Trade Candidate: Russell Branyan

Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson said recently that the club has committed most of its starts at first base to Juan Miranda, who is out of options. This leaves a pretty good offensive player in Russell Branyan on the bench and an interesting prospect in Brandon Allen down at Triple-A.

It seems like the Snakes are committed to finding out what they have in Miranda, and by that logic, it stands to reason that Allen could be next in line if Miranda falters. That would leave Branyan and his prodigious power without consistent at-bats.

Signed to a one-year, minor league deal, Branyan could be a source of cheap pop for a contending team in search of power as the season wears on. Here's a look at some potential suitors for Branyan's services.

  • The Angels are in limbo while Kendry Morales continues to mend from last year's broken leg, and the slugger's return still appears to be a ways off. Current first baseman Mark Trumbo is considered a modest prospect, although he has gotten off to a solid start this season.
  • The Rangers have similar options at first base in Mitch Moreland and Chris Davis (who's currently in the minors), though Moreland has shown better on-base skills. The Rangers won't need Moreland to be a stud in what is a loaded lineup, but they can't tolerate severe struggles, either.
  • The Tigers could probably use another power bat, but they'd have to get creative and take a defensive risk to accomodate Branyan, moving the defensively shaky Victor Martinez behind the dish full time to free up the DH spot.
  • The Rays seem committed to Dan Johnson – who profiles similarly to Branyan – at first base, but he has gotten off to a slow start and has always toed the line between the Majors and minors, even spending a year in Japan recently. As well, Johnson's power is probably not quite on par with Branyan's.
  • The Braves have a 21-year-old rookie in Freddie Freeman at first, and though he is regarded as a high-end prospect, it's hardly a given that he'll produce adequately considering his age. Eric Hinske is the backup there but has settled in nicely as a pinch-hitter and occasional starter in recent years.

Of course, a lot could happen between now and June, when the trade market begins taking shape, as Ben Nicholson-Smith noted earlier today. But Branyan looks like a strong candidate to change teams this season – just as he did a year ago, going from the Indians to the Mariners.

44 Responses to Trade Candidate: Russell Branyan Leave a Reply

  1. Jake8 4 years ago

    I think Branyan would be a nice offensive lift for the Rays

    • InLeylandWeTrust 4 years ago

      That offense sure has been atrocious. Kinda wish I took a different pitcher than Price in my fantasy league now. He’l be lucky to win 12.

      • jwsox 4 years ago

        you do realize that he has at least 28 more starts and longoria will be back soon right

        • dc21892 4 years ago

          Yep, Longoria is going to carry the team all by himeself.

          • Lunchbox45 4 years ago

            hes fully capable

          • dc21892 4 years ago

            No, he’s not. He can play third base and play it well. He can hit the ball, and hit it well. But at the end of the day he’s going to hit 25-30 homers with a .300 BA. Maybe he’ll get 100 RBI with that lineup. You’re going to tell me that’s going to improve the team THAT much? NOPE. Sorry, you need a full team.

    • formerdraftpick 4 years ago

      Now that Manny got suspended for crack, he would be a great fit at DH.

  2. Mr_Anderson1017 4 years ago

    I really doubt KT will trade him. Branyan makes the bench better and isn’t much of a trade chip, so why not just keep him?

    • branyfan 4 years ago

      because he has never been good coming off the bench.needs 300-350 at bats to be successful.Every time he’s got 300 or more at bats[4 times]he’s hit more than 20 homers&knocked in over 50 runs.As a pinch hitter he’s a putrid 22-142.130 b.a.Homers every 14.8 at bats[14th all time]Only 1 every 37 at bats as a pinch hitter.56 homers the last 2 years despite missing 96 games.AVERAGES 31 h.r’s&75 ribs every 450 at bats.Needs to play,doesn’t have to be every day,to be valuable and deserves better than what he is looking at in Arizona.

  3. It’s a shame Branyan can’t settle in somewhere as a DH. I would think the Mariners might be interested again depending on what happens with Smoak and their own DH situation.

  4. InLeylandWeTrust 4 years ago

    The only reason Martinez would move behind the plate full time would be to give Boesch full time at bats in right with Magglio moving to DH and keeping Raburn in left. But the way Avila has swung the stick the past few games that won’t be happening anytime soon.

    • azdsnd 4 years ago

      As the season progresses, I don’t think that Alex Avila’s bat is going to be keeping anybody on the bench…

  5. Chuck Norris 4 years ago


    • Doubtful. Morales should be back in 30ABs or so, and Trumbo is doing alright in his place.

  6. Philip Marlowe 4 years ago

    I wouldn’t mind Branyan as a bench bat for the Cubs, especially since their backup 1B is Tyler Colvin. He could DH for interleague games as well

  7. mrsjohnmiltonrocks 4 years ago

    He should get another tour of duty in Seattle. He’s been one of the few players that’s had a bit of power in their stadium.

  8. He could be traded even if they’re not out of contention similar what the Giants did with Molina. (Don’t say they’re going to fall out of contention because you don’t know.)

  9. CitizenSnips 4 years ago

    Is Morales taking about the right amount of time to heal from a broken leg? To me it seems a bit long.

