February 2010

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


McClung to join pen?

Looks like another former Brewer will be in Marlins camp when pitchers and catchers begin Spring Training on Feb. 20 at the Roger Dean Stadium complex in Jupiter, Fla.

Seth McClung, who will turn 30 on Super Bowl Sunday, is close to finalizing a Minor League deal with an invitation to Spring Training.

Last Friday, the Marlins announced they have signed former Milwaukee All-Star closer Derrick Turnbow to a Minor League contract.

If Turnbow makes the team, he will make $600,000 with a chance for $50,000 in incentives.

McClung will compete for a spot in the bullpen.

McClung also strongly considered the Cardinals, Giants and Nationals.

— Joe Frisaro