hey, Brantley fans! the uncertainty surrounding Michael's future with the Tribe should be settled by the weekend, if not sooner, depending on when the World Series ends and whether or not the Indians wait the allotted three days after its conclusion to publicize their decision. (if the Houston Astros beat the Los Angeles Dodgers tonight in Game 6 and become World Champions, the Indians have until Friday, November 3 to make/announce their decision. however, if the Dodgers win and the Series goes to a Game 7, then the "deadline" is Saturday, November 4.)
normally, i would prefer to accumulate more news before posting a blog such as this, but because we're about to find out the status of Michael's contract, i thought i would give y'all what i have as of right now real quick. so here is everything i've heard about Michael--with a focus on his $12 million club option for 2018--since the Indians were eliminated by the New York Yankees in Game 5 of the American League Division Series on October 11.
October 13: Indians manager Terry Francona, President of Baseball Operations Chris Antonetti, and General Manager Mike Chernoff got together for an hour long sit-down to answer questions about the 2017 season, the playoffs, and the offseason.
Jordan Bastian has the highlights from it transcribed in detail on his blog at bastian.mlblogs.com. i am only fixating on the parts that involve Michael, beginning with if it was a tough decision to carry Michael on the 25-man ALDS roster while he was rusty offensively.
"i don't know about a tough decision," Francona replied. "i didn't think we all anticipated that he would have to play as much as he did. or if he did, he kind of worked his way into it. you saw his at-bat when he came back. we kind of thought we could envision that at-bat in a playoff game, where he helped us win a game. we lost Edwin [Encarnacion] and it seemed to make sense to me, facing some right-handers to not put him in the outfield. our other alternative was Lonnie [Chisenhall], who didn't have a heck of a lot more at-bats than him."
regarding Michael's club option, "it's a significant decision for us," admitted Antonetti, "but as we told Michael, we've always envisioned him being part of the organization, not only for 2018, but beyond. that's been our mindset from the beginning. there's a process that we need to work through with making those decisions. at the same time, Michael needs to go through the process of just getting healthy and figuring out what his plan needs to be. there is no player on our team that goes about things better than Michael does: the teammate that he is, how hard he's worked and prepared. he sets that standard for our guys. we have a profound appreciation for what he's done and how he does it."
Tito added, "there's no better feeling--i walked into my office one day and Chris was sitting to the side of my desk and Brantley was sitting next to him and they were talking about him trying to play and all the things that it involved. i just turned around and walked out, because i wanted them to have the chance to talk, because i knew what it was about. it's a good feeling. not everything is always perfect. there's so much gray, but i knew they were communicating about it. i was thrilled about that."
October 19: the Cleveland Indians put out a Press Release on indians.com revealing that Michael had right ankle surgery on October 18. it was an arthroscopic surgery done to stabilize ligaments in the joint, performed by Dr. Robert Anderson in Charlotte, North Carolina. following a four- to five-month recovery period, Michael can resume full baseball activity.
according to Bastian's
blog on bastian.mlblogs.com, this surgery will impact whether the Indians pick up Michael's 2018 club option. "that's something
we're still working through," Antonetti disclosed. "what we know about
Michael is, when he's healthy, he's been really productive. so, the
things we have to weigh are the expected level of productivity and how
available he'll be to perform. those are the things that we'll have to
weigh, and that's what we'll spend some time here working through over
the next couple weeks.
think the good news about this is we have clarity about the path
forward with his ankle and the outcomes with this surgery are really
good. based upon the time frame we've been given from the doctors, we
expect him to be ready for the start of the season or very close to the
start of the season next year, which would make him available to us. i
think, what we've seen, when Michael has been healthy and on the field,
he's been an exceedingly productive player and he continues to be a
critical and important person within our organization."
i wrote a separate blog with much more information on the procedure, why the Indians allowed Michael to play in the postseason, and potentially restructuring his contract here: Brantley Undergoes Right Ankle Surgery, Recovery Will Take 4-5 Months.
October 21: in the latest Hey, Hoynsie article on cleveland.com, someone asked Paul Hoynes why the Indians should pick up Michael's option. he responded, "one way or the other i think Brantley will be back with the Indians next year. i think there's too much common ground between the parties not to get something done."
other people in the article go on to express that they would like to get rid of Michael, too. i hope these people--Bob of Mansfield, OH; Denny of Arlington, VA; Joe of Powell, OH; and Phil of Charlotte, NC--do not kiss Michael's ass if the Tribe does retain him and he puts up All Star numbers again.🙄 (oh, and it's too bad that guy in Charlotte didn't go to the hospital where Brant had his surgery and say his comment to Michael's face.😒)
then in Terry Pluto's Terry's Talkin' on cleveland.com, he wrote that he expects the Indians to pick up Michael's option. there are a few factually incorrect things in the column, but for the most part, he gives good reasons as to why the team should keep Michael around. the biggest shock was reading that "if they try to rework his contract, they believe Brantley will elect to become a free agent." he also states that the Tribe believes Michael would easily receive $11 million or more on the open market next year if they allow him to become a FA.
Pluto made two other points in his article: "Brantley is their guy. they believe in him. it's a one-year deal, so they can let him go after 2018 if there are more injuries;" and "if Brantley has a monster 2018 season, they can give him a qualifying offer for 2019. if he signs it, they can keep him. if he wants to be a free agent, the Tribe will receive a draft pick as compensation." that basically ends my idea for a new modified contract where he signs for another two to three years.😞
October 29: in the most recent Terry's Talkin' by Pluto on cleveland.com, he reiterated that the Indians want to keep Michael on his deal and to look for his option to be picked up.
the consensus, at least what's been broadcast to the public, seems to be that Michael Brantley will be a Cleveland Indian in 2018. but until that hearsay has been made official, i refuse to get my hopes up and shall remain apprehensive. you never know what can happen in this baseball business.😟
what do you think: will the Indians exercise Michael's option? will they rework his contract and sign him for multiple years? or will they just let him go and buy him out for $1 million? leave a comment below.💭
it's possible that both Michael and the Indians already know what's to come and the team is simply holding out on the announcement right now. whenever the news breaks, i'll have all the info on my twitter, so make sure you're following me @clevelandgirl23 for that, and i'll also be writing a blog about the decision. if you'd like to receive notifications whenever i post that and other new blogs throughout this offseason, you can sign up for my subscription list by entering your email address in the box underneath the Blog Archive sidebar over on the upper right side of the page.📧