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.


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44 Comments on "Trade Candidate: Russell Branyan"


RAYS7
4 years 4 months ago

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

inleylandwetrust
4 years 4 months 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 4 months ago

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

dc21892
4 years 4 months ago

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

Lunchbox45
4 years 4 months ago

hes fully capable

dc21892
4 years 4 months 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 4 months ago

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

Mr_Anderson1017
4 years 4 months 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 4 months 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.

4 years 4 months ago

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.

inleylandwetrust
4 years 4 months 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 4 months ago

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

Chuck Norris
4 years 4 months ago

Angels?

4 years 4 months ago

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

101andCounting
4 years 4 months 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

mrsjohnmiltonrocks
4 years 4 months 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.

4 years 4 months ago

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.)

CitizenSnips
4 years 4 months 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 4 months 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

4 years 4 months ago

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.

Rangersfan32
4 years 4 months 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 4 months 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.

4 years 4 months ago

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.

East Coast Bias
4 years 4 months ago

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

JacksTigers
4 years 4 months 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 4 months ago

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

Lunchbox45
4 years 4 months ago

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

4 years 4 months ago

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 4 months ago

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

notsureifsrs
4 years 4 months 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

BrocNessMonster
4 years 4 months 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 4 months ago

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

dc21892
4 years 4 months 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.

notsureifsrs
4 years 4 months ago

he pretty much is

Gurvir Nijjar
4 years 4 months ago

the jays could use him because edwin encarcion sucks

4 years 4 months ago

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.

MetsORnothing
4 years 4 months 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.

4 years 4 months ago

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).

4 years 4 months ago

Padres should release Hawpe and sign Branyan

azdsnd
4 years 4 months ago

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

Michael Brown
4 years 4 months 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.