Marlins Interested In Russell Branyan

FRIDAY, 5:22pm: MLB.com's Joe Frisaro tweets that he was told the team "never even spoke with him," meaning Branyan. So that's the end of that.

TUESDAY, 9:19pm: Two sources tell the Miami Herald that the Marlins have not made Branyan an offer. The Marlins have some interest in Branyan, but the Herald's sources say the club has not yet made an offer. They have merely contacted the first baseman's agent.

1:32pm: The Marlins offered a one-year deal to free agent first baseman Russell Branyan, reports ESPN's Jayson Stark.  The offer contains a "low base and lots of incentives," and Branyan would have to pass rookies Gaby Sanchez and Logan Morrison on the depth chart for a starting job.

Branyan's options are dwindling, as the Orioles added Miguel Tejada, the Mariners acquired Casey Kotchman, and the Mets don't appear to be interested.  One possibility could be a return to Cleveland, as Terry Pluto of the Plain Dealer recently hinted.  Why the lack of interest in a 31-home run free agent slugger?  Branyan is 34 now, and most of his '09 production came in the first half.  Back troubles ended his season on August 28th.


60 Responses to Marlins Interested In Russell Branyan Leave a Reply

  1. redbirds025 5 years ago

    cardinals should look into a branyan reunion. Need a power bat off the bench and can help freese at third.

    • PujolsHollidayWestbrook 5 years ago

      Interesting. He is 34 now, with nagging back issues, although the 31 bombs are tempting. The redbirds need left-handed power, not righty so much and I really don’t think that Branyan should be playing third at all any more, unless it is an extreme emergency. I do like how you use “reunion” here though. He played just handful of games, but reunion nonetheless. I like it for league minimum or a ST invite.

  2. bjsguess 5 years ago

    He’s going to be a good signing for someone. Not a lot of guys can knock out 31 bombs while playing half their games at Safeco and only getting 500 PAs.

    With his price tag dropping I’m surprised the M’s didn’t bring him back to platoon with Kotchman at 1B and Griffey at DH. Garko’s OK but Branyan offers sooo much more upside.

    • wolf9309 5 years ago

      Branyan’s a lefty, and better against righties, as is Kotchman, so that doesn’t really work as a platoon.

      • bjsguess 5 years ago

        I didn’t mean to imply a traditional platoon. More of a rotation between the 3.

  3. bigpat 5 years ago

    They should bring him in, it wouldn’t hurt. They actually had a pretty good team last year, they owe it to the coach and players to build on it a little bit and try to contend.

  4. FishFan03 5 years ago

    hope the fish get this deal done… this would be a big help to the team

  5. Suzysman 5 years ago

    “Why the lack of interest in a 31-home run free agent slugger? ”

    A career track record of success only in short burst and otherwise horrific production. This will be like his 15th team in the last 8 or so years. Everyone knows what he is capable of and something resembling his first 2 months of 2009 is not it.

    • cubbyfan23 5 years ago

      A career .822 OPS is horrific?

      • Suzysman 5 years ago

        Did you even read the sentence?

        • Philip Marlowe 5 years ago

          So you don’t think the Cubs should have signed him instead of Chad Tracy and/or Kevin Millar? I’m for the Tracy signing personally, but really, Millar? Talk about washed-up.

          • Suzysman 5 years ago

            The Millar signing is a joke, but the likelyhood of him ever coming anywhere near the 25-man roster is slim so its not like its a big deal.But moving past that, why would the Cubs need another borderline hitting, borderline fielding 1B who really provides nothing but power and occasional production spurts? Hoffpauir can do that and he’s already on the 40-man.Again, Branyan will have changed teams like 15 teams in about 8 seasons, and has signed only like 3 major league deals over that time. He is not what people are trying to talk him into being. He is a (now 1B limited) complete lack of OBP power hitter with huge holes in his swing that you call up from the minors in a pinch and hope he produces that month or so.

          • glenstein 5 years ago

            he had a .340 OBP over the past two years. “complete lack” would be Juan Uribe.

          • Suzysman 5 years ago

            Yet remove the IBB and you have .324 and .339 respectively – which are still nearly the highest marks of his career.

