As the Atlanta Braves continue to search for an outfielder, we look at why Michael Brantley is the perfect replacement for Nick Markakis.
Let me start by saying that I love Nick Markakis and what he did for the Atlanta Braves over his four years. When the Braves made that deal it was a bit of a head-scratcher as the team started the rebuild.
But looking back, that might be one of the best free agent signings in recent memory for the Braves, and I’m so glad he got to see this team get back to the postseason.
However, I firmly believe that Nick’s day with Atlanta is done… unless he is willing to take a pay cut on a one or two year deal to be a role player. Even then, it doesn’t make a lot of sense for the Braves to spend that much money on a 35-year-old.
With that mind, I honestly think Michael Brantley is the perfect replacement for Nick in right field. Of course, with any free agent or trade, it’s a great fit depending on the cost.
It’s said that Brantley is looking for a four-year deal with an AAV near $20 million. In my opinion, I would not feel comfortable giving that much money to an aging outfielder with an injury history.
When you look back at that Nick Markakis signing, he was 31 when the Braves signed him to a four-year $44 million deal.
Brantley will play most of next season at 32, so I think a deal for three years at around $12 or $13 million would make a lot of sense.
If the Braves can get him at that price, then I would have to think they jump all over Brantley.
The two players are very similar, but I think Brantley is a more established hitter with a career .295 average and .351 on-base percentage, compared to .288/.358 for Nick.
Brantley also brings a little more power, but not much more. He hit 17 homers last year in 143 games, while Nick had 14 in 162 games.
While Brantley hasn’t won a Gold Glove, he’s known to be a very solid defender as he was a center fielder during his early years.
The only real difference between the two is their durability. Nick has played in at least 155 games the last six seasons, and has only played in less than 147 games once in his career.
Brantley has some series health issues in 2016 and 2017 when he played a combined 101 games. He only has two seasons under his belt where he’s played more than 150 games.
It sounds like the Braves are hoping to build their depth in 2019 to give guys more rest, which could be good for Brantley. But it would be a risk to give someone with health issues a big deal.
But if the Braves believe is healthy – and if they can get him at the price mentioned above – he would be the perfect replacement for Nick Markakis.