A new chapter was written in the amusing vagabond career of Russell Branyon as his current and original team, the Indians, traded him back to his last team, the Mariners, for a couple of semi-prospects. If you count repeats, this is Branyon's eleventh team switch and in that remarkable stretch, he's hit at least one homer in every single stop.
Branyon started this season the way he finished last season--on the disabled list for a bulging disc in his back. Yet he came back for the Indians this season and hit ten homers in 171 at bats. He'll give the Mariners a little more thunder in what is one of the weakest line ups in the league. But the question lingers as to why this move was necessary. It's obvious that the Mariners aren't going anywhere this season. The big speculation is to where they will trade Cliff Lee. So why give up two prospects (granted, they aren't great prospects) for a player they didn't want to resign after last season? It doesn't make sense.
And what did the Indians accomplish losing one of their only big bats when Branyon was only making $2 million this season? They must have liked one of the prospects to have this deal make any sense. Branyon is a first baseman in name only, but that is where he was playing. The Indians want to give LaPorta another chance to play every day now that their season has tanked. But LaPorta hasn't shown any inkling that he can consistently hit big league pitching.
But at least the move is amusing. Branyon has played for eight teams in his 13 seasons. Several of those teams have been multiples in the same season. He has a 114 lifetime OPS+ and has been over 120 in that category the last three years. He has no real glove but he's always swung the big stick. He strikes out a lot, but that's part of the deal. Branyon also has a .236 lifetime batting average, but has hit over .250 the last three years, so he's a consistent and known commodity.
But again, the big question is why now? Why at all? Oh well, at least it is news and provokes a smile of recognition.