“A Player To Be Named Later” -Michael Brantley

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Written by @CST_RickG

“A player to be named later” is a term used in major league baseball, and it is typically the finishing touches on a trade. One side of the trade is a team dealing a high value major league player. On the other side is a team, typically in contention for the playoffs, looking for that last little boost for a playoff run. This was exactly the case between the Cleveland Indians and Milwaukee Brewers in the summer of the 2008 season. The Indians were coming off a 2007 season where they were only one win away from the World Series. Everyone knows the disappointment that followed, as the Boston Red Sox won the ALCS in 7 games and proceeded to win the World Series. During the 2007 season C.C. Sabathia won the AL Cy Young. The expectation for the 2008 Indians was another playoff appearance. Then again, this is Cleveland and we as fans should have known better.

On July 7th, 2008 the Indians were 37-51, and just 2-11 in their previous 13 games. The hopes and dreams of a city were once again extinguished by the disastrous performance of the Indians. On top of that our CY Young winner was going to be a free agent at the end of the season. This could only mean one thing: TRADE TIME! On July 7th, 2008 the Indians traded C.C. to the Brewers for Matt Laporta, Rob Bryson, and “a player to be named later”. Again, Indians fans were disgusted with the franchise.

 Matt Laporta was supposed to be the greatest prospect to ever happen to the game of baseball. Well, he was probably the biggest bust. There was so much hype and hope for Laporta, and he was never able to even be average. Laporta deserves his own article, in which he should be bashed and criticized for at least 3 pages. However, I digress. Let’s move onto Rob Bryson. Who? What? It took some research, but it seems that Bryson was a minor league pitches for the Indians all the way until 2013. The Indians would have been better off trading C.C. for a lifetime supply of baseballs and the players to be named later.

On October 3, 2008 the Brewers sent “the player to be named later” to the Indians. This finalized the C.C. trade and the Indians received Michael Brantley. At the time, no Indians fan even gave this trade a second look. Brantley made his debut in the Majors in 2009 for the Indians. Since that debut, Brantley hasn’t looked back and the Indians have found a franchise player. Now, I won’t say that Michael Brantley is the same “franchise” player as an Albert Pujols, or a Mike Trout. Brantley will not have 50 HR’s and 125 RBI’s in a season. However, Brantley embodies everything a franchise could want out of a player.

Brantley is a quiet player who brings his A-game to the ball park every single night. 2013 was Brantley’s best year to date in the Majors. He hit .284 w/ 10HR, 73RBI. These are not superstar numbers, but Brantley is on pace this year to far surpass his HR and RBI totals from 2013. Brantley gets better every year and I don’t think he has hit his ceiling yet. Brantley is on pace for 25HR and 110 RBI’s this year. These are All-Star numbers and Brantley definitely deserves the honor. Through the half way point of this season, Brantley has better numbers than Kipnis did at the same point last season. As you know, Kipnis was an All-Star in 2013.

As much as I love a brass and cocky ego-maniac; example Johnny Manziel. I also really love a player like Brantley. He is calm, quiet, and willing to stay in the shadows. He isn’t on W6th partying at Barley house. He isn’t in Vegas taking picture with celebrities. He doesn’t have dozens of girlfriends that he flaunts around town. Although, he could probably have any woman that he wants. Sorry Ladies, Brantley is married with a child. Brantley is a guy who comes to the ball park every day, ready to get better, and to make the Indians better. Later tonight, the All-Star Ballot comes out. Whether Brantley makes it or not, he deserves a spot. I can tell you this, Brantley will only get better, and this is only the beginning.

Written By Rick Giavonette – @CST_RickG

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