Report: Michael Brantley's Blue Jays Contract Talks Stall After Initial Rumors

Jenna CiccotelliCorrespondent IIIJanuary 20, 2021

Houston Astros' Michael Brantley strikes out against the Texas Rangers during the fourth inning of a baseball game Wednesday, Sept. 2, 2020, in Houston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
David J. Phillip/Associated Press

Outfielder Michael Brantley didn't wind up with the Toronto Blue Jays after all. 

Hazel Mae of Sportsnet first reported Wednesday that the 33-year-old had agreed to a three-year deal with the Blue Jays. However, ESPN's Jeff Passan later noted there was no agreement in place, and the "Blue Jays are among the teams still in on Brantley, and a deal may eventually get done, but it is not finished."

Brantley then proceeded to sign a two-year, $32 million contract with the Houston Astros, according to ESPN's Buster Olney

Brantley played the first 10 seasons of his career in Cleveland, where he earned three All-Star nods and a Silver Slugger Award. He joined the Houston Astros on a two-year deal ahead of the 2019 season, earning his fourth All-Star selection that year.

He appeared in 26 games as the designated hitter in 2020, a career high, and hit .300/.364/.476 with 24 runs, five home runs and 22 RBI in addition to an American League-leading 15 doubles.

The Astros did not extend Brantley a qualifying offer, but The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal reported in November that the team was "trying to work out a deal" with him.

In Houston, Brantley filled the hole at designated hitter left by Yordan Alvarez, who missed most of the 2020 season. He was the odd man out in a cluttered outfield that included George Springer, Kyle Tucker and Josh Reddick.

Brantley and Springer could have been reunited in Toronto if the team had lured him away from Houston.

MLB Network's Jon Heyman reported Tuesday the Blue Jays agreed to a six-year, $150 million deal with Springer. Heyman added that Springer was doing his best to sell Brantley and Toronto "on working out a deal." 

Rosenthal reported the Blue Jays had "been in recent contact" with Brantley on Nov. 23.

Brantley has an existing relationship with Blue Jays general manager Ross Atkins. Atkins served as Cleveland's vice president of player personnel before heading to Toronto, where he reunited with longtime Cleveland executive Mark Shapiro, who joined the Blue Jays as their president and CEO in 2015.

However, it appears Springer's reported encouragement and Brantley's relationship with Atkins weren't enough to lure him away from Houston.