Updated 2/10 (9:51 ET): The Indians have reached a four-year, $25 million deal with left fielder Michael Brantley, Paul Hoynes of the Plain Dealer reports. The deal also includes an option for a fifth year at $11 million, according to Hoynes.
The two sides appear to be discussing a four-year deal, with an option for a fifth season, according to Hoynes. The 26-year-old outfielder is in his first arbitration-eligible season, so such a deal would buy out his remaining arbitration-eligible seasons along with at least one year of free agency.
Brantley hit .284/.332/.396 with 10 home runs and 17 stolen bases for the Indians last year. Originally drafted by the Brewers, Brantley came to the Indians organization as the player to be named later in the trade that sent CC Sabathia to Milwaukee in July of 2008. He made a strong impression with Cleveland in his first trip to the majors in 2009, hitting .313/.358/.348 in 121 plate appearances, but after making the major league team out of camp in 2010, he struggled early on and was forced to split the year between Cleveland and Triple-A. He became the team's primary left fielder in 2011. He shifted to center full time in 2012, but his defense was lacking there and thanks to the Michael Bourn signing he was able to return to left last season. His defense has been rated poorly by most defensive metrics at both positions, but he has hit better than league average in each of the last two seasons and added to his offensive value with a strong running game.
Before these reports, Brantley appeared to be headed to arbitration to determine his 2014 salary. The Indians had submitted a bid of $2.7 million and Brantley had filed for $3.8 million.
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