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MLB Roundup 12/18: Michael Brantley signs with Houston

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The Astros make a splash in the outfield

Boston Red Sox v Cleveland Indians Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images

Astros sign Michael Brantley to two-year deal

Perhaps it’s just me, but it seems as though the focus this offseason has been on all of the contenders who will challenge Boston’s attempt at repeating in 2019 except the Astros. Houston has been mostly quiet this winter so far, but they are still almost certainly the second-best team in the American League, if not baseball. The Red Sox will likely have to get through Houston again if they want to win another championship, and remember last year’s ALCS was tighter than the four game series length might suggest. Well, they made a move on Monday. The Astros added some outfield depth to the roster, grabbing Michael Brantley on a two-year deal worth $32 million.

This is a very good deal for the Astros, and it’s a bit of a surprise they were able to get him on such a team-friendly deal. Granted, the former Indians outfielder has had a lot of injury issues over his career, so the reasoning behind his seemingly shrunken market is there. Still, there are a lot of teams that could use a good corner outfielder (including the Yankees, possibly) but they let him get to the Astros. Houston now has one of the best contact hitters in the game to put atop their already-dangerous lineup. Brantley is expected to move around between left field and the DH spot, while possibly getting some time at first base as well. This could also make their top prospect, outfielder Kyle Tucker, more likely to go in a J.T. Realmuto trade. Houston still needs to rebuild its rotation, but that lineup remains terrifying.