Mandatory Credit: Photo by David J Phillip/AP/Shutterstock (12993246n) Houston Astros’ Michael Brantley bats against the Chicago White Sox during the first inning of a baseball game, in Houston Astros Baseball, Houston, United States – 19 Jun 2022
The Astros reportedly have agreed to a deal with Michael Brantley to return for one season at $12 million with incentives, pending a physical.
This is the kind of move that separates the Astros. It is easy to forget because he got injured last season and missed the playoff run, but Brantley has been a perfect Astro. His hitting style fits nicely into the lineup. He is a clubhouse leader.
He also solidifies a dangerous lineup. Presumably, Brantley will play DH and perhaps some left field. Either way, the lineup goes seven deep with Jose Altuve, Jeremy Pena, Yordan Alvarez, Alex Bregman, Kyle Tucker, Jose Abreu, and now Brantley. That lineup matches up with anyone. With the pitching staff they have, the Astros are a real threat to repeat in 2023. There are still some holes, particularly at catcher behind Martín Maldonado, and you would like an upgrade in center field. But if this is what the Astros start the season with? They are going to be serious contenders.
They likely are not done yet. There are still trades to be made. But in the Jim Crane era, the Astros just keep making smart moves. Bringing back Brantley is just the latest of those.