          • glenstein 5 years ago

            Why would you remove those? You don’t think a player earns his IBBs?

          • Suzysman 5 years ago

            They do not indicate player ability.

            And no, the average player doesn’t really earn all his IBB. Quite often a player will be intentionally walked to set up a force out or double play. That is why players like Aubrey Huff (.241/.310/.384 with 7 IBB) and Jason Varitek (.209/.313/.390 with 6 IBB) get them just the same.

        • cubbyfan23 5 years ago

          Did you read your sentence before you posted it is the better question.

          Jack Cust was a minor league filler before being pulled out by the A’s and had some pretty good production for them. Just because teams undervalued Branyan back in the day when people thought K’s were a horrible sin doesn’t mean he isn’t a quality player. That has little to do with anything other than the stereotype hitters like him get classified into.

          You’ll have to forgive me for not just assuming you’re correct about him having random bursts of excellence followed by this “horrific” production. He OPSed over .900 for 3/5 months last year before the back issues in the last two months of the season. The only other time he recently got more than a handful of ABs (20 AB a month, and anyone would look up and down) was 2006 (OPS by month of .534, .862, 1.113, .774, .803, .889).

          Not buying it.

          • Suzysman 5 years ago

            Okay, want to go by the months
            2009
            April – .333/.415/.614/1.029 (65 PA)
            May – .317/.412/.614/1.026 (120 PA)
            June – .265/.376/.590/.967 (101 PA)
            July – .159/.262/.375/.637 (103 PA)
            Aug – .209/.293/.441/.734 (116 PA)

            2008
            May – .300/.440/.700/1.140 (25 PA)
            June – .269/.342/.716/1.059 (76 PA)
            July – .189/.250/.351/.601 (40 PA)
            Aug – .286/.444/.286/.730 (9 PA)

            2007
            April – .292/.469/.542/1.010 (32 PA)
            May – .179/.258/.500/.758 (31 PA)
            June – .182/.339/.364/.703 (56 PA)
            July – .154/.185/.346/.531 (27 PA)
            Aug – .222/.222/.889/1.111 (9 PA)
            Sept – .188/.333/.281/.615 (39 PA)

            2006
            April – .163/.208/.326/.534 (49 PA)
            May – .207/.207/.655/.862 (29 PA)
            June – .281/.425/.688/1.113 (40 PA)
            July – .200/.317/.457/.774 (41 PA)
            Aug – .238/.327/.476/.803 (49 PA)
            Sept – .267/.405/.483/.889 (74 PA)

            2005
            April – .333/.434/.733/1.167 (54 PA)
            May – .167/.322/.271/.593 (59 PA)
            June – .250/.250/.250/.500 (4 PA)
            July – .313/.389/.563/.951 (54 PA)
            Aug – .219/.390/.500/.890 (41 PA)
            Sept – .240/.367/.360/.727 (30 PA)

            Yeah, that’s not production in small spurts at all and I completely see what you mean.

            Anyway, the average 1B hit .277/.363/.483/.846 last season while Branyan posted a .251/.347/.520/.867 line. In his best season ever, he was an average First Baseman. On the way to that average mark, he provided the same extreme production before falling off a cliff he has produced his entire career. Like my original sentence said, its either hot spurts or horrific production.

            But if you don’t want to believe me no biggie at all, I could really care less. That said, don’t you think you should maybe believe all the teams not wanting to sign him? But apparently you don’t believe that either. So we are left with your unwillingness to believe the stats, the lack of interest, the 14 team changes in 8 years, or the measly 3 ML deals over that time and in the end we can only ponder your logic and/or agenda. Empty HR really mean that much to you that you are willing to ignore everything to claim production that just isn’t there? Apparently so…

          • Suzysman 5 years ago

            Oh, by the way, Cust was given a shot by the A’s – at the age of 28! That is still in his peak range, and well before ability loss would be expected. For that shot, Cust produced actual positive results for roughly 2 seasons with 1 average (to below) season (for a DH) last year. Meanwhile, Branyan will be 35 in 2010 and provided average 1B production in his career best season. There are just no similarities there.

