Why A's should pass on outfielder Michael Brantley in free agency


Michael Brantley surely will be a hot commodity this offseason.

The 31-year-old outfielder has made back-to-back All-Star Games, slashing .309/.364/.468 this past season with 17 home runs, 36 doubles and 76 RBI. In 10 career seasons, all with the Cleveland Indians, he has a slash line of .295/.351/.430.
While Brantley figures to be a solid addition to whatever team he joins in free agency, the A's don't need any help in the outfield. Between Stephen Piscotty, Ramón Laureano, Nick Martini, Mark Canha, Chad Pinder and Dustin Fowler, Oakland is set for years to come.
Brantley might provide a slight upgrade in left field, but even that is uncertain. Throughout his career, he has averaged 13 homers and 81 RBI per 162 games, with a .781 OPS. Compare that to A's left fielders last season, who notched 18 home runs and 61 RBI with a .761 OPS. Pretty close, right?
Oakland's current outfielders also own the advantage of youth. Sure, Brantley still is in his prime, but he's probably on the back end. Meanwhile, all six of the A's aforementioned outfielders are 28 or younger. Laureano, Pinder and Fowler, in particular, have tremendous upside and could reach Brantley's level in the near future. Piscotty already is there.
Then, of course, you also have to look at salaries. Brantley earned $12 million last season and is projected to receive around $15 million per year in his next contract. The A's six outfielders will make less than that combined.
Oakland's outfield is in great shape for the next several years. Any major free agent discussions should begin and end with starting pitching.

For those reasons, the A's should respectfully pass on Brantley.

Editor's note: This week across the NBC Sports Regional Networks, we'll be taking an in-depth look at some of the top free agents in baseball. Tuesday is dedicated to free agent outfielder Michael Brantley.
How Brantley could help solve one of the Giants' biggest issues
Why Phillies should pursue Brantley if they whiff on Harper
Does Brantley really fit the White Sox's long-term plan?
Brantley should be far down on Red Sox's free agent list
Could Nats signing Brantley soften blow of losing Harper?

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