Michael Brantley as far down on Red Sox' free-agent list as you can get

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Michael Brantley as far down on Red Sox' free-agent list as you can get originally appeared on nbcsportsboston.com

EDITOR'S NOTE: This week across the NBC Sports Regional Networks, we'll be taking an in-depth look at some of the top free agents in baseball. Tuesday is dedicated to Indians outfielder Michael Brantley.

BOSTON -- There is probably no area the Red Sox are stronger than their outfield, leaving Michael Brantley about as far down on the list of viable free-agent pursuits as one could imagine. 

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The only way adding Brantley would make a lick of sense is if the Red Sox were to flip someone presently on the team in an effort to prevent this group from breaking up all at once. Hypothetically moving Jackie Bradley Jr., and then pushing Andrew Benintendi to center field and playing Brantley in left, for example.

But there's no evidence yet the Sox are ready to act that way, and they haven't yet under Sox president of baseball operations of Dave Dombrowski.

FREE AGENT FOCUS

Assume, then, that Brantley's movements will largely be a spectator sport for the Red Sox this winter. His presumed departure from the Indians is significant, considering Cleveland has been one of the consistent powers in the American League along with the Red Sox in recent years. Brantley played a combined 101 regular-season games in 2016-17, but was able to stay on the field for 143 in 2018.

Entering his age-32 season, Brantley represents a high-upside signing for a potential rival. The Sox had the best offense in the majors in 2018, but Brantley was the 17th-best offensive producer in the outfield, by one advanced metric, weight runs created plus -- a hair better than Benintendi, who was 22nd.

But that kind of production comes with the risk seen in recent years: Whether Brantley stays on the field. 

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