Cleveland Indians: 4 biggest mistakes haunting Tribe in 2019

Cleveland Indians Derek Dietrich (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Cleveland Indians Derek Dietrich (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /
3 of 5
Cleveland Indians
Cleveland Indians (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images) /

2. Bye-bye Brantley

If you’re a nine-figure free agent, the Cleveland Indians weren’t going to give you the time of day during the Hot Stove season.

Clearly tasked with scaling back payroll, Tribe front office honchos Chris Anatonetti and Mike Chernoff identified where the team could save money and then make the cuts accordingly.

Michael Brantley was one of the losses. He made $11.5 million in his final season with the Tribe, which included an All-Star appearance. It was easy to shed his money from the payroll.

But wow, could the Indians use him now. Despite entering the offseason with several big question marks in the outfield, the Indians have yet to give any solid answers.

This goes back to the $4.5 million they’re paying Salazar.

Ask yourself. Would you pay Brantley the same price tag he was making last year, this season? Of course you would. He’s batting .326 (.918 OPS). He’d be the Indians best player.

OK, obviously, the Indians weren’t going to get him at $11.5 million. Well, give him Salazar’s $4.5 million and your just $500,000 short of what he’s making this season with the Astros, the team that swept the Tribe out of the ALDS last October.

The Astors ended up getting Brantley for two years at $32 million. It’s not a crazy contract and it’s not a long-term burden to carry should Brantley, a player with an injury history, get hurt.

No one expects the Indians to compete for Bryce Harper and Manny Machado, but keeping Brantley wouldn’t have been insane and it’s a black eye what is one of the better front offices in baseball.