Should the Phillies pursue Michael Brantley?

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Phillies vs. Michael Brantley
29 April 2016: Cleveland Indians left fielder Michael Brantley (23) ready at the plate during the MLB game between the Philadelphia Phillies and the Cleveland Indians played at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia, PA. (Photo by Gavin Baker/Icon Sportswire)

The Phillies are once again a hot name for free agents this off-season. The club has spent plenty of money the past few free agencies, and thanks to a World Series appearance and an NL Pennant, the Phillies should be considered a prime destination by players.

With All-Star right fielder Bryce Harper expected to miss a good chunk of the season in 2023, the Phillies will need to replace his bat in the lineup. While the Phillies have plenty of options, like moving Kyle Schwarber and Nick Castellanos to the DH role more frequently, they could also give their younger players some opportunities. Guys like Darick Hell, Nick Maton, and Matt Vierling could see some more at-bats in the absence of Bryce.

However, if the Phillies seek a veteran to fill Harper’s spot in the lineup, I believe Michael Brantley would be an intriguing option for the Phils.

A Complimentary Piece for the Phillies

Adding a 5-time All-Star is never a bad thing, and in the case of Michael Brantley, there is reason to think he could become an All-Star again in 2023. The veteran outfield has spent the last few seasons with the Houston Astros and has been one of their better players.

Over the last five seasons, Brantley has been an All-Star three times. In the two seasons, he wasn’t elected to the mid-summer classic; he was injured. In those five seasons, he has hit .303 with an OPS of .832 over the course of those years.

The catch for Brantley is his injury history. He missed much of the 2022 season due to a right shoulder injury. He had to get surgery and did not play in a game after June. The Astros had to go out and add other talents to replace him, and as we saw in the World Series, it paid off.

Brantley is a contact first hitter. He looks to put the ball in play and to get on base. He can lead off for the Phillies and play a serviceable left field. Defensively he would be a minor upgrade over Kyle Schwarber, but any team that adds Michael Brantley is signing him for his bat.

His addition would make a ton of sense for the Phillies. He can bat anywhere in the order, and when Bryce gets to bat, he becomes a strong piece off the bench. While Michael might want to sign somewhere he can start full-time, the Phillies’ flexibility with the corner outfield and DH spots can keep him in the lineup once Bryce returns. Playing for a contending team will be an intriguing option if he does not return to Houston.

Potential Contract

Michael Brantley is coming off a 2-year / 32 million dollar deal with the Astros this season. Since he missed most of the season, it would be hard to envision a team giving him a multi-year deal, unless its the Astros. Brantley would then become a fantastic addition on a one-year deal, making the Phillies a potential option.

If the Phillies could add Brantley to the team for 1 year and anywhere in the 10-14 million dollar range, I believe it would be in their best interest. A lefty bat to fill Harper’s in the first half of the season while also providing high on-base skills with a low strikeout rate is just what this team needs. Brantley is a well-respected veteran who has won the World Series; his playoff experience would fit right in with a Phillies team that just took a trip to the big dance.

The chances are Michael Brantley will most likely land back in Houston. But if he does end up with another club, the Phillies should, at the very least, explore their options.

Photo by Gavin Baker/Icon Sportswire