(For the last few weeks, I've been profiling some of the best free agents on the market this winter. At the end of each piece, I made a prediction regarding the type of contract the player could be in line to see. Obviously, these predictions have to be fluid because the season is still in progress. So which players have seen thier value change over the past few weeks? Let's take a look at the impending free agency of Russell Branyan.)
Initial Prediction: (2 years/$15 million)
When I posted my original piece about Branyan on August 7th, Russell Branyan was on pace to put up some of the best power numbers of any hitter in the AL this season. After struggling for so many years, Branyan broke out in 2009 by hitting .260-24 HR-61 RBI-.361 OBP. Branyan had a legitimate chance to hit 40 home runs if he stayed healthy and productive through the end of September.
New Prediction: (2 years/$10 million)
What Changed: Well, Branyan was unable to stay healthy and productive. In the second half of the season, Branyan hit just .193 with 9 HR and 27 RBI. To make matters worse, Branyan has been out since August 29th because of a herniated disk and it's doubtful that Branyan will play again this season. The second half raised lots of questions about Branyan: was the first half of the season just a fluke? Or was his second half so poor because he was injured?
Branyan still finished out the year with an impressive 31 home runs, but those questions coupled with his age and performance history, make me doubt that any team will give him $7 million per.
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