Ahead of the 2008 trade deadline, the Cleveland Guardians traded ace CC Sabathia to the Milwaukee Brewers.
Cleveland got prospects Matt LaPorta, Zach Jackson, and Rob Bryson, plus a player to be named later.
Later, in early October, it was revealed that the player was outfielder Michael Brantley.
On Friday, that player announced his retirement from baseball after spending 15 highly productive seasons in The Show: 10 with the Guardians and five with the Houston Astros.
“Michael Brantley, from player-to-be-named-later to first-ballot Cleveland Hall of Famer, from watching the 2016 World Series from a distance to finally landing that ring with Houston in 2022,” Guardians insider Zack Meisel tweeted.
Michael Brantley, from player-to-be-named-later to first-ballot Cleveland Hall of Famer, from watching the 2016 World Series from a distance to finally landing that ring with Houston in 2022.
— Zack Meisel (@ZackMeisel) January 5, 2024
As Meisel notes, Brantley accumulated enough merits to be considered for the team Hall of Fame eventually.
He was, in his prime, a big part of those 2010s Guardians lineups that yielded multiple postseason appearances.
An injury prevented him from playing in that 2016 World Series, and who knows if the Guardians would have won it all if they had had their steady contact master.
Brantley is announcing his retirement with a solid .298 career batting average, 1,656 hits,129 home runs, 720 RBI, and 125 stolen bases.
He made five All-Star Games (three of them in a Guardians uniform) and won the 2014 Silver Slugger award.
Brantley’s at-bats were a thing of beauty: he rarely swung at balls or bad pitches, and he mostly took advantage of strikes with his impeccable barrel control.
He is appreciated by two fan bases: the Guardians’ and the Astros’, and finally got his chance to win his first World Series ring in 2022 with Houston.