9 moves the Cleveland Indians must make this offseason

CLEVELAND, OH - OCTOBER 11: Jason Kipnis
CLEVELAND, OH - OCTOBER 11: Jason Kipnis /
2 of 10
CLEVELAND, OH – AUGUST 06: Michael Brantley
CLEVELAND, OH – AUGUST 06: Michael Brantley /

1. Pick up Brantley’s option

The Indians should bring Michael Brantley back in 2018. The club holds an $11 million team option on the left fielder, and while he’s battling injury again, it’s worth taking the gamble.

Brantley’s injury history of the past two and a half seasons are a bummer, but remember, the Indians still play in a small market. While their payroll has increased as the team’s contended for the playoffs, they still need to make smart decisions.

Just look around at some of the other contracts around the baseball world. Matt Holiday, 37, got $13 million to hit .231 with 19 homers for the Yankees. Carlos Beltran, 40, made $16 millions to his .231 and 14 homers with Houston.

If the Indians tried to re-work his contract instead of just picking up his option, there’s a chance Brantley could fine greener pastures on the free-agent market.

Brantley, 30, hit .300 on the dot from 2014-2017, and was a .299 hitter in 2017.

He made the All-Star game after playing in just 11  games during the 2016 campaign..

There’s something to be said for Brantey’s resiliency. Plus, he’ll be a free agent in 2019, so he has incentive to have the best season possible.

If the Indians doctors are convinced Brantley can fully recover from his ankle injury, and team president Chris Antonetti signaled that is the belief, Brantley must stick around for 2018.

Some may worry about Brantley being another Grady Sizemore, but again, the Indians probably have to accept the risk. The Indians gave $5 million to an injured Sizemore following the 2011 season with the hopes he could again  become the player selected to  three straight All-Star games.

It didn’t happen. Sizemore’s damaged knees didn’t allow him to play at all during the 2012 and 2013 seasons. After stops in Boston, Philadelphia and Tampa, Sizemore was out of baseball by the end of 2015.

Because Brantley’s ankle injury differs from his shoulder, Tribe fans should feel a little more confident about his return to being a productive player.