Michael Brantley, five-time MLB All-Star, retires after 15 seasons

Brantley was part of the Astros' 2022 World Series-winning team

The five-time All-Star and World Series champion announced his retirement Friday, Jan. 5, 2024, after 15 MLB seasons. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip, File)
The five-time All-Star and World Series champion announced his retirement after 15 MLB seasons on Friday. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip, File)

Michael Brantley announced his retirement Friday after a 15-year MLB career with Cleveland and the Houston Astros.

“I have young kids, and now it’s time to be a dad, first and foremost,” the 36-year-old Brantley told MLB Network's Jon Morosi. “It’s time for me to be home 24/7, watch my kids grow up and not miss important milestones.”

A seventh-round pick by the Milwaukee Brewers in 2005, Brantley played four seasons in the minors before being traded to Cleveland as part of the CC Sabathia deal. Brantley was not originally included in the July 2008 trade, but he ended up being the "player to be named later" and was sent to Cleveland that October.

Brantley made his major-league debut in September 2009, batting .313 in 112 at-bats. He spent 10 seasons in Cleveland, making the All-Star Game three times. In 2014, he finished third in AL MVP voting after posting career highs in batting average (.327), hits (200), RBI (97), stolen bases (23) and runs scored (94).

After a decade in Cleveland, Brantley joined the Astros in 2018. With Houston, he was named to the All-Star Game twice more and was part of the team that won the 2022 World Series.

A shoulder injury limited Brantley to 15 games during the 2023 season. After being out since June 26, 2022, he returned in late August 2023 and played in eight of the Astros' playoff games.

Brantley became a free agent this winter, and hanging up his cleats had already been on his mind.

“I didn’t have that much thinking to do,” he told Morosi. “I had been talking with my family about it a lot during the year. It was a long season for me. My family was with me for the playoffs. That night, there were just a lot of hugs. I am so grateful for the opportunity to play baseball and live the dream I’ve had.”

Brantley finishes his career with a .298 batting average, 129 home runs, 720 RBI, 125 stolen bases and 1,445 regular-season games played.