Mariners Acquire Russell Branyan

Russell Branyan is returning to the Mariners. The Indians sent the slugger to Seattle for minor leaguers Ezequiel Carrera and Juan Diaz in a surprising trade, according to MLB.com's Anthony Castrovince. The Mariners will pay the remaining money owed to Branyan this season (approximately $1.1MM), while the Indians figure to pick up the buyout for Branyan's $5MM mutual option, tweets Castrovince. If the Mariners and Branyan exercise the option, the Indians will be off the hook financially, but will send the M's a player to be named later.

The Mariners are 31-43, far removed from contention even after today's win in Milwaukee. Despite their recent hot streak, few expected the M's to trade minor leaguers for big league talent. Instead, the Mariners seemed likely to shop Cliff Lee, who appeared to be available for the right offer. Tonight's trade doesn't mean the Mariners won't listen to offers for Lee. The move could impact the team's 2011 roster, considering Branyan's mutual option for next year.

After hitting 31 homers for the Mariners last year, Branyan considered re-signing in Seattle and ultimately rejected a one-year deal with a club option for 2011. The back problems that sidelined Branyan at the end of 2009 limited interest last winter and he went on to sign a one-year, $2MM deal with the Tribe.

Branyan rewarded the Indians for their investment with ten homers and a .262/.328/.488 line. That's much more production than the Mariners have received from their first basemen, who have hit .195/.279/.295 as a group, with five homers. The Indians, meanwhile, create space for Matt LaPorta by moving Branyan.

Not only do the Indians make room for LaPorta, they add Carrera, a 23-year-old outfielder who the Mariners acquired in the J.J. Putz deal, and Diaz, a 21-year-old shortstop. Baseball America ranked Carrera 15th among Mariners prospects before the season and explained that his speed, defense and pesky approach point to a future as a valuable reserve. Diaz, not considered one of the Mariners' top prospects pre-season, has a .779 OPS in A ball this year.


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101 Comments on "Mariners Acquire Russell Branyan"


ArmchairGM
5 years 2 months ago

People are saying that Cliff Lee may be dealt well before the deadline yet the Mariners are buying?

Hank Hill
5 years 2 months ago

well theyre actiing like they are. considering how long they plan to hold on to Lee

frank_costanza
5 years 2 months ago

i tell you h’what

ArmchairGM
5 years 2 months ago

Makes more sense now that I notice the mutual option I missed earlier. Thought it was a rental.

5 years 2 months ago

uhhhh…Yeah…

Belandsexo
5 years 2 months ago

I expect this isn’t a sign that we’re buying. I think we simply want to do our best to get back to .500 by season’s end. You have a second year GM, who probably doesn’t want to put a losing season (65-70 wins) on his resume. Both prospects are utility men at best in the future.

CrustyJuggler
5 years 2 months ago

The less Kotchman the better! Welcome back big RUSS!

tehmc
5 years 2 months ago

Russell the Muscle is back!

CrustyJuggler
5 years 2 months ago

Re: Mariner buying..

They aren’t buying.. they are filling a gaping hole. There is NO ONE to play first base that has any future with the team. We have Kotchman who is horrible. Sweeney who isn’t an option and Carp who Z has never been very high on.

Thats all. Russ is a cheap stop gap to give the fans something to watch. People really like The Muscle up here in Seattle.

5 years 2 months ago

“[C]heap stop gap”? Doesn’t look like he came cheap at all.

ReverendBlack
5 years 2 months ago

It absolutely does. A future fourth outfielder and a non-prospect infielder. That is not costly.

5 years 2 months ago

You’re out of your mind.

Diaz won’t be a Jose Reyes type of player, but that’s not to say he can’t be a very good shortstop; and Carrera, with another year of AAA seasoning, could end up proving to be a worthwhile outfielder that borders closely to a fourth outfielder.

And all of that for a 34 year old, injury prone bat that never should have walked out of Seattle in the first place.

This ranks up there with the stupid package the Royals gave to the M’s for Yuniesky “I Think I’m Still a Big League Player” Betancourt.

