First things first - Pravda's reporting it as a one-year deal. Financial terms weren't disclosed, but since Branyan's always been dirt cheap, I'd be surprised if we're looking at anything over $1.5-2m. For this organization, that's pocket change. There's no risk.
Moving on to more interesting stuff from Baker's latest:
Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik said he's prepared to "give Russell as many at-bats as he's had in his career.''
Branyan will get a shot at the everyday first base job.
"It looks that way,'' Zduriencik said. "I know what Russell can do.''
Things could obviously change between now and Opening Day, but as of this moment, it looks like we'll be in for some fun - Branyan's probably the strongest left-handed Mariner hitter in Safeco history, and given enough playing time, he could hit 25-30 home runs, none of them boring. Perhaps this'll spell the end of Ichiro being the biggest draw in BP. Like Richie Sexson a few years ago, Branyan's a threat to go deep every time he comes to the plate, but unlike Richie Sexson a few years ago, he doesn't carry the burden of expectations. So he's a more freeing experience. People won't be yelling at him when he strikes out in a clutch situation (and he'll do that a lot). It'll be more like "oh yeah" "what did we expect". And then when he crushes the ball he'll be treated like a hero. It's funny the way money changes the way players are received.
Russ Branyan's a stopgap. He's just a guy we brought in to hang out while we look for a longer-term solution at first base, and he's almost certainly not going to be a part of this organization's future. But he's cheap, he's entertaining, he's pretty good, and his signing is an indication that our new front office understands way more about effective roster construction than the last guys did, so I just don't see any way a reasonable person could hear about this and not be pleased. He's 95% the fun of Adam Dunn for a tiny fraction of the cost. That's good. We did good. We did good.
Update: ESPN calls it a $1.4m/1yr deal, with $500k possible in incentives.