It became clear to me earlier this offseason that the Cleveland Indians were one of the few MLB teams would benefit the most from standing pat amid the free agent frenzy that happens each and every winter. In a strange turn of events, the Indians actually listened and decided to stray away from the inconsistencies of the open market and continue to grow within instead!
First and foremost: Thank you, Cleveland general manager Chris Antonetti for not shooting yourself in the foot.
Rather than soil an already deep roster with fluky and expensive players like Ervin Santana, Nelson Cruz or Fernando Rodney the Indians stood firm and kept everything in-house. Now, the positive impact of having a light offseason in terms of big-boy contracts is that it opens to door for current players under contract to iron out new and convenient deals.
Thus, Michael Brantley and the Indians agreed to a four-year pact worth $25 million that includes a team option for the fifth year. Needless to say, this was a very team-friendly deal as Cleveland now has inexpensive control over Brantley until at least his age 31 season. After a career year in 2013, Brantley was one of few youngsters on the Indians’ roster to get paid this winter as the outfielder inches closer to that elite category of “five-tool” players.
A four-year commitment to Brantley may seem minor, yet it’s the kind of move that gives you a good idea in terms of what the Indians have planned for the near future. And judging off of this most recent move; Cleveland is taking all of the steps necessary to become World Series contenders once again.