Nicolas_C
5 years 2 months ago

Concerning Betancourt, that’s because the team that traded for him is the Kansas City “All that Matters is Batting Average” Royals.

ReverendBlack
5 years 2 months ago

Diaz is an unrated prospect. He won’t be an Alex Cora type of player. Carrera is a 4th OF. It will take more than you just stating your opinion for the rest of us to discount the consensus among professional scouts — including those who have seen them the most.

Branyan is a 34 y/o 1st baseman whose bat is not in decline and only has a year left on the contract. Everything you say is wrong.

5 years 2 months ago

The important part of this deal is that the Indians finally have made room for Matt LaPorta to play everyday.

CrustyJuggler
5 years 2 months ago

I disagree. The important part of the deal is that I don’t have to watch stinking Casey Kotchman ground out to second base 3 times a game. To be fair though, the M’s were sitting Kotchman lately and giving Carp a look.

Guess they didn’t like him much.

Hank Hill
5 years 2 months ago

Each of those are important parts. Good for the Indians and the M’s mutually

strikethree
5 years 2 months ago

I don’t like it. The M’s are 14 games back with two pretty good teams, the Rangers and Angels, in the division. Why give up any young talent for a guy you could’ve had for 2 mil? The Mariners should be selling — not buying. This isn’t an insane move but it’s not in the direction the M’s should be taking. Hopefully this is just a ploy to make it seem like the M’s are not worried about selling too soon.

raffish
5 years 2 months ago

The M’s must think that Diaz and Carrera are garage sale fodder. This reminds me of the group of stink we shipped off to the Pirates last year.

5 years 2 months ago

Still enjoying that group of stink the Pirates handed you in exchange? 😉

ReverendBlack
5 years 2 months ago

Yeah, pretty liberal use of the phrase “young talent” here. They are definitely young, though.

strikethree
5 years 2 months ago

Cost controlled young players. I do like Diaz though. He’s 21 year old SS with a decent OPS.

The thing is: these guys MIGHT (however unlikely) have helped the M’s in the future. However, it is very clear to me that the M’s don’t stand a chance this year. I suppose they won’t lose as many games; although, once they get rid of Lee, Branyan’s hitting benefits won’t matter.

Again, I don’t think this move is too bad — more like unnecessary.

ReverendBlack
5 years 2 months ago

That analysis would be fine if it didn’t ignore the fact the Ms have him through next year, too. It also overstates the potential of the two Gary Randoms tossed to Cleveland. Yes, like every young player in professional baseball, they might develop into productive players. But neither of them are projected to by anyone professional with an opinion that matters, including those most familiar with them.

We work in terms of probable outcomes, and this deal very probably is a good one for the Ms. The least likely scenario is that those players develop into solid players.

alxn
5 years 2 months ago

The Ms don’t have him through next year. They have a mutual option that most likely will not be exercised.

ReverendBlack
5 years 2 months ago

It won’t be declined by Branyan, so they have him if they want him. At that price or one they renegotiate.

strikethree
5 years 2 months ago

Then they could have had him as a FA for next year anyway.

It’s not like Cle would have extended him a contract.

ReverendBlack
5 years 2 months ago

Why do you keep isolating factors only to point out a single factor on its own is not enough for the deal to make sense? Seems obvious. But all of the factors taken together — desperate need for offense now and next year, Lee not traded yet, optional second year, steady proven production in Safeco, nil prospect cost, etc etc — make it a solid move.

strikethree
5 years 2 months ago

Exactly what am I isolating?
Your argument hinges on the fact that Branyan would stay with the team.

That argument is irrelevant if Branyan was going to be available anyway.

I made counterarguments to your other posts below.

ReverendBlack
5 years 2 months ago

I don’t think you know what my argument is, but the fact that he could have been a free agent is not irrelevant unless you think he could be had with equal ease and all of his production this year is meaningless. You shouldn’t think either of those things because neither is true.

strikethree
5 years 2 months ago

And the outcomes for keeping Branyan?

