Tribe signed Russel Branyan today as a corner infielder/oufielder. The deal is a $2 million base with up to $1 million in incentives, and a mutual option for 2011 for $5 million. He’s there for insurance in case Matt LaPorta isn’t ready to go.
I get why the Tribe is signing him, and that’s cause he’s pretty cheap, but these moves KILL me. This is taking playing time away from Jordan Brown (who’s never had a shot with the club) or Andy Marte. Younger, cheaper options with higher ceilings. That’s what the Tribe needs to be doing. There are times when you shouldn’t do things just because they’re cheap.
This is the type of signing that doesn’t make sense to me. At least Hudson was healthy. Branyan sat out the month of September with a balky back. Sweet. Not to mention that the Indians really should know by now what they’re gonna get with Branyan (power, and not much else) because Branyan has been in the organization a bazillion times.
I don’t know, maybe Shapiro/Antonetti are trying to channel their inner Billy Beane, by acquiring a player just so they can flip him in a trade later. I mean after all, isn’t that how we landed that Asdrubal guy? Still it’s a bit of risky move given Branyan’s age and back. And I HATE taking the playing time away from Brown and Marte.
But for now we have to assume Branyan is here for the season. Who knows? Maybe Branyan makes the $5 million mutual option look like a bargain next year. Maybe the Tribe will flip him for some super awesome player(s). Maybe he will make me look stupid for wanting to write about how I’m praying that he fails his physical with the Tribe’s doctors.
But then again, maybe I’m right. Not saying I hope I am, but I got a pretty good feeling about it.