acquired from the Milwaukee Brewers for SP C.C. Sabathia
While Matt LaPorta headlined this trade back in 2008, Brantley emerged as the Tribe’s selection as the player to be named later. At the time of his arrival, Shapiro immediately pegged Brantley as much more than just a throw-in piece, saying (via Paul Hoynes of the Northeast Ohio Media Group):
"We like him because he gives us a combination of plate discipline, speed and athleticism. We think he can help our run production with his discipline at the plate and speed on the bases."
Fast forward to 2015, Brantley has been just that for the Indians over the last two seasons. Shapiro was absolutely spot on with his evaluation of Brantley in literally every regard. Brantley was a legitimate MVP candidate last season, as he hit .327 with 20 home runs and 23 stolen bases. Brantley was one of the best hitters in baseball with runners in scoring position.
Even better than all that, the Indians signed Brantley to a team-friendly four-year extension worth $25 million last February and hold a club option for $11 million in year five.
Side Note: It’s hard to knock the Indians’ front office for missing on LaPorta given the fact that LaPorta was widely regarded as a coveted prospect by many top baseball scribes and evaluators.
Next: Enter Cy Kluber