A few games above replacement in an already ruined season?

If Russell makes it to type B this season, then maybe. However, he might not accept the mutual option if he has a monster 2nd half. (Which he will probably need to make type B)

ReverendBlack
5 years 2 months ago

The season isn’t already ruined and Branyan isn’t a long shot to make B status. In that case, he’s either affordable at the option price or converted into a probable B prospect. At what cost, again? Very little.

strikethree
5 years 2 months ago

Really? You think the M’s chances are still viable? Yet, I am the one too optimistic about these prospects?

The M’s have just as much of a chance of competing this year as any of these prospects becoming All-Stars.

The addition of Branyan won’t make Seattle competitive and he is at most 3 WAR for the rest of the season.

Right now, the few wins that Branyan might add (which isn’t guaranteed; Branyan’s 1.5 years of above average production is hardly enough to label as “steady proven production”) would actually be detrimental to Seattle’s place in next year’s draft.

Since they have already compromised their season, they might as well hope for the highest draft pick they can get next season.

In most cases, a higher 1st round pick is a lot better than an additional supplemental pick that they MIGHT get if Branyan becomes type B and leaves.

ReverendBlack
5 years 2 months ago

I strongly agree that what the Ms should do is sell & tank. However, even if they sell, they will refuse to tank just like all teams do. Call it catering to shortsighted fanbases.

You didn’t really provide any reason Seattle’s out of it, though. I guess I’m supposed to be swayed by your attitude and an unfounded analogy, but I’m not. It’s the AL West and the Rangers, though they’re a better team, are playing way above their potential.

The M’s are sorely missing production and that’s about it. WAR won’t effectively capture Branyan’s value because WAR incorporates some inapplicable assumptions about the team of which the player’s a part. For example, even accounting for his excellent defense, Kotchman so far costs the Ms several games. He is below replacement value.

So not only does Branyan’s WAR automatically get a boost, but if you isolate the one characteristic the Mariners desperately need him for — his offense — his value actually increases quite a bit. So might the Mariners chances.

And again – at what cost? Nil.

5 years 2 months ago

I know the Mariners don’t want to admit they can’t win the division, but this? This is just bizarre.

raffish
5 years 2 months ago

I don’t think it’s bizarre. The M’s didn’t have a 1B or DH this year or next year, (maybe Bradley at DH), but now they do. And they didn’t have to give up anything worthwhile to get one, either.

frank_costanza
5 years 2 months ago

im glad they got someone with some pop. this team just needs a spark offensively, their rotation is amazing with lee/felix/fister/vargas. i still think if they cut their deficit in half by the all star break then they become buyers. the AL West is anyones to take. they could easily add another bat and a pen arm and be right in it.

5 years 2 months ago

Texas would like to lovingly remind you of this: 14 games back of the West and 13 games back on the Wild Card, 1-4 in the month of June with 33 runs allowed.

Chicago, Detroit, Tampa, Boston and Anaheim have one thing to say: Not likely.

ReverendBlack
5 years 2 months ago

I don’t think the Ms are trying to win the division, but there might not be an easier division in baseball to come back & win.

frank_costanza
5 years 2 months ago

look at where the colorado rockies were last year. in that division the M’s could come back. Texas is on an offensive rampage but they will cool off, especially given that their rotation isnt exactly top notch at least at this point. you dont think its possible that the M’s could be 7 games back by the last week of july?

5 years 2 months ago

Sure it is POSSIBLE we could gain that much ground, but it is not at all LIKELY. M’s just had a 6 game winning streak in which they LOST ground on the rangers (only .5 game, but still).

