Just last night I was working on a story about Russ Branyan, but I saved it as a draft because I had to leave home before I could finish. Here's what I had marked down:
- is a pretty good bet to put up a wOBA* around at least .345-.360
- would provide the left-handed power that Raul's departure will take away
- can DH
- can play first base
- can play third base, albeit not particularly well, which would give the front office time to figure things out in the event that they trade Beltre
- is no stranger to the bench and likely wouldn't have a problem with platooning or getting irregular playing time
- has never cost more than $1.25m in a single season and signed on with the Brewers last year as a minor league free agent
- wouldn't be hard to dump if things don't work out
Branyan may not stick around to be a part of the future (he turns 33 in two weeks), but he is literally the perfect stopgap, and the sort of player Bavasi probably never would've given a second look. As first ML acquisitions go, I'm not sure Zduriencik could've done much better, all things considered.
More later. For now, be happy. This is a move with no downside.