After 11 years of injuries and being considered a bench player/pinch-hitter, Russell Branyan finally got everything he wanted in 2009.
For the first time in his major league career, Branyan got an opportunity to be an everyday player. In 2009 with the Seattle Mariners, Branyan played in a career high 116 games and had a career high 505 ABs.
In those 116 games, Branyan hit .251 with 31 home runs and an .867 OPS. His .867 OPS ranked seventh amongst American League first baseman.
It was a pretty good time for Branyan to have a career year, as he was a free agent after the 2009 season. However, things haven’t gone according to plan since Branyan filed for free agency back in November.
Branyan thought he was worthy of a multi-year deal and rejected the Mariners’ one-year deal early in the free agent period. As it appears right now, the Mariners’ offer might have been Branyan’s best.
A lot of teams have filled their first base or DH hole with low-cost options this offseason, limiting Branyan’s options. The Atlanta Braves filled their need by signing Troy Glaus, the Mariners traded for Casey Kotchman, and the A’s re-signed Jack Cust.
These moves, coupled with a bad back, have seriously limited Branyan’s options in 2010. So where could Branyan end up? Here are a couple of landing spots for the 34 year old.
New York Mets —I don’t think they will go into the 2010 with Daniel Murphy as their first baseman. However, I would be shocked if the Mets didn’t bring back Carlos Delgado.
San Francisco Giants —GM Brian Sabean is talking about putting Juan Uribe in the starting lineup and moving Pablo Sandoval to first and Mark DeRosa to third. If the Giants come to their senses, they will leave Uribe in the utility role.
If this happens, the Giants could have an opening at first. Branyan would bring some power and some plate discipline to the lineup.
Pittsburgh Pirates —The Pirates have talked about moving Adam LaRoche to first once Pedro Alvarez is ready. However, Alvarez isn’t ready yet and the Pirates have an opening at first.
Baltimore Orioles —The Orioles would rather move Garrett Atkins to first, but if they can’t find another third baseman, then they will keep Atkins at third and look for a first baseman.
Like the Mets, they are interested in Delgado, but if they can’t land him, Branyan could be a nice fallback option.
Kansas City Royals —I would give Kila Ka’aihue a chance, but I get the sense he is not a favorite of GM Dayton Moore. The Royals could leave Billy Butler at first and sign Branyan to be their DH.
So as you can see, Branyan doesn’t have too many options out there. If I was a betting man, I would say he ends up with the Giants.
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