Phillies free agency rumors: Team offered deal to Michael Brantley

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CLEVELAND, OH - OCTOBER 08: Michael Brantley #23 of the Cleveland Indians hits a sacrifice fly ball in the third inning to score Yan Gomes #7 (not pictured) against the Houston Astros during Game Three of the American League Division Series at Progressive Field on October 8, 2018 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - OCTOBER 08: Michael Brantley #23 of the Cleveland Indians hits a sacrifice fly ball in the third inning to score Yan Gomes #7 (not pictured) against the Houston Astros during Game Three of the American League Division Series at Progressive Field on October 8, 2018 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images) /
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With the Phillies looking to upgrade their outfield, the team has reportedly made an offer to former Indian Michael Brantley.

Bryce Harper may be the only outfielder on the minds of Phillies fans right now, but there are other talented outfielders in free agency as well. One of those other outfielders is longtime Indian Michael Brantley.

Paul Hoynes of Cleveland.com reported that the Phils are one of several teams who has already offered a contract to Brantley. The Braves and White Sox are the other two teams to offer Brantley. The Indians are expected to let him walk after not offering him a qualifying offer.

Brantley came back from injury in full force this year. After playing just 101 games between 2016 and 2017, he had a .309/.364/.468 line with 17 home runs, 76 runs batted in, 89 runs scored, and 3.6 Baseball-Reference wins above replacement this season. He was named to his second straight All-Star team.

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Brantley was the 20th-most valuable outfielder in the entire league this season per Fangraphs WAR. Among qualified outfielders, he ranked fifth in batting average and 17th in wRC+. He had the second-lowest strikeout rate among all qualified hitters in 2018.

Back in 2014, Brantley was a finalist for the American League MVP award. That year, he had a .327/.385/.506 line with 20 home runs, 97 runs batted in, and a 148 OPS+. He finished third behind Mike Trout and Victor Martinez.

Brantley only played left field in 2018, although he has some experience in center as well. He finished the season with a .996 fielding percentage, -3 defensive runs saved, and a 1.1 UZR/150.

Brantley’s defensive numbers aren’t great, but he is at least a better option than Rhys Hoskins out there.

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MLB Trade Rumors ranked Brantley as the 10th-best overall and third-best outfielder in free agency this year. Only Harper and A.J. Pollock rank ahead of him. MLBTR projected Brantley to get a three-year, $45 million contract this offseason, Considering Brantley was worth $28.1 million this year per Fangraphs, that’s more than a fair price to pay for him.

The main concerns with Brantley are his age and injury history.

As mentioned previously, he missed a lot of games in 2016 and 2017. At age 31, those injury concerns will continue. If he can avoid those injuries, he should remain a valuable bat in the lineup throughout his deal.

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If Philadelphia winds up not landing Harper or is just looking to make an upgrade in left field as well, Brantley is a great option to sign.

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