Because you meet someone once and suddenly their Facebook pictures are interesting.
Russell Branyan. You should all know by now that Branyan signed with the Indians, but what you may not have heard is that, as of now, he's slotted to be the regular first baseman. This, of course, isn't a permanent arrangement, as both Branyan and Travis Hafner have a little health question storm cloud following them around wherever they go, but for the time being, the Indians are content putting Russell in the field.
Does this reflect poorly on the Mariners? No, for a number of reasons, which aren't limited to the following list:
(1) The M's made Branyan an offer that he turned down, and they couldn't wait around for him to figure out that he didn't have a market
(2) The M's know as much or more about Branyan's health than Cleveland does, and they decided he wasn't worth a strong pursuit. We have no reason to be skeptical of our team's medical staff or front office
(3) The Indians may simply be more willing to take a risk than the M's are, which would be a difference in philosophy and division context. Remember that the Rays, who were also interested, were going to put Branyan at DH
(4) Branyan is 34 years old and no guarantee to outperform Casey Kotchman and Ryan Garko anyway
I wish Branyan all the best, because he's awesome, and I hope he stays perfectly healthy all year long. He deserves it. The M's, though, made an informed and thorough decision to let him go, and they've earned our trust. So while I'd like to have Branyan back, I understand why he's gone. In the meantime, I wonder when someone's going to let the Indians know that Matt LaPorta isn't an outfielder.
- Sean Green. Remember when Green went from kind of three-quarters to sidearm? He's lowering his arm angle again even more. Because his platoon split clearly wasn't pronounced enough. Jerry Manuel hopes that Green can be more than a righty specialist because of his groundball tendencies, but Jerry Manuel doesn't realize that Green's career K/BB against lefties is 0.6. All the groundballs in the world aren't going to save you when you miss the target more than everybody that's so far tried to murder Jeff Dunham.
- Jarrod Washburn. The highest-profile remaining outfield free agents: Jermaine Dye, Gary Sheffield, and Garret Anderson. I would kill to see Washburn pitch in front of an outfield of all three of them. Right now, as you're reading this, Washburn is somewhere in the woods, trying to shoot a mammal in the head.
- Rob Johnson. Wait, you're serious?
- Raul Ibanez. Ibanez says he suffered through an abdominal injury last year that made its presence known in May and became "unbearable" by June. You'll recall that Ibanez had a 1.115 OPS through June 2nd and a .758 OPS the rest of the way. Sounds convenient, but then the last time I doubted Raul Ibanez he went on to have every season of his entire career, so I think I'm gonna go ahead and let this one go.
- Adrian Beltre. Beltre rolled his right ankle yesterday when he stepped on a baseball. Given what happened last time Beltre had pain in his ankle, I predict the Red Sox will win the division by 20 games.
Phillippe Aumont. The Phillies are going to be bumping Aumont back into the rotation. As was the case with Branyan, the M's put a lot of thought into their decision, here, so you either trust them or you don't.
- Carlos Silva. Silva likes Chicago, because while Seattle was concerned about his weight, in Chicago there's less pressure to not be morbidly obese.
- Bill Hall and Tug Hulett. Hall's acquisition means Hulett is unlikely to break camp with the Red Sox. One of these days Hulett will be blocked by a guy that doesn't suck a lot.
- Wladimir Balentien. The re-signing of Jonny Gomes in Cincinnati does a number on Balentien's chances of grabbing significant playing time, as the most likely scenario now has Gomes platooning with Chris Dickerson. Over the last four years, Gomes has a WAR of -0.3.