Indians Sign Russell Branyan

The Indians officially signed Russell Branyan today to a one-year, $2MM deal.  He can earn another $1MM in incentives, and the contract includes a $5MM mutual option for 2011.'s Buster Olney was first to report the agreement on Friday.'s Anthony Castrovince notes that Chris Gimenez was outrighted to make room for Branyan, but will remain in camp as a non-roster invitee.

Branyan, 34, hit 31 homers and slugged .520 for the Mariners last year. They offered him the chance to return on a one-year deal with a club option for 2011 and he turned it down. Branyan was looking for $20-30MM earlier in the offseason, but he didn't find offers that lucrative. Some clubs were wary of the back issues that prevented Branyan from playing after August 28th last year.

Ultimately, the Indians and Rays were finalists and Branyan chose to return to Cleveland. He figures to get at bats at first base and DH. Branyan played 35 games at third in 2008 and he has experience in the outfield, so Indians manager Manny Acta could move him around the diamond.

28 Responses to Indians Sign Russell Branyan Leave a Reply

  1. nick613 5 years ago

    Now if they could only figure out they need starting pitching.

    • R_y_a_n 5 years ago

      Omar Minaya disagrees with you. Who needs pitching?!

      • vtadave 5 years ago

        Wow, all of 2 posts before a Mets reference to a post had nothing to do with the Mets.

        • R_y_a_n 5 years ago

          Lighten up. Do you want to know what I think of the signing?

          Same thing as everyone else. At only 2 mil, there is very little risk and it could very well be an excellent signing for the Indians.

    • Guest 5 years ago

      Yeah I agree. I think even with this signing, they know that they really can’t compete. This signing does mean 3 good things though,

      1. He could platoon with LaPorta at first. Also, LaPorta might start the season on the DL due to his recent surgery.

      2. He could play 3rd. So if Jhonny Peralta is traded mid-season, which he should be, Russel the Muscle could play 3rd base the second half of the season as well as some time the first half.

      3. If Brantley can’t quite perform to task, Rus can play the corner outfield spots. Not well defensively but he can play.

      Also if Hafner gets injured, Russell Branyan can DH. Branyan is probably better suited as a DH anyway.

      Hopefully the mid-season trades that the Indians make can result in to some good young pitchers. They failed last off-season in the Cliff Lee and V-Mart trades (I really don’t think Knapp, Carrasco, Haggadone, Masterson, Donald, and Marson are the answers) so hopefully they will make some moves in order to comepete in 2011. Chris Antonetti has some work to do. They really have Sizemore, Westbrook, Wood, Peralta, Branyan, and Carmona to trade mid-season.

      • aaron071 5 years ago

        It’s too early to even judge the Martinez and Lee deals. Sizemore is signed through 2011, so their is no need to trade him this season. Carmona has no value at this point, and if he does perform “better” than the Indians would hold on to him. They have him signed through 2011 and need pitching.

        If LaPorta and Brantley are healthy they should get everyday at bats.

  2. And another Jermaine Dye suitor is gone.

  3. It’s too bad the market played out this way. A hitter coming off a 31 home run season deserves a lot more than 2 million dollars and to make it worse he signed with the indians, a team that really isn’t going anywhere. Then again, he will probably be a trade candidate for a team in contention that needs a power bat by trade deadline or even off waivers.

  4. gson 5 years ago

    Unless, of course, Branyan is truly the late bloomer that many power hitters are.. under those circumstances.. he’ll be a good addition to a team that can score runs.. a team that won’t stop many from scoring.. too..

  5. Good ole Russell Branyan.

  6. monroe_says
    monroe_says 5 years ago

    They might as well have made that option for 25 million. It’s not happening either way.

  7. brovos 5 years ago

    Yes, Branyan got hurt, yes Kotchman plays a little better defense…but, how is it that Branyan gets such a lousy contract? Kotchman was here in Atlanta last year and his bat sucked. Kotchman, I think 8 homeruns compared to Branyan ‘s 31.
    Mariners should have kept up this guy. Seattle fans will quickly get tired of Kotchmans weak bat.

