That is what strikes me about this trade. In comes Russell Branyan who makes absolutely nothing this year and has a $5 million mutual option for 2011 and out goes Ezequiel Carrera and Juan Diaz.
I am sure someone will bring up that trading prospects to Cleveland for 1B/DH bats has worked out so well for us in the past, but neither of Carrera or Diaz seems like much of a threat to make us regret their absence. I was fond of Carrera because of his walks and left handed bat, but they were never supplemented with any other useful Major League skill. While he seemed like a decent enough 4th outfielder, we already have Ryan Langerhans around and never use him so...
Diaz is tougher to know about simply because he's younger with less of a track record. His numbers in high-A look decent, especially for a short stop but there's that whole High Desert problem and adjusted for park, Diaz's numbers were below league average. That doesn't mean he won't eventually become a Major League piece in some form, but he is the sort of Minor League depth worth sacrificing if you deem it necessary.
The question is, was this necessary? On its own, this trade makes little sense. It makes tons of sense if we had the record of the Angels, but we have the record of the Mariners. That's a bad record. WOW! THAT'S A BAD RECORD! My thoughts turn to what else this trade could mean.
It could mean Zduriencik intends for Branyan to stick around through next season. Branyan's $5 million option would be more intriguing if it were completely club controlled, but one wonders if this past winter's experience might make him more likely to agree to exercise it and thus avoid the whole not having a job hassle. Then again, one also wonders how he feels about the way he left Seattle.
It could mean that Zduriencik knows Cliff Lee is on the way out super soon and wanted to brunt some of the pain sure to be experienced by the fans by bringing back someone they enjoyed at little to no cost. Sort of like a miniaturized version of bringing Junior back. This is pure speculation.
Two people that have to be wondering what's up are Mike Carp and Casey Kotchman. We need to make room on the active roster for Branyan so I assume Carp heads back to Tacoma, which is good for him because he's better off playing than sitting so that Josh Wilson of all people can play first base.
In a sort of conclusion, the bad news is that I have no idea what this trade means. The good news is that Russell Branyan looks like 2009 Russell Branyan still which means oh thank god finally some decent hitting. If nothing else, 2010 just got more bearable.