Jayson Stark is reporting that the Marlins have made an offer to Russell Branyan. It’s a major league deal with a low base and incentives. In that way it’s probably much like the $1.4 million he made in Seattle last year, where he hit 31 dingers.
Problem for him, though, is that he missed a lot of time down the stretch with a bad back, and when power is your game, a bad back is bad news. It also ended up being bad news for his market, inasmuch as he was reportedly expecting to sign a multi-year deal someplace to start at first. Given that the Marlins current first base options — Logan Morrison and Gaby Sanchez — are youngins, he may yet get to start, but it’s almost certainly going to be a one-and-done for Branyan.
Assuming he accepts the offer, that is. Which he should. Because really, I’m not sure who else would give him one at this point.
Free agent right-hander Henderson Alvarez signed a deal with the Tigres de Quintana Roo of the Mexican Baseball League earlier this week, FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman reported Friday. The righty wasn’t necessarily too fringey a player to hack it in the big leagues, but there were no MLB takers in attendance during his showcase in Venezuela last month and he clearly felt it best to try his luck elsewhere.
The 27-year-old’s last major league gig came with the Phillies, for whom he delivered a 4.30 ERA, 6.8 BB/9 and 3.7 SO/9 over 14 2/3 innings in 2017. While he’s not too far removed from his first and only All-Star bid in 2014, he was besieged by shoulder issues in 2015 and 2016 and underwent season-ending surgeries as a result.
That added injury risk, coupled with the fact that he hasn’t pitched more than 22 innings in a single season since 2014, may have been too much for major league teams to take on this spring. Assuming he steers clear of further injuries, however, a return to the majors may not be entirely out of the question in years to come.