          • cubbyfan23 5 years ago

            As I said, month by month splits when a guy gets 15-30 AB in a month is pointless. Quite a lot of hitters would look “streaky” at that point when it isn’t the case. I find it hard to believe you try to point out some statistical evidence and then try to justify this nonsense.

            If you look in any of the seasons where Branyan got consistant at-bats, or anything close to it, his numbers were fairly similar and no more streaky than the average MLBer from their average lines.

            Also Branyan and Cust are mentioned in the same breath quite often, so no, it isn’t just me. While Cust didn’t even get any sort of shot until later, both are players who are undervalued and were passed around numerous organizations because they strikeout too often, hit for low averages, play poor defense but make up for it with exceptional power (and in Cust’s case, an incredible eye).

            Perhaps the lack of interest just signals that not many teams are interested in a 35 year-old with back issues and limited range on defense, rather than not being interested because they think he’s streaky, based on a complete lack of evidence.

          • Suzysman 5 years ago

            Okay, have some time so might as well clear up some of your errors and misconceptions.

            First,
            “no more streaky than the average MLBer from their average lines.”

            I am mesmerized by that statement. Really, please explain what exactly “streaky” must mean to you as I can only envision some bizaro dictionary definition.

            Of course, we know for a fact Branyan is extremely streaky though – a hitter who does absolutely nothing but hit the occasional HR is a guarantee to be streaky since no player in the history of the game hits his HR at a strict per-PA pace. Branyan can be broken down to two outcomes:
            1) hit a HR = great
            2) no HR = just short of worthless
            and that will never result in anything other then streaky in this world.

            But beyond that, do you really not understand that hitters who cant hit or provide anything other then one skill wont get PA if they even manage to find a job? If a player can hit well or is on a hot streak, he will be played. When he cant hit his way out of a paper bag you start giving him days off, bench him, send him to the minors, release him or sell him to a team that needs minor league filler (which that second one basically sums up Branyan’s career perfectly). Branyan got short spurts of playing time because Branyan has never been good enough to give more then short spurts of playing time.

            Branyan stuck around for years because he could play 3rd and hit the occasional HR. Branyan also averaged nearly 2 teams a season and very limited ML PA because he can do absolutely nothing other then hit the occasional HR and was only good enough to play 3B in an absolute emergency. If Branyan wanted more PA, then Branyan should have learn to produce something other then just the occasional HR and/or learned a more desirable position.

            Since Branyan can do nothing other then the occasional HR though, it leaves you with either a HR or a nearly completely wasted PA. Well, he only hits a HR in about 6% of his PA so giving Branyan a fulltime job means your team must be willing to waste the other 94% of the PA you give him. And just how bad are those 94%? Try .179/.304/.250/.554 last year (.798 weighted OBP) and .166/.290/.237/.527 (.759 weighted OBP) over his career (which that includes IBB. Without them you can just imagine how bad his actual talent level is)

            (For reference on that, the average hitter is .235/.316/.309 for a .877 weighted-OBP (the quick 1.8OBP+SLG calculation) the last three seasons and the average 1B was at .231/.336/.313/.649 for .918 wOBP. Furthermore, among all 2009 players with 400+ PA, Branyan ends up in the bottom 7% with the catchers and middle infielders you would expect at that level.)

            You want further indication of just how useless he is when not hitting a HR though? Just start looking at the multi-game stretches between HR. For instance, his first substantial one was the 5 games from April 12 to April 17 – he hit .200/.333/.267/.600. Next big one was 7 games between May 5 and May 12 – he hit .154/.214/.445. And remember, these are coming during months he was supposedly amazing…

          • branyfan 5 years ago

            listen,ican understand those who are not fans of the bran,questionable back and all.but to the un informed,branyan has 2,431 career at bats.last season,his 1st with more than 400.2,500 at bats is 5 full seasons.that equates to 32 homers and with 399 career ribs,80 rbi per season.pujols,a-rod,tex,utley like[can’t think of the philly 1st sacker’s name],no. but when you look at his card and see 12 in 132 ab’s 11 in 158,16 in 195[which is pretty freakin good] it doesn’t impress.but that’s great part time work.someone who k’s every 3rd ab but can hit 32 dingers, drive in 80 in less than 500 at bats can&should have been a starter,some where.no.

