you're unhappy that the Indians picked up Michael's $12 million option and/or only want to harp on his past injuries, please just don't even bother. this is to show appreciation for Michael by recognizing how he has grown as a ballplayer and celebrating all that he's contributed in his 10 years with the Tribe. i understand i cannot control what other people choose to do, but i obviously have good intentions with this and nothing but love will be coming from me. #1fan💗)
before i go, i want to wish all my readers a very Happy New Year! thank you for reading and supporting my 216clevelandgirl.blogspot.com blog! and let's hope 2018 brings Michael an amazing, historic, and of course healthy baseball season!💪