New York Yankees hot stove: You want the down-low on Russell Branyan New York Yankees hot stove: You want the down-low on Russell Branyan New York Yankees hot stove: You want the down-low on Russell Branyan

New York Yankees hot stove: You want the down-low on Russell Branyan

English: Russell Branyan

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Since six-time Gold Glover Eric Chavez seems to be AWOL, at least on the New York Yankees radar, GM Brian Cashman is up to his old tricks and I don’t mean off the field.

Once again Cashman is handing out minor league deals and 2012 Spring Training invites, and the latest recipient, according to the New York Post, is 37-year old Russell Branyan.

The left-handed batting Branyan can play in the outfield, and at first and third base if he makes the team this spring. The latest team Branyan got released from was the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, and the rest of his 14 MLB seasons reads like a bad wrap sheet.

Branyan started his career as a Cleveland Indian and from there has played for the Cincinnati Reds, Milwaukee Brewers, San Diego Padres, Tampa Bay Devil Rays, Philadelphia Phillies, St. Louis Cardinals, Seattle Mariners and Arizona Diamondbacks.

Let me just say that this signing makes me think that Cashman is really pushing his luck, or is not thinking clearly.

Last season, Branyan split time between playing first and third base for the D-backs and the Angles. Combined, Branyan had 127 at-bats and posted a .197 batting average, five home-runs, 14 RBIs, 18 walks and struck out 41 times. His OBP was a mere .295, while slugging .370 in the 68 games he played in.

In 2010, Branyan did hit 25 homers, with 57 RBIs and 46 walks over 109 at-bats but he also struck out 131 times. This was again while playing for two teams, as the Indians traded Branyan to the Mariners.

This is almost making me sick knowing Chavez is sitting somewhere as a free agent.

The Yankees should not even waste five cents on Branyan, and here are three reasons why:

1) Throughout his career, Branyan has been prone to injuries but not just on the baseball field. One example dating back to late September 2010, while playing for the Mariners, Branyan reportedly injured himself while out a pizza parlor according to NBC Hardball Talk’s Craig Calcaterra. Calcaterra also broke the news when Branyan had injured himself back in July, this time a hotel table hit his foot at 5am.

That is just a small slice of Branyan’s injury history, as he has spent time on the DL with a trained tendon in his right wrist, had arthroscopic surgery on this shoulder, a sprained right ankle, a fractured middle finger on his left hand, back spasms, a right oblique strain, a herniated disk and he also suffers from chronic eye problems.

2) Branyan is what is referred to as a “free swinger,” meaning he swings ate everything hence his strikeout numbers. And supposedly the problem is only getting worse.

Branyan just turned 37 this past December, so his bat speed is sure to decline as well and he is completely useless without power.

3) Back in 2008, Branyan made headlines for being arrested for assaulting his wife, something that no female wants to hear about. Other players have probably done worse that we don’t know about, but that doesn’t make this right at all.

WKYC News in Indiana reported the following:

The order requires Branyan to turn over his keys and garage door openers to both the couple’s homes in Pepper Pike and in Franklin, Tenn., and orders him not to be within 500 feet of his wife or either of his two children. The order does not allow Branyan any visitation rights with his two children, ages 4 and eight months. It also prohibits him from consuming any alcohol or illegal drugs at any time.

Yikes! This guy sounds real stellar.

Branyan is starting to remind me of a poor-man’s Nick Johnson, with rumored Pat-the Bat tendencies.

Let’s just hope his invite is purely just to offer a cushion before shoving Branyan to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, because I am going to have a hard time ever cheering for this guy.

In addition to the fact that Branyan is practically useless, as he can barely play third base anymore, the Yankees honestly don’t need any more bad press than they are already raking up, and bringing party-hardy Branyan to the Bronx is just a ticking time bomb.


  1. SteveKarsay says:

    Last season he didn't even compile 200 at bats. Given his performances in years past and his tendency to hit right hander's well, he has decent potential to produce as part of a DH platoon. Hes 37, but 150 at-bats or w/e he had is too soon to declare him done.

  2. Steve I hear you but remember how Johnson and Berkman worked out coming in as injury-prone DH's….it is not like Yankee fans allow for a grace period. Produce or be doomed, and I like Chavez a lot better.

    Problem is that A-rod is going to need days off and Girardi has even said once a week he will DH for sure, Nunez is still young and he can hit but he committed a lot of defensive errors last season in big games. Yes, Nunez is a natural but he will develop over time. Chavez is stellar defensively……Branyan cannot play third anymore because he lacks range due to major back issues. The Yankees lack enough roster spots to carry Branyan just to hit and maybe give Tex a day off once a month.

  3. SteveKarsay says:

    All valid points. I would be very against the deal if he were guaranteed a roster spot but since it is a minor league deal its really just a depth move.

    I had never heard that he assaulted his wife before you pointed that out… Definitely makes a guy harder to pull for in tough times.

  4. Danny says:

    Excuse me for being naive, but what are "Pat-the-Bat" tendencies. Thanks in advance for the reply.