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Astros Shock Baseball By Re-Signing Michael Brantley

Welcome Back, Michael. Even though you never really left.

MLB: ALCS-Houston Astros at Tampa Bay Rays Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

Just goes to show, you can’t believe everything you hear.

The day started off really rough for Astros fans with the late-night rumors that George Springer was set to sign with the Blue Jays. Then it was confirmed that the beloved Springer signed a six-year deal to play with the up-and-coming Blue Jays team for $150 million. Yes, the writing was on the wall, but Springer represented a light at the end of the tunnel during the process. With the passion and energy he played with, he will be missed.

But to add insult to injury, there were some rumors that the Blue Jays were looking to bring in Springer’s buddy Michael Brantley as well. Looking at the Blue Jays depth chart, it made little sense for them to add both outfielders. However, that lineup would be imposing to any pitching staff. But those are rumors, right? You can’t BOGO an outfielder.

Then the reports started the Blue Jays signed Brantley as well Wednesday morning. Hazel Mae, among others, started reporting that Brantley signed with the Blue Jays according to a source. Later the Blue Jays refuted her report saying they are interested, but were not close to signing the 33-year-old Brantley. During a slow offseason, it appears that people are eager to get players signed.

It Didn’t Make Sense.

Still, I kept thinking, are Springer and Brantley that close of friends where Brantley would move to Canada to play with him? This is not the NBA when stars try to create the big three types of dynamics, sorry Nets. It didn’t make sense. All I could think about is tonight’s Locked On Astros podcast would be so somber losing Springer and Brantley. Give it a listen tomorrow, it should be exciting!

Even yesterday I kept denying the Springer reports, but I don’t believe the rumors until the big boys start Tweeting it. Well, that is unless it’s Mark Berman who always seems to know when a player is at the airport. When it comes to Houston TV reporters, Berman is right more often than not.

Not So Fast!

Despite all the conflicting reports that Brantley signed with the Blue Jays, Berman dropped a bomb on that discussion with this Tweet. Brantley re-signed with the Astros for a 2-year deal. After losing Springer and potentially Josh Reddick to free agency, Brantley then returned back to Houston.

Later, Berman’s report was confirmed by Bob Nightengale. Then, Buster Olney, reported that it was a 2- year, $32 million deal to return to Houston. Olney even tweeted out that the Blue Jays were never close to signing Brantley. Sportrac had Brantley’s market value at $21.3 million, but the market is what some team will give you. You might be having some Deja-Vu, this is the exact length and money amount he agreed to before the 2019 season.

What do you expect from a consistent bat like Brantley? Consistency! There were rumors earlier in the off-season that Brantley and the Astros were interested in reuniting. Maybe Brantley was engaging with other teams. But maybe now that Springer signed with the Blue Jays, this opens the floodgates a little with free agency. Because Brantley signed for $16 million AAV, this saves the Astros $5 million-ish to maybe go get a closer.

Brantley now joins Kyle Tucker and TBA in the Astros outfield. Many will question how much outfield Brantley can play, but Yordan Alvarez is the primary designated hitter. Now Dusty Baker has one more piece to the lineup puzzle, but the center field still has a blank. Yes, there are internal replacements in center for Springer. But is James Click done with the outfield? We shall see! But it’s great to see Uncle Mike back in the fold with the Astros!

More to come on The Crawfish Boxes.