          • Suzysman 5 years ago

            (Expanding further, and ideally really hitting the lack of value this one positive outcome/HR or nothing game that Branyan brings:)

            Now yes, last season is the only time a team was actually desperate enough to use him regardless of his being a black hole in 94% of his PA. But what did it really provide the Mariners with? Well, let’s break it all down in something much more telling like 10 game stretches and we can see just how “productive” Branyan really was

            First 10 – .273/.368/.485/.853
            Next 10 – .357/.404/.810/1.214
            Next 10 – .237/.275/.395/.670
            Next 10 – .355/.524/.645/1.169
            Next 10 – .394/.535/.758/1.292
            Next 10 – .222/.326/.472/.798
            Next 10 – .238/.298/.571/.869
            Next 10 – .171/.318/.429/.747
            Next 10 – .154/.227/.333/.561
            Next 10 – .209/.292/.465/.757
            Next 10 – .237/.333/.500/.833
            Final 6 – .143/.217/.286/.503

            Quite a different picture then the random accumulative lines you get using the monthly numbers, isn’t it? Where once he looked great over three of five played months, now he looks really good in merely 3 Ten-game stretches.

            And now you really see the problem presented by guys who provide absolutely nothing outside the occasional homerun. There we have only 3 Ten-game stretches where the HR totals meant he looked great, 2 stretches where he was about average but definitely usable and 8 where he was below average to downright pitiful. Again, this is in arguably his greatest season ever and he was average to downright horrific almost the entire time outside about three weeks which saw some clustered HRs.

            This is why you don’t play one positive outcome players like Branyan unless they play a premium defensive position. They are worthless much more often then helpful and overall can never be counted on to do anything other then the occasional (usually solo) HR. Any player in the MLs can sacrifice all their production to get more HR, they just don’t because it’s counter productive for the team. Unfortunately, that HR or nothing game is the only thing Branyan is able to bring to the table.

  6. lionofsenate 5 years ago

    Branyan is a quality MLB player. He will get a job. I’m not worried about him feeding his family.

    • $1529282 5 years ago

      Branyan is a quality MLB player? Really?

      I mean, sure, he was for awhile last season… but what about his track record jumps out as “quality” to you?

  7. metfan75 5 years ago

    Mets and Mariners make the most sense for Branyan.

  8. bustamoveson 5 years ago

    Seriously? Compete with a starting job? I can only understand if he was injured. But this guy jacked up 31 Hrs. in cozy Seattle. I remember him in a Phillies uni jacked up a bomb in the upper deck of RFK. Ever since that time I pray the Phils will keep him.

  9. The Mythical One 5 years ago

    His 31HR are a career high and only came with the AB. If you can’t start him, he is a 10-15HR bat off the bench against lefties only. The Orioles might have been able to use him as a starter at 1B only, but with Miguel here for 3B and Atkins now set to play 1B, the fact we still have Ty Wigginton (1b/3b) and Luke Scott for DH duties, I don’t think Branyan would fit here despite a discounted price. The back issues and the low BA are could be what makes people hesitant, also because there is another hitter like him on the market in Marcus Thames.

    • Thames doesn’t nearly offer the on-base skills that Branyan has. He’s not great at getting on base, but he’s far above Thames’ abilities.

      • The Mythical One 5 years ago

        Branyan Career: .234 .331 .491 .822
        Thames Career: .243 .306 .491 .797

        To say that Branyan is “far above” Thames’ ability is a stretch. When you consider what both guys are getting paid, Thames is the better value. Similar production at a fraction of the cost.

  10. breakz 5 years ago

    Great move by the Fish. From subtracting 30 HRs (by trading Uggla) to adding up to 30 HRs in Branyan.

    Worst case: he repeats his ’09 performance and finishes in a platoon with Sanchez or Morrison.

    • bucs_lose_again 5 years ago

      Sorry, but there are FAR worse worst-case scenarios than Branyan repeating his 09 season. I’m guessing you meant to say “best case.”

      • breakz 5 years ago

        Right, I wasn’t exactly paying attention.

        The ACTUAL worst case would be Branyan flops, and the Fish start Sanchez or Morrison like they had planned all along.