    • monroe_says
      monroe_says 5 years ago

      How is it that the Muscle(head) gets such a lousy deal? By over-valuing himself and turning down the Mariners’ attempts to sign him to a one year deal that reportedly would have paid him about 5 million.

  8. brovos 5 years ago

    Kotchmans bat is as weak as a Tiger Woods apology. Kotchmans defense is great but Seattle is gonna miss Braynans power numbers.

  9. bjsguess 5 years ago

    Brilliant signing by Cleveland. Branyan will end up being one of the better moves of this off-season.

  10. bigpat 5 years ago

    Very good signing. I’m guessing he will play first and LaPorta can play some left field and get some starts vs lefties. Branyan or LaPorta aren’t 100% either so it will be good to have a little depth.

    I actually like the Indians lineup a lot, I just don’t like their rotation very much. Carmona needs to get back on track, and the rest of their major league guys are soft tossers with little upside, Huff and Laffey.

  11. RedbirdRuffian 5 years ago

    Branyan is just happy to have a job. Last season may have been an aberation, or he may hit 30 homeruns and strike out 200 times in 2010. There is going to be some talent (eg J. Dye) on the outside looking in this Spring…

  12. H0RATI0SANZSERIF 5 years ago

    Are you serious about him playing 3B and OF? With that back of his? I severely doubt either Branyan or the Indians would seriously entertain any options other than DH and some time at 1B, if he’s feeling up for it.

  13. rockiesfan_303 5 years ago

    Could net them something at the deadline and could help LaPorta a lot. Good signing Tribe.

  14. humbb 5 years ago

    This could actually be closer to a 1/$5M deal depending on the size of the mutual option buyout, if any. I believe we already had a deal like that this year (large buyout on a mutual option that essentially was just a deferral of pay for the first year), but I can’t remember the player. If that’s the case, the probability of a second year option exercise is less than zero.

  15. universalguru 5 years ago

    Good for Russell. I hope he has an incredible year and can stay healthy. Hopefully he gets plenty of time at the plate. Just not against the M’s.

  16. gs01 5 years ago

    31 homers doesn’t get a person paid much these days.

    • InLeylandWeTrust 5 years ago

      because the dude hit below .200 in the 2nd half with below 10 homers. you dont pay a guy top dollar for having one good half in his career

      • m4r1n3r 5 years ago

        Dude screwed up his back and that is when his production dropped steeply. If he was healthy he would have hit 40+ easy.

        As an M’s fan I was bummed he turned down the initial offer which i think was more then this deal. I wish him the best of luck…. only not against the M’s.

  17. disgustedcubfan 5 years ago

    I’d much rather have Branyan DHing for 2 mill than Damon DHing for 7 mill.
    If Branyan stays healthy, this could be a steal for the Tribe.

  18. Hermie13 5 years ago

    Per the Indians, Branyan will be STARTING at 1B. Acta was quoted in the Cleveland Plain Dealer as saying that both LaPorta and Brantley will be playing everyday…..though didn’t say at what levels.

    Basically it says that Brantley (barring LaPorta’s injury keeping him out of the lineup) is going to start in AAA as I’ve been saying for 3 months now.

  19. Hermie13 5 years ago

    As far as 3B and the OF for Branyan….he did look ok there in 2008. His back checked out well according to the Indians physical. He won’t see hardly any time there unless it’s an emergency as Peralta is gonna start there everyday and they still have Andy Marte who they chose to keep over Gimenez (despite Marte being out of options).

    OF may be a spot we could see Branyan some though. Maybe 2-3 times a month is all though, nothing to write home about.

  20. The_Thing123 5 years ago

    I think they need a new picther and should not be spending their money on anything else. You can make a team off a picther you cant do that with a 3rd basemen even if he is a good hitter. You need to build a team off of defense not offense.

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