Sports Illustrated recently predicted the 31-year-old corner outfielder would land with the Cardinals when the free-agent carousel stops spinning. There are reasons it could work. There are reasons to press pause. The three-time All-Star is fresh off a very good season for Cleveland. The lefthanded hitter occupied the No. 2 spot in the lineup and made his second consecutive All-Star game. He averaged .309 with a .364 on-base percentage and a .468 slugging percentage. He hit 36 doubles and 17 home runs. The best part? He absolutely smoked righthanded pitching, slashing .321/.380/.509. The Cardinals could use some of that. Now, the concerns. Age. And health. Brantley's 143 games played this season were his most since 2014. He was limited to 11 games in 2016 and 90 in 2017. In recent years he has had two surgeries on his right shoulder and another on an ankle. This was his worst season defensively in left field, per Fielding Bible's Runs Saved, which scored him at three runs below average. Another thing: Brantley has never played right field, but he would have to with the Cardinals, unless the plan with Harrison Bader and Marcell Ozuna changes. Which leads us to another potential problem. Adding Brantley would complicate the Dexter Fowler situation.
Brantley's sweet lefthanded swing would look good in the Cardinals' lineup — if he stays healthy and adjusts to a new position. That seems like an awful lot to ask.