  11. wolf9309 5 years ago

    is everyone here looking at a different Russell Branyan than I am? The one I’m looking at is a lefty batter who is better against right-handed pitching, but everyone seems to be suggesting he is only useful as a platoon player against left-handed pitching.

  12. Branyans nickname is 3TO. three true opportunities. strikeout, walk, homer. anyways, as a fish fan, im down to sign this guy.

  13. I have no clue why this guy wasn’t given the option to be somebody’s primary DH. I know he won’t come close to the OBP that Nick Johnson will post, but could you imagine his bat in New Yankee Stadium? A split of Branyan vs RHP and a combination of A-Rod, Jeter, and Posada vs LHP would be plain nasty.

  14. Karabell had an article up in 2008 about Branyan and how he tends to go off immediately after joining a team and then regressing to at or below his career norms. He impresses at first and then slides into oblivion, just like he did with the Mariners last year and the Brewers the year before. Caveat emptor for sure. He’ll be a good signing for someone as long as they realize what they’re getting and use him accordingly.

  15. Branyan’s career OPS+ in the first half is 108, in the second half it’s 90. Seems like a team could get him and Adam LaRoche and have one pretty good first baseman, Branyan in the first half and LaRoche in the second.

    • bjsguess 5 years ago

      Brilliant. That would be one heck of a platoon. Plus it’s a win for both guys as they only have to play for about 3 months each.

  16. marlinsfanatic 5 years ago

    This would be great! If this got done we have a seriuosly dangerous power team with uggla, ross, cantu (if healthy) ramirez, and now branyan. this would be a ton of help and Logan Morrison can play a corner outfield spot so that wouldn’t be to bad.

  17. branyfan 5 years ago

    For all you branyan experts.the guy has 164 dingers, 400 ribs in only 2,431 career ab’s! That’s 32 h.r’s&80ribs in 5 full seasons.Or as espn projects his career as a part time player,28 taters,70 rbi every 425 at bats.Further,those who say he never put up #’s like last season,well he never had 400 ab’s in a season before last year.every year he had 300 or more he had 20in 312ab’s&54 ribs in 2001in2002,24 ding dongs in 370ab’s.how ’bout 2000,30 bombs in buffalo,called up to the tribe&hit another 16&38 in 195ab’s! 2006,18h.r.’s in 241 ab’s.His o.b pct.the last few is good.k’s but great power.

  18. BrocNessMonster 5 years ago

    Why don’t the Dodgers sign him and trade Loney for pitching or prospects, or whatever they can get for him? Makes sense to me. Loney isn’t a great fielder, and for his position, doesn’t hit much. Somebody will over value him and give us something useful back.

    • Wow dude, I just can’t let you get away with that. James Loney hit .281 last year, which is pretty damn good. Sure, he didn’t have a great year in terms of power, but he stayed close to what he’s been averaging in home runs for the other two years he’s been in the majors. Also, he has a career .992 fielding percentage, so somebody better tell me what average is. I’ll bet Loney is above that line. He also doesn’t strike out a lot, as he walked more then he struck out. He also batted in 90 runs for the second year in a row. Loney is a great young player who will only get better in my opinion.

      • I have to take the other side on this. Lonely is okay, but unless he develops either better power or maintains exceptional plate discipline- he’s pretty uninspiring option at 1B. A 0.281 average is actually not that good for someone who hits for mediocre power. If people wanted that, they’d teach Juan Pierre to field 1B. And historically he’s solid, but not amazing, at drawing walks. Let’s face it. His average, his HR power, and his plate discipline are all slightly above average as a player but in total are a somewhat mundane package at 1B.

        Where Loney does excel is that slugs pretty well with doubles and triples due to his line drive ability. That will warrant a starting spot on most teams, but I would classify him as a guy who I’d be willing to flip for prospects if I had good depth at 1B and felt I was getting a solid plus-value return. With that said, I don’t think there’s any club that Loney would be more valuable for- so not sure how that would happen.

