"Wakamatsu said there is a strong possibility that Russell Branyan will not be back this season. Branyan is on the DL with a herniated disc in his back. The team is targeting a mid-month return in hopes he responds to treatment.Well that's unfortunate. Branyan has been one of the feel good stories this season by having the best season of his career at age 33. Branyan hit .251 with 31 home runs, 76 RBI, and a .347 OBP.
Branyan had an epidural Tuesday and supposedly feels better, but nobody can say for sure when he'll be back.
"I think with the bulging disc, there's a strong chance that he won't come back," Wakamatsu said. "Our dialogue has been to shoot for the 15th."
However, now that it looks like Branyan will miss the entire month of September, how will that effect his free agent candidacy?
On one hand, the injury is obviously a negative. Nobody wants to be injured. If Branyan was healthy, he would have had the opportunity to hit 40 home runs for the first time in his career and the opportunity to potentially raise his batting average. In addition, now Branyan will have to prove to teams during the offseason that he is indeed healthy and that there will be no lingering effects from the injury.
But on the other hand, Branyan's injury will prevent his batting average from dropping any further. Since the all-star break, Branyan has only hit .193, which is a far cry from his .280 batting average before the all-star break. There's a very good chance that Branyan's 2009 batting average could have dipped below .240 if he continued to decline, which would have really hurt his free agent candidacy.
So if Branyan is indeed done for the season, I don't think the injury will hurt his free agent candidacy that much. I predicted that Branyan was in line for a 2 year/$15 million dollar contract a few weeks back, so if anything, I could see Branyan's potential deal coming down into the 2 year/$12 million dollar range.