According to Shannon Drayer, the Mariners have traded Ezequiel Carrera and Juan Diez to the Indians for Russell Branyan. I am literally shocked by this news. Branyan is only under club control for the rest of 2010, but he has a $5 million mutual option for 2011, which I have to assume the Mariners think will vest.
At first this strikes as a win-now move, which is silly with the Mariners nowhere near contention, but first base is a big question mark going forward, and if he can stay healthy, Branyan might be able to clear things up, at least for next year. As for the two players we’re sending away, neither are really anything special. I’ve always liked Carrera because of his tools, but he’s far from a can’t miss prospect. I’ll have more thoughts on this once more info becomes available.
Edit: Here are a couple quotes from Jack Zduriencik about the move, via SeattlePI:
“It’s no secret that we’ve been pursuing a bat for some time,” Zduriencik said in a statement. “The opportunity to consummate a deal presented itself today. In Russell, we have added a bat that can help bolster our offense. With three-plus months to play we want to give our team every opportunity to be as productive as possible this season, while not harming the long-term plan for the franchise.”
“Russell had the most productive season of his career with us last year, so we know he’s a good fit for our team and our ballpark. With our pitchers throwing so well, and our young starters still developing, I wanted to give them every opportunity to continue to develop. Part of that development is winning games, and we feel Russell can help us do that.”
So it is looking more like a win-now move, though one that doesn’t hurt the team’s future. The 2 minor leaguers were expendable, and Russell Branyan certainly makes this team better, at least for the rest of 2010.