Monday, June 1, 2009

Time to Sell High: Russell Branyan?

Many people, myself included, were shocked when the Mariners signed Russell Branyan in the offseason with the intention of having the journeyman start at first base. Everyone knew that Branyan possessed plus power, but he never made enough contact or hit for enough batting average to be a starter in the majors.

But so far this season, Branyan has been a revelation for the Mariners by hitting .321 with 11 HRs, and an impressive .402 OBP. Sure Branyan still strikes out alot (47 K's in 157 ABs), but Branyan is driving the ball with authority and at 33, Branyan is putting together the best season of his career.

So for the Mariners, this brings up a interesting dilemma.

On one hand, the Mariners have played pretty good ball this season and currently sit just 6.5 games out of first in the AL West at 24-26. It's too early to say that the Mariners cannot make the playoffs or at least stay competitive. I'm sure it would mean the world to Mariners fans to see the team continue to play well after last season's debacle.

But on the other hand, the Mariners need to stay focused on building for the future. And odds are high that Branyan will not be a part of the Mariners' long term plans. Branyan is only signed through 2009 and could be in line for a substantial raise after this season and at 33, Branyan is not exactly a building block for the future.

In addition, if Branyan is able to maintain this offensive pace, then there is no doubt that he could bring some valuable young pieces back to the Mariners. Power hitters, who put up numbers like Branyan, are always in high demand around the trading deadline and this season should be no different.The Mariners could jump start their rebuilding process if they decide to move Branyan.

Branyan has been a great story so far this season. But to me, the Mariners best bet would be to explore a deal in the near future for Branyan. The long term future of the organization is far more important than short term success, especially if that entails only a .500 season.

I have a tough time believing that the Mariners would start trading away pieces anytime soon, but in the case of Russell Branyan, the Mariners might be better off trying to move him quickly; (if they decide to do so) simply because the odds of decline are high with Branyan considering that he has never performed this well before. Well see what the Mariners decide to do.

So what do you think? Should the Mariners move Branyan?

1 comment:

tHeMARksMiTh said...

I'm doing so in my fantasy league. ;)

As for the actual Mariners, if they can get anything good for their players, then they should move any of their veterans. But I would be patient. There's no reason to trade now if you can't get a good return.