News of Michael Brantley’s ankle surgery and four- to five-month recovery timeline raised questions as to whether the Indians will exercise his $12MM club option for the 2018 season. Indians president of baseball operations Chris Antonetti addressed the issue with reporters today, stating that the team is still “working through” the decision about whether to pick up Brantley’s option (link via Jordan Bastian of MLB.com). Antonetti also reemphasized that the team has “always envisioned [Brantley] being part of our organization, not only in 2018, but beyond.” Asked about potentially buying out Brantley’s option and negotiating an incentive-laden deal at a lower base rate, Antonetti declined to delve into hypothetical scenarios. Antonetti also noted that Brantley’s ankle didn’t trouble him when hitting, which is why he was included on the team’s ALDS roster.
A bit more from the AL Central…
- Royals GM Dayton Moore is taking his front office on a four-day trip to Atlanta to study Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., writes Rustin Dodd of the Kansas City Star. Moore feels strongly about not only educating a young front office that primarily grew up after the civil rights era on diversity, but also in studying Dr. King’s leadership, creative thinking and open-mindedness. Moore stressed to Dodd that he wants his staff to be naturally curious and open to viewing things through a different perspective. Said Moore: “When you’re in a leadership position and you’re expected to hire people, and you’re expected to embrace diversity and different culture and different races and all different walks of life, and people with great wisdom, and young people coming into the game with new ideas … if you really want to embrace and respect diversity, you need to study it.”
- While there were reports that Twins prospect Tyler Jay, the No. 6 overall pick in the 2015 draft, would require thoracic outlet surgery earlier this summer, the left-hander is healthy and pitching well in the Arizona Fall League, writes MLB.com’s Rhett Bollinger. Jay did miss nearly three months of the season with neck and shoulder issues, Bollinger continues, but TOS was ruled out by doctors. Rather, Jay was diagnosed with a shoulder impingement and biceps tendinitis. The Twins have moved Jay to the bullpen for the foreseeable future and expect him to open next season in Double-A Chattanooga. ESPN’s Keith Law recently wrote that Jay has been “electric” in the AFL. The 23-year-old could well emerge as a late-inning option in Minnesota next year.