Michael Brantley, Eddie Rosario headline former Cleveland players in the 2021 World Series
Fans of Cleveland sports are well accustomed to seeing players, coaches and full teams move on from the city and see success elsewhere. Whether it be LeBron James taking his talents to South Beach and winning two titles or the Baltimore Ravens winning two Super Bowls, the feeling is familiar. Unfortunately, the 2021 World Series is guaranteed to bring a little bit of those feelings back.
The Atlanta Braves and Houston Astros are set to square off in baseball’s final series of the season and both rosters feature former members of the Cleveland Indians organization. Some will play a more prominent role in the series than others, but should their team win they would get a ring all the same.
For the Houston Astros, the roster features long-time fan favorite Michael Brantley as well as trade deadline acquisition Phil Maton who was moved in the Myles Straw deal. Both are listed on the Astros’ roster for the series, but how much Maton will be used remains to be seen.
As for the other dugout, another trade deadline addition from Cleveland will suit up, this one in the form of Eddie Rosario for the Atlanta Braves. Rosario is the only former Cleveland player that will put on a uniform in the series with Josh Tomlin being on the injured list and not active.
Now, no disrespect to Maton or Tomlin, but the appearances of Brantley and Rosario in the World Series especially sting for Cleveland fans. Outfield has been a thorn in Cleveland’s side for multiple seasons now, essentially going back to when Brantley was allowed to walk in free agency. It would be one thing if they were just rostered, but both Brantley and Rosario have been key pieces in the success of their respective teams in the postseason.
For Rosario, it’s been well documented how important he has been to Atlanta’s push in the postseason, including winning the NLCS MVP award. In the postseason for the Braves, Rosario has gone 18-for-38 at the plate (.474) while posting an average of .560 in the NLCS against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
On top of the high averages at the plate, Rosario has belted three home runs, a double and a triple, all of which came in the NLCS. He also has tallied 11 RBI this postseason and thrown in six runs scored and a stolen base for good measure.
Moving to the other bench, Michael Brantley hasn’t had quite the same impact as Rosario, but he’s still been a pretty obvious piece to the puzzle in getting to this point in the season. This postseason, Brantley has gone 14-for-45 at the dish (.311) for the start of a strong line. Brantley’s bat has produced eight RBI for the Astros while adding two doubles to the stat line.
Both Brantley and Rosario are panning out to be influential in how the 2021 World Series pans out and both are on their first team away from Cleveland. Each player had different luck over a different span of time in Cleveland, but the connection is still the same.
Brantley found his career in Cleveland and cashed in when the team allowed him to walk out the door in free agency. As for Rosario, Cleveland brought him in on a one-year deal when the free agent market seemed dry. After struggling early in the year, Cleveland dumped him off to Atlanta in a salary move. Now, both outfielders are preparing to make their final push at a World Series ring.
The salt in the wound about this whole situation for Cleveland fans is that the organization has nothing to show for either player. Brantley left in free agency because the team wouldn’t pay him while Rosario was traded for a player that was cut within hours of the deal being done.
Both are no longer in Cleveland because of money and there isn’t any player to look towards for comfort. There isn’t a “player to be named later” that turned out to be a gem that made the deals worth it. They just simply were let go and are now key pieces in a different cities push to bring home a championship.