    • InLeylandWeTrust 4 years ago

      I don’t think that same injury is why he’s on the DL. I thought he hurt his foot in spring or something like that

      • I believe it’s actually his foot that’s the concern now. But I think that could be a result of the leg injury and applying pressure differently. I’m clearly no medical expert though.

  10. Claws and Antlers 4 years ago

    Mitch Moreland is probably the best active 1B in the AL West so why are the Rangers supposedly a fit? MLBtr doesn’t make any sense sometimes.

    • mtex 4 years ago

      Very true.

      Why would the Rangers ever trade for Branyan at this point?

      One or more of the following players would have to slump, suck, or get traded themselves: Moreland, Chris Davis, Michael Young, Mike Napoli, David Murphy, Adrian Beltre.

      Including the Rangers in this hypothetical makes no sense.

  11. Don’t see Branyan as a realistic option. Unless the offense isn’t clicking as it’s expected to, Freeman’s staying at 1B full-time. He always gets off to a slow start, and the Braves really need a good defensive 1B given Chipper and Uggla’s troubles with the glove. Branyan doesn’t provide that. As long as Freeman can maintain a .700+ OPS and the offense isn’t struggling for a significant period, he’ll stay in the lineup.

  12. East Coast Bias 4 years ago

    Speaking of broken legs… anyone catch the Swisher slide that broke Nishioka’s leg. Ouch…

    • JacksTigers 4 years ago

      Wow. So much for the Twins huge signing. But seriously, he took it like a man. He was standing up almost on his own. I’m impressed.

    • j6takish 4 years ago

      He stepped right into the slide, did the full step throw and everything

    • Lunchbox45 4 years ago

      I like swisher, but I thought that was pretty dirty, he slid to the infield side of the bag with force.

      • It wasn’t “dirty”, Nishioka didn’t “clear” the base properly, and as a result took the full force of the slide by Swisher. It wasn’t intentional by Swisher, it would have happened regardless of who the runner was.

        • Lunchbox45 4 years ago

          perhaps. either way, whats done is done …not a great welcome to the mlb though thats for sure

        • notsureifsrs 4 years ago

          took the full force of the takeout slide, you meant to say. there’s a difference between a slide and a takeout slide, and swisher was doing the latter

          i don’t know if it makes sense to call it dirty, given that everyone does it. but in all seriousness it did seem like nishioka didn’t get the memo

  13. BrocNessMonster 4 years ago

    I’m surprised the Dodgers are never mentioned in these posts about power hitting first basemen. They lack power big time, it was debated whether they’d tender Loney a contract this last offseason, and he’s off to a cold start offensively. Branyan wouldn’t block anyone because it looks like Sands will be a left fielder.

    • azdsnd 4 years ago

      This makes a lot of sense. Loney blows. We’ll see if KT and Colletti are willing to deal with each other, though.

  14. dc21892 4 years ago

    Martinez makes up for his poor defense at the plate. Not to mention, he’s not as bad as most people make him seem.

  15. Gurvir Nijjar 4 years ago

    the jays could use him because edwin encarcion sucks

  16. I think if Branyan is traded it is to a contending team not already mentioned in this article. In other words to a team that doesn’t presently need him but might as a result of an injury that has not yet occurred.

  17. METfan201 4 years ago

    Honestly i was suprised he didnt get much interest this offseason. But out of the list they mentioned id have to say the braves fit best.

  18. Note to MLBTR: Morales has changed his first name to Kendrys, his birth name. He is no longer Kendry (the Angels erroneously left the ‘s’ off when they signed his contract, and he never bothered correcting it until this year).

  19. Padres should release Hawpe and sign Branyan

    • azdsnd 4 years ago

      You mean trade for? Baseball would be an interesting sport if you could just sign players off of other teams’ rosters…

  20. Michael Brown 4 years ago

    I believe the odds of the Braves being interested in Branyan is probably somewhere around the 0.5% range. Or in other words the odds that Kawakami will pitch in Atlanta this year.

  21. JonDaBurk 4 years ago

    Chipper’s and Uggla’s “trouble with the glove”? Have you seen some of the plays Uggla has made already this season???? I am tired of hearing everyone talk crap about Uggla’s defense and saying Chipper doesn’t play good defense is ludicrous! Sure, he’s not as young or quick as he used to be, but I would still take him over most of the other options in the league! Personally, I wouldn’t mind seeing the Braves add Branyan.

    • You know, just click the ‘reply’ button…..

      Anyway, it’s been known for quite some time that Uggla isn’t a good defensive 2nd baseman and that Chipper’s aging body is obviously hurting his range. 7 games hasn’t changed that.

      And of course you wouldn’t mind seeing the Braves sign Branyan.

    • azdsnd 4 years ago

      There’s a difference between making “nice plays” and being a good defender. “Nice plays,” which usually should be referred to as “nice-looking plays” happen when a player has to stretch his physical limits to make a play. It looks impressive because he’s diving, reaching, etc., but really he just has to do that because he doesn’t have the physical capability to make the play without resorting to such techniques. Uggla’s range is poor, so he needs to be flashy.

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