5 years 2 months ago

You’re delusional.Firstly, your team isn’t even comparable to what the Rockies were, are, or ever have been. The Rockies had a lot of young guys they could continue to build around that were strong offensive players – the M’s have a great top of the order with no one to drive them in behind them, and the team is only seemingly getting older by the minute (this latest trade only compounds that fact further). The Rockies were able to turn it around based on their young talent’s abilities to put together run support for their often times mediocre pitching; the M’s only have pitching to really win them games.Secondly, Texas being on an offensive rampage? That’s all Texas has EVER done – is be an offensive heavy team!Reality check: Texas IS OFFENSE! The Mariners are not!Just look at the past three seasons:2009 – Texas scores 784 runs and allows 740; Seattle scores 640 and allows 692.2008 – Texas scores 901 runs and allows 967; Seattle scores 671 and allows 811.2007 – Texas scores 816 runs and allows 844; Seattle scores 798 and allows 825.Even when Seattle finished better than Texas (2007), they still couldn’t outscore the Rangers! There is no offensive drought coming any time soon to Arlington – sorry, buddy, it just ain’t happening.The Mariners are 12 games under .500, scoring 3 runs LESS than Baltimore (4 less than Houston), and have added, thus far, ONE helpful offensive bat capable of driving in Figgins and Ichiro. I don’t see HOW they can possibly turn it around without some sort of miracle collapse from the Rangers, Angels AND Athletics.And if you’re still delusional to think that the Mariners can salvage this season for a playoff berth, then tell me how they’re beating out Tampa, Boston, Chicago, Minnesota, Detroit, and Anaheim for the wild card.

tehmc
5 years 2 months ago

The important part of the deal is that Branyan has already shown he can hit for power in Safeco (when healthy), was injured the first part of the season and has still hit more home runs than any Mariner and the best part is that we don’t have to see Kotchman.

5 years 2 months ago

At the cost of two YOUNG prospects.

Smart business move…

ReverendBlack
5 years 2 months ago

Nope. One young prospect, 15th in their system, who projects as a 4th OF and another nobody infielder. 1.5 years of a productive player at a position they desperately need for a good price.

Smart business move indeed.

Msforever
5 years 2 months ago

Since you know nothing of these prospects, I suggest you google them so that you can realize their upside was nothing special.

5 years 2 months ago

Versus the upside of a 34 year old bat that never should have been allowed to walk out of Seattle given they had no real other options to be their best offensive bat to drive in Ichiro and Figgins?

I have, and am still, looking up these young prospects and I don’t see how anyone can write these kids off when baseball has continually proven itself to be a unique beast when talking about talents. Guys who were written off as busts came back and proved themselves to be strong players on a level they weren’t supposed to excel at, and we’ve seen big time prospects turn into the biggest busts imaginable.

Let’s not forget that the Indians have basically created a small history for themselves in collecting prospects and generating some good to great talents out of them – surely they saw something in them to warrant giving up Russel Branyan.

Msforever
5 years 2 months ago

Yes, a 34 old bat who in less than half a season, has hit more home runs (10) than Carrera and Diaz will combined over the course of their major league career. I do agree with you though that the Indians have done a superb job of finding young talent over the years for aging veterans, as they’ve pillaged the Mariners system over the years (among others). Asdrubal Cabrera, Shin Soo Choo, and Luis Valbuena are players with varying degrees of success that could have helped the M’s.
I guess I’m just saying that I doubt Diaz makes the big leagues and if Carrera becomes a good defensive 4th outfielder/pinch runner, I don’t think I’d mind at all.

DagGummit
5 years 2 months ago

Yeah…. Matt LaPorta. And it’s possible they see Carrera being a warm body in CF somewhat regularly with Grady Sizemore having fallen off the face of the earth the last two years in terms of health and production.

Belandsexo
5 years 2 months ago

This is simply a case of seeing a guy who can help the team have a more respectable record. We have nobody to play 1B right now. Carrera is a slap hitting fourth outfielder, and Diaz is a no hit utility infielder.

I am indifferent on this trade. We gave up pretty much nothing, for a chance to win a couple more games this season.

Eh, whatever. Im just happy I don’t have to see Kotchman and Carp anymore.

CrustyJuggler
5 years 2 months ago

Hear, hear.

Say what you want about this deal but it gives us something to go to the ballpark for.

bjsguess
5 years 2 months ago

Sad state of affairs when Russell Branyan is the reason to go to the ballpark.

