Marlins pursuing Branyan?

Perhaps the Marlins have found their answer to a left-handed bat off the bench.

According to ESPN’s Jayson Stark, the Marlins have made a contract offer to veteran Russell Branyan. Stark reports the offer contains a low base salary with plenty of incentives.

The 34-year-old Branyan spent 2009 with the Mariners, where he earned $1.4 million while appearing in 116 games. Branyan belted 31 homers and drove in 76 runs.

The Marlins have been saying they are ready to give prospects Logan Morrison and Gaby Sanchez the chance to win the first base job. Branyan now appears primed to compete for a starting job. And if he doesn’t win it, he could fill the role of left-handed bat off the bench.

Branyan has 12 years in the big leagues, and he’s a .234 career hitter with 164 lifetime home runs.

Ross Gload was Florida’s primary left-handed pinch-hit option in 2009. A couple of months ago, Gload signed as a free agent with the Phillies.

If Branyan signs, his arrival pretty much secures Jorge Cantu at third base. Cantu is a fallback option to play first base.

Like Branyan, Morrison is a left-handed hitter. Morrison also can play a corner outfield spot.

Joe Frisaro

 

2 Comments

A veteran like Branyan is sorely needed to add some competition to spring training. It should not be taken for granted that either Gaby Sanchez or Logan Morrison is guaranteed a roster spot. So sign Branyan and make it clear that the three of them are competing for one roster spot–which if you crunch the numbers is true unless (1) Jorge Jimenez does so poorly that he is returned to Boston, or (2) Maybin is not 100% and starts the year on injury rehab.
Actually my preferred scenario would be the youngsters/newbies earing both corner spots so Cantu can be moved to second base (likely his best defensive position despite three years away) when Uggla is eventually traded.

I think the Marlins should jump into the deal because they have been without an outstanding left handed bat off the bench. Speculations about Logan Morrison and Gaby Sanchez died maybe because they demanded a better deal unlike Branyan. – Jordan

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