Branyan Could Pay Dividends for M’s

December 4, 2008 at 10:49 am 10 comments


The Mariners signed corner infielder Russell Branyan to a one year deal worth $1.4M. Yes, I realized most people wither shrugged this move off or didn’t even realize it happened but it did, and I think it was a very good move by the Mariners.

The Mariners are in a rebuilding phase right now and one may wonder why Branyan? I say, why not Branyan? The deal is for one year so he won’t be taking at-bats from any real prospects (sorry Morse and Lahair) and what he offers for what will be close to $2M is well worth the price for an everyday corner bat. Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik said he’s prepared to “give Russell as many at-bats as he’s had in his career. This is one of the bigger raw power bats out there — period.”

Branyan hit .250/.342/.583 with an OPS+ of 138 last year for the Brewers with 12 homers while playing at least average defense at third base. The Mariners will use him at 1B but if they trade Adrian Beltre he could be moved to third and he is capable of playing both corner outfield spots. Branyan has a career OPS+ of 109 and a career wOBA of .345, both are above average. Branyan could easily hit 30+ homers if given 450 at-bats given his AB/HR ratio 15.0 (the 13th highest of all-time right behind Ted Williams). Sure he will strike out a ton (once every 3-4 at-bats) but he also takes walks. He is also sure to be a fan favorite with his mammoth home runs and potential to hit one out every time he bats. He also puts on a heck of a show in BP.

The Mariners could also trade Branyan in July to a contender who needs a power bat off the bench or someone to fill a platoon. So the Mariners got themselves a good stop gap in a rebuilding phase that could end up paying dividends for them. I believe this is a deal that will be looked at as one of the better bargain deals of the offseason.

-Jonathan C. Mitchell
quotes from The Seattle Times

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10 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Charlie Nehl  |  December 4, 2008 at 1:10 pm

    Worst case they have him DH since that he can do, is hit. I like the move.

  • 2. Jonathan C. Mitchell  |  December 4, 2008 at 2:34 pm

    I think he will get time at DH as well. I just don’t see why some people don’t like the signing. He’s not blocking any top prospects and he can play 1B/3B/RF/LF/DH.

  • 3. Charlie Nehl  |  December 5, 2008 at 8:06 am

    Right. He’s going to be the catch all guy that can fill in for people’s days off, and swing a bat. Sure he’s not a Mark DeRosa in regards to his fielding ability, but he doesn’t look wonky on the field either.

    I actually would have liked the Cubs to sign him as their bench pinch hitter, and filling in holes for guys days off.

    But I think this move is really good for the Mariners and a move in the right direction, even if it’s just a one year rental. Besides they need to take a little pressure off their young guys, as this kinda cumbled a bit (Balentin, Clement, etc). They’re good players, just need a little more seasoning.

  • 4. Jonathan C. Mitchell  |  December 5, 2008 at 8:40 am

    I think Branyan would’ve been perfect for the Cubs. He could play all the above positions and DH in interleague games. That would’ve been a good addition.

  • 5. Charlie Nehl  |  December 5, 2008 at 9:35 am

    I think they’re gonna bank on Hoffipaur coming off the bench as their left handed bat, but he’s an above average one bagger (with the obvious Derrek Lee in the way), but probably below average corner outfielder, since he’s played first his entire career. With the poor season from Daryle Ward, I think this Hoff (wow that gives me 3 Hoffs now!) is gonna take his place as the pinch hitter (and saving a little payroll).

  • 6. Jonathan C. Mitchell  |  December 5, 2008 at 11:13 am

    I could see that. I know Lou likes Hoff a ton too.

  • 7. Erik  |  December 7, 2008 at 2:32 pm

    Well here is a radical thought, being that the Mariners have a GM from Milwaukee and Milwaukee has a need for a closer I can see this as a prelude to a deal where the Mariners land Prince Fielder for JJ Putz, they then trade Beltre and move Branyan to 3rd, after all Branyan was Great in his limited role in Milwaukee 12hrs in only 132ab’s.

  • 8. Jonathan C. Mitchell  |  December 8, 2008 at 9:26 am

    It would take more than Putz to get Fielder. I definitely see them trading both Beltre and Putz, though. I think they will try Matt Tuiasosoppa (spelling?) at 3B.

  • 9. Erik  |  December 11, 2008 at 1:18 am

    what a steal by the Mets landing Putz for basically Heilman and a bunch of never will be’s.

  • 10. Jonathan C. Mitchell  |  December 11, 2008 at 8:16 am

    I agree. I’m gonna have an article up on that. I started to write it at 2am but didn’t get too far.


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