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And the Free Agent Is… Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Posted by mrgenre in Mariners.
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A couple days ago, Zduriencik mentioned to the press that he had made an offer to a free agent.  The morons in the mainstream press immediately jumped to a big conclusion like Adam Dunn or a shortstop like Furcal or Orlando Cabrera.  However, any good Mariner fan knew right from the beginning that we were looking at a one year deal to a relative unknown.  That’s why it wasn’t a huge surprise to hear that the player in question was one Russell Branyan.

The amount of the deal has yet to be released, but we’re likely looking between 1 and 3 million dollars.  Not a significant investment on the Mariners’ part, but it fills a role where we struggled last year.  And no, that’s not at third base.

The rumors are already flying about an Adrian Beltre trade, but don’t look for Branyan to get much playing time there.  He was brought in specifically to fill a hole at first base and possibly DH against right-handed pitchers.  It doesn’t make sense to trade Beltre yet, especially with Tuiasosopo not quite ready for the big leagues.  Throw it out of your mind, because Beltre’s here to stay.  Now, if you see us sign Crede, then you might want to rethink that possibility.  But Branyan’s not our man at third.

Does Branyan fill a gap?  Yes.  Does he have a little bit of power?  Yes.  Which is something we’re desperate for.  But will he be effective on a full-time basis?  I seriously doubt it.  He’s a .230 career hitter, and batted a mere .250 last season with 12 homeruns in 132 at bats.  He struggles against left-handed pitchers so much, that the Brewers barely gave him a chance to hit against them last year (14 plate appearances with no hits or walks).  This has been the case his entire career, so unless 7 other teams made a mistake by not giving him a chance to hit more frequently against lefties, I don’t see him doing anything of substance in that situation.

With some other right-handed batters floating around in the 1B and DH realm like Morse and Clement, Branyan’s struggles should be covered.  This is a smart move at a minimum cost, and as much as I was hoping we’d pick up a new shortstop with Z announcing a free agent signing, it’s a good start.

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Comments»

1. Tim Robinson - Thursday, December 4, 2008

when he got lots of reps in aaa, he tore it up. if he gets a lot here, it could goose that .230 up a bit. and…he’s got some pretty impressive power. by the way, i like your writing.

mrgenre - Thursday, December 4, 2008

I agree. If he stays healthy, and manages to snag a significant number of at bats, he could definitely jump up in average. But the question is how he can handle those left-handed pitchers. That alone will define his success. And you’re right, he definitely has a power that will translate to Safeco.

And thanks, by the way, for the compliment. Glad to see I finally have a reader!


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