Msforever
5 years 2 months ago

Sad state of affairs when you’re superstar has his leg fall off celebrating a walk off. Too soon?

Msforever
5 years 2 months ago

Agreed. I’m also indifferent on it. If healthy, Branyan is a good stop-gap next year as our 1b/DH with power. It’s an ok deal since neither Carrera or Diaz were ever going to get much playing time for the M’s.

tehmc
5 years 2 months ago

At least the Mariners can admit their mistake with Branyan and trade for him back, doesn’t look like its going to happen for the Phillies and Lee.

Eric
5 years 2 months ago

It wasn’t the Mariners mistake. Branyan wanted 2 years guaranteed, and the M’s didn’t want to commit that much to a heath-wise question mark. By the time his contract demands came down, the M’s had already acquired Kotchman (unfortunately).

alxn
5 years 2 months ago

Translation: We now have the worst starting 1st baseman in the league, no need for an upgrade

5 years 2 months ago

Good luck with Branyan. His hitting keeps getting better as the season progresses while his fielding keeps getting worse.

CrustyJuggler
5 years 2 months ago

The only thing we got at 1B in Seattle is fielding. Our collective of first baseman might as well have walked up the plate with a ping pong paddle in their hands this first half.

jwsox
5 years 2 months ago

he could be the full time answer at dh with kotchmans glove at 1st

Ken
5 years 2 months ago

I think this is a move more for 2011 than 2010. He’s got a $5M option for 2011 that the M’s will be happy to pick up if he can play the rest of the season and stay healthy. They’ll need a stop-gap until they get someone else and Branyan’s a good fit right now.

frank_costanza
5 years 2 months ago

the M’s should go after Fielder if they dont have any prospects at 1B. even though i dont think fielder is a good long term investment, he could certainly play in that park.

Ken
5 years 2 months ago

I agree with you, Frank. If anything, Fielder’s a top-flight DH that is a perfect fit for Safeco. In the end, I think someone else will offer him more…but the Mariners should be in play for him given Zduriencik’s connection to the Brewers.

tehmc
5 years 2 months ago

Sounds to me that the Mariners are paying the remainder of the 2010 salary and the Indians are picking up the tab for the 2011 option.

tehmc
5 years 2 months ago

Sounds to me that the Mariners are paying the remainder of the 2010 salary and the Indians are picking up the tab for the 2011 option.

Guest
5 years 2 months ago

Flores.Thole.F-Mart.Familia.Havens?

jimboslice9
5 years 2 months ago

I hope you mean for Lee, because I think I might give up being a Mets fan if the team offered that for Branyan.

Guest
5 years 2 months ago

hahaha yeah Lee dude

jwsox
5 years 2 months ago

just because they add a fan favorite, that they should have signed in the first place, does not mean they are buying. they are simply trying to put people in the seats. Now the angles have a ton of injury issues and just are not the same team as they were. The rangers have all offense and very little pitching, which if they dont make a move for lee or oswalt will catch up to them sooner than later…I’m not saying they are in it at all. but with one good move here or there and a few good series in a row and they could be back in it….look at the whitesox….but again this is probably more about adding a fan favorite again thats all

bjsguess
5 years 2 months ago

Angels have injury problems? Last year they started the season with 4 of their top 6 starters as unavailable. They had injuries to Vlad, Hunter, and Rivera. They went on to post the 2nd best record in baseball. Losing Morales hurts but Aybar is back, Izturis will follow. Everyone else is fine.

As for Morales, the team will either stick with Napoli who offers similar offensive abilities to Morales or make a trade. To think the Angels are somehow not very good is really misreading the situation. In the last month they are +10 games over 500. No reason to assume that they will suddenly become worse.

As for the Rangers … they have given up exactly ONE more run than the M’s this season. They have outscored the M’s by over 130 runs. The teams are not even close. And while Texas won’t continue to play this good, they were a better team than the M’s last year. The M’s only got worse while the Rangers only got better. The standings aren’t terribly surprising to most fans.

