<
>

Michael Brantley signs extension

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- The Cleveland Indians have signed outfielder Michael Brantley to a four-year, $25 million contract extension that avoids arbitration and gives him a prominent place in the team's future.

Brantley's contract also has a fifth-year club option for the 2018 season. A source told ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick that the option is worth $11 million.

Brantley led the team with a .284 batting average last season. He set career highs with 26 doubles, 10 homers, 73 RBIs and 66 runs. He also stole 17 bases in 21 attempts.

He moved from center to left field a year ago when the Indians signed Michael Bourn. Manager Terry Francona used him throughout the lineup, batting him everywhere except ninth in the order.

"Michael exemplifies the qualities we look for when bringing people -- not just athletes -- into our organization," Indians general manager Chris Antonetti said in a statement. "He has a clear vision of the type of player he wants to become and consistently exhibits the tireless work ethic, focus and discipline necessary to achieve his goals and those of our team.

"In a relatively short period of time, Michael has grown into a selfless leader who sets an example for our younger players."

Brantley and the team agreed on a deal earlier in the week. He signed it after reporting for spring training and passing a physical.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.