Russell Branyan Down To Indians, Rays

Free agent slugger Russell Branyan is down to the Indians and Rays, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.  The FOX writer says the Red Sox are "no longer a factor."

Yesterday, Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi made the Boston connection.  The Rays' interest was characterized as "mild," with the Tribe considered the frontrunner.  ESPN's Buster Olney tweets agreement that the Indians are the favorite.'s Anthony Castrovince said the Indians made a Major League offer.

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10 Comments on "Russell Branyan Down To Indians, Rays"

5 years 6 months ago

I’ve got a soft spot for both the Rays and Branyan, I’d love to see him end up there and get some work at 1B/DH.

5 years 6 months ago

Agreed. Branyan needs a job and it could very well be possible that the DH positon is the only one that can keep him healthy.

5 years 6 months ago

I think he is prob a better fit for Cleveland and TB should spend its money elsewhere but best of luck to Russell and his back either way.

5 years 6 months ago

In another thread…Russell the Muscle’s defense at 1B was evaluated.. in 1400 chances during his entire MLB career.. he had a field percentage of 0.991. This is not a liability. IF his back is an issue.. it could be.. but the information being bandied about says he healthy and ready to play.. the “prospects” at 1B have yet to prove they are able to succeed at the MLB level. If health isn’t an issue, then Matt LaPorta would see time at 1B and some LF while Branyan would get some time at 1B, some at DH..and perhaps 3B/OF.. He’d be the LH compliment to Jhonny P when he need a day off.. or a tough RHP was on the mound for the Indians’ opponent. He’s a good fit at the price being discussed.. has the ability to win the game with a single swing of the bat and will make all the “routine” plays at whatever defensive position he’s at.. A Bargain Barrel Boon !! for Mark Shapiro and the Indians !

5 years 6 months ago

Considering their OF backup and the possibility of Matt LaPorta needing an opening at 1B to get his at-bats, do they really want to sign Branyan to block him? Platooning the two isn’t even an option because the right-handed LaPorta has never hit lefties well (in the bigs or the minors). With Sizemore, Brantley, Choo already there and Nick Weglarz close to being ready, I don’t see the point of blocking 1B as an option for LaPorta with a guy like Branyan. It’s a rebuilding year anyway. They might as well see if the young guys are ready.

5 years 6 months ago

There was a link on here to a Q&A with some Indians reporter, and your question tracks one of his reader’s. The part of the reporter’s answer I thought was most interesting was:

“Peter Bavasi, who turned the Indians organization on its head when he was president, said the key to rebuilding was to distract the paying public by juggling a few bright objects (read: veterans), while the real work of team building was being done.”

I suppose it comes down to business reasons instead of baseball reasons.

5 years 6 months ago

Oh you’re absolutely right about that. Team’s will make every attempt to be “better” even if it’s the difference between 65 wins and 70 wins, because every day they are still the least bit competitive is another day with more people in the seats. Unfortunately, if they do think LaPorta is going to be a significant part of their future, would it not be worth while to sacrifice a few dollars towards the end of this season to be significantly better in the future and possibly make the playoffs (where the big money is made)?

I’d have to see some financial numbers to answer that question, but I would think a team would be better off thinking long-term like that, but rarely is an owner willing to simply “punt” on a season, even if it does help down the line.

David MacLean
5 years 6 months ago

Not sure why the Indians want this guy. A rebuilding team should be focused on Laporta

5 years 6 months ago

Look, which one of these two players would you choose?

(A) 29 YO, plays OF (just poorly) or DH and can probably learn 1B. Has hit 45 HR over the last three seasons.
(B) 34 YO, plays 1B or DH but has back issues which make DH most likely. Has hit 53 HR over the last three seasons.

To help the decision, here are some stats: (Keep in mind these include IBB where player A only received one in 0.5% of his PA v. player B at 1.3% of his PA)

(A) .267/.338/.541/.879 – 2009 with 6% HR/PA (32 HR/500 PA pace)
(B) .251/.347/.520/.867 – 2009 with 6% HR/PA (31 HR/600 PA pace)

(A) .211/.293/.276/.569 – 2009 when not hitting HR (94% of his PA)
(B) .193/.304/.250/.554 – 2009 when not hitting HR (94% of his PA)

(A) .194/.283/.259/.542 – 3-Year when not hitting a HR (95% of his PA)
(B) .178/.296/.235/531 – 3 year when not hitting a HR (94% of his PA)

People somehow seem to think the older injured one with less flexibility should be given respect and a ML deal while the other one should be a platoon partner or given a Minor League contract. It just makes no sense, they both suck outside their one ability (that being the ability to hit a HR) But one likely has more future ahead of him, still has the possibility of more upside in him and doesn’t have the major health questions.

Branyan probably deserves a minor league contract. HR or nothing hitting with limited Defensive ability, no flexibility and health concerns just does not equate to value. It’s on par with the career 4A players that are readily available at any given time – which happens to be what Branyan has been over his entire career before he hit 30 HR and people started repeating his name as if HR are the only aspect of the game.

5 years 6 months ago

nothing against the Indians, but i think Branyan should go to the Rays because they have more of a chance to win it than Cleveland