Well, we reckoned that there would be some free agent activity this week as guys try to get things pinned down in advance of the holidays – it’s nice to know where you’re going to be next year – and sure enough, we have a big signing.
And sure enough, it’s not the Cubs:
#Astros closing in on free-agent outfielder Michael Brantley, sources tell The Athletic. Rival executives expect deal to be in two-year, $32M range.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) December 17, 2018
Michael Brantley is in agreement with the Houston Astros on a two-year, $32 million deal, sources tell Yahoo Sports. Straight two-year deal, no options. Still some work for it to be official, but the terms are in place.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) December 18, 2018
Brantley, 31, was one of the few impact bats in the outfield on this year’s market, albeit one that comes with boatloads of injury concerns (hence why he gets only two years, while the similarly-valued Andrew McCutchen got three). The Cubs were tied to Brantley not so much by any hard-and-fast rumors, but instead by the speculative fit.
In the end, it’s pretty clear that the Cubs will make more modest additions on the positional side (like Daniel Descalso or Troy Tulowitzki) – absent shedding a lot of salary and/or a surprising trade – and, that being the case, a guy like Brantley was not going to be in the cards. (Clearly the Cubs are just saving it all for Bryce Harper, AMIRITE.)
So, I guess this is your moment to keep on rooting for the Cubs to either pull a surprising salary dump out of their pocket, or pull some cash out of that pocket.