        • markjsunz 5 years ago

          That would be a smart move trade a solid Major League first baseman for prospects. Most prospects never make it to the majors or they come up for a cup of coffee.
          and just for your knowledge any guy who can hit.280 in the major leagues will always have a job. Looneys numbers from 2006 to 2009 45 hrs. .295 BA 265 RBI

          • The flaw in your argument is using batting average and RBIs to judge a player’s value.

    • markjsunz 5 years ago

      Loney is an excellent first baseman and a solid hitter He is very similar to Mark Grace not a ton of homers but an excellent hitter and good RBI guy. Branyan looks better suited as a DH with a bad back. Tampa Bay could use a guy with a little pop at DH.

  19. formerlylove 5 years ago

    logan morrison is nowhere near ready to play in the major leagues, pitch him outside and its 4-3 3u all day long

  20. TigerFan54 5 years ago

    I know people aren’t going to like this suggestion, but Tigers should sign Branyan as a backup 1B/DH when no one needs rest. I won’t go on the Damon rant here (sign him too).

    • fishfan1993 5 years ago

      Everybody calm down its not that serious. The fish only want him for like 250 AB at most just in case logan isnt ready anyways they got helms. Hes replacing gload off the bench and gload only had like 230 AB.

  21. flumesalot 5 years ago

    Sure wonder where that “Insider” subscription money goes….maybe they should just invest it in trying to obtain actual leads.

  22. Branyan would still make a whole lot of sense for the Mets…

  23. Nicolas_C 5 years ago

    Every time I see these stories about potential DHs, I cringe, because I know the White Sox are going with a stupid DH-by-committee. I wish they would realize that Branyan, Delgado, or another bat would be worth the investment, especially this late in the offseason, where asking prices have declined.

    • Matt Cool 5 years ago

      I know I feel for you man I dont know what their thinking. Why would they sign Omar Vizquel and Andrew Jones why? why> why? And they are trying to get exponentially older. I dont understand what they are smoking over there in the South Side of Chicago!

  24. humbb 5 years ago

    “Marlins Interested In Russell Branyan”

    Define “interested” … does it involve talking to the player?
    Sheesh, the biggest non-story of the day.

    • Matt Cool 5 years ago

      exactly do you mean somewhat interested or seriously interested! This would make so much sense for the Marlins, so it seemed like it was legitimate. Also I thought professionals journalists and reporters could be trusted all of the time. I guess even the best of us make mistakes.

  25. Matt Cool 5 years ago

    wow talk about terrible reporting! Why wouldnt the Marlins be interested in him anyways? They need a quality bat off the bench. Also they need someone who can share time with either Sanchez/Morrison at first. Most importantely he is cheap and he 30 home runs last year! Come on Beinfest/Hill think logically! Why cant they ever bring in someone who the fans have actually heard of! And where is our international scouting? Why werent we in on those Japanese pitchers and even a better question is how come we never scout international talent. You can find some quality talent in Japan and sign these guys for minor league contracts.

  26. disgustedcubfan 5 years ago

    Kenny Williamsis starting to think about him. The White Sox need power.

  27. joecoolio101 5 years ago

    Russel Branyan is a good fit for the marlins. The Marlins just need to stay away from injuries and they could be a wild card team. The only ones to compete are the Braves, Cubs, Giants, and Rockies and all those teams have issues of their own. The Braves dont have alot of issues but they need a real power hitter in the middle of the order. They have Chipper Jones who only hits like 28 round trippers and troy glaus who is really rusty; and the only other decent guy to put in their is nate mclouth. The Cubs have issues to they have geovanney soto coming off an awful season after he was caught with marajuana and alot of pitchers coming off slumps. And dont even get me started with the giants. NO LEADERSHIP they rely on there pitching to much and they only guys who make production are Pablo Sandoval and Bengie Molina they should use Buster Posie. And the rockies have all old and really young players who need experience in the bigs before they can shine in the playoffs. So that just leaves the marlins who have real good pitching and up and coming hitting so if they were to get Braynan their order would be,

    1 Cameron Maybin CF
    2 Chris Coglhan LF
    3 Hanley Ramirez SS
    4 Dan Uggla 2B
    5 Russel Branyan 1B
    6 Jorge Cantu 3B
    7 Cody Ross RF
    8 John Baker C
    9 Pitcher

    and a utility guy of Emilio Bonafacio

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