Ken
5 years 2 months ago

He’d also be a pretty good DH candidate given his defensive issues. Good move by the M’s since they didn’t really give up much.

ReverendBlack
5 years 2 months ago

They gave up as close to nothing as you can. It’s a very solid move.

Nicolas_C
5 years 2 months ago

I’m not sure this is a surefire message that Seattle is more of a buyer than a seller. I think it’s more an attempt to hit respectably so people can come to their games without falling asleep. Average 1st baseman OPS is like .820 I would guess, but theirs is under .600. Just trying to get people to the ballpark and set a good reputation that they care about being a good team.

frank_costanza
5 years 2 months ago

i think this is an attempt to BECOME a buyer. if they start to win more games with Branyan that they will become buyers.

Nicolas_C
5 years 2 months ago

I guess, but all this does is push their 3rd best bat this season (Josh Wilson) out of the lineup. I don’t think they would take Jack Wilson’s glove out of the everyday lineup, so there’s no space for Josh.

Ichiro- RF
Figgy- 2B
Gutierrez- CF
Branyan- IB
Sweeney- DH
Bradley- LF
Lopez- 3B
Jack Wilson- SS
Johnson- C

Yep, not much room for Josh.

CrustyJuggler
5 years 2 months ago

Sweeney can’t stay healthy enough to DH so look for Saunders to continue to start in LF and Bradley to DH. Plus they need a good long look at Saunders to see what he has going forward.

Nicolas_C
5 years 2 months ago

You’re right, I forgot about Saunders.

ReverendBlack
5 years 2 months ago

I really don’t think they’re trying to save this season, just positioning for 2011.

bjsguess
5 years 2 months ago

Positioning for 2011? If Branyan is a move for 2011 why didn’t they just resign the guy?

If he is making only $2m after a year where he hit 30 HR’s, why would the M’s be chomping at the bit to pick up his option for $5m when he is coming off an inferior year?

I like Branyan. He’s solid. The M’s totally screwed up when they didn’t resign him or bring in someone else with pop to either DH or play 1B. Now though, I just don’t see the benefit of the move. If you want Branyan back in 2011 let him hit FA and take your chances that he won’t earn more than his option.

Msforever
5 years 2 months ago

Yes, positioning for 2011. Branyan has a 2011 option with the Indians that may have been picked up, that the M’s will probably pick up. Wouldn’t that be planning for 2011 if you’re the M’s?

alxn
5 years 2 months ago

You’d think that a contending team would have higher hopes at 1B than Branyan for $5M. If the Mariners want to contend, they clearly need to get a lot better. 1st base is the easiest position to upgrade and they can do much better than Branyan.

ReverendBlack
5 years 2 months ago

Maybe. But they now have a safeguard with some pop at a reasonable price. It is inarguable that Branyan is a significant upgrade.

ReverendBlack
5 years 2 months ago

Positioning for 2011? If Branyan is a move for 2011 why didn’t they just resign the guy?

You’re sincerely confused about this? They didn’t think they were going to have such a desperate need for offense, that’s why. Their perception of their needs has changed dramatically, even if the rest of us saw it coming a long way off.

DagGummit
5 years 2 months ago

Because, by all accounts I can recall, the M’s originally offered him 1/$5m when he still had serious health concerns.

From there, it’s 5 – age-related production loss + immediate health = …5

Ken
5 years 2 months ago

The Mariners have always been more about their fan base and keeping the brand that they established back in ’95 than they are about doing the right things to win. Griffey coming back to begin with, let alone returning when it was obvious that he had nothing left is an example of that. I’ve been here for the past 11 years and it’s maddening to watch every year.

alxn
5 years 2 months ago

It is funny that they managed to let a guy who wasn’t even on the team 2 years prior handcuff them like that.

tehmc
5 years 2 months ago

I am excited the little they gave up for him, I didnt realize he has an option for next season as well. I doubt it will help us this season because we are just so far back from the Rangers and the Angels we won’t be able to catch up but we have been so anemic offensively its sad. If we had him from the start of the season we would probably have been much better off.