UPDATE: Branyan headed back to M's in confusing deal

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UPDATE, 12:03 PM:  Castrovince adds this morning that the Mariners will pick up the rest of Branyan’s nearly $1.2 million in remaining salary.  Yup, the deal just got even more perplexing.

12:18 AM:  Here’s an odd one.

According to Anthony Castrovince of MLB.com, the Mariners have reacquired first baseman Russell Branyan from the Indians for 23-year-old center fielder Ezequiel Carrera and 21-year-old shortstop Juan Diaz.

Carrera and Diaz are far from top prospects, but Branyan is 34 and clearly at the tail end of his career.  The Mariners had plenty of chances to re-sign him this offseason and never made it happen.  Now 14 games back in the American League West standings, are they really thinking that his bat is going to provide a serious boost?

Branyan was hitting a respectable .263/.328/.491 with 10 home runs for Cleveland, but there are too many holes in Seattle this season.  It just doesn’t make sense to deal young talent.

Known mostly for his speed, Carrera was hitting .268/.339/.318 with zero home runs and nine stolen bases in 64 games this season for Triple-A Tacoma.  Diaz was batting .295 with a .779 OPS, seven home runs and 41 RBI in 254 at-bats with Single-A High Desert.

The Indians are expected to recall Matt LaPorta from Triple-A Columbus, where he has been mashing to the tune of a 1.061 OPS since his June 7 demotion.  He will start for the rest of the season at first base.

Blue Jays, Josh Donaldson to table extension talks

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Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith reports that the Blue Jays and third baseman Josh Donaldson are tabling extension talks as the two sides weren’t able to build any momentum towards agreement on a new contract.

Donaldson said, “We’re not quite there. That, to me, right now is not the major focus and I’m turning the page.” He added, “I want to play this season and really focus on winning games because, ultimately, our goal is to win a World Series and I don’t want to hinder that at all.” Donaldson also said he expects to hit free agency.

The 32-year-old avoided arbitration with the Blue Jays last month, agreeing on a $23 million salary for the 2018 season. He’s a free agent at season’s end. Last year, the three-time All-Star hit .270/.385/.559 with 33 home runs, 78 RBI, and 65 runs scored in 496 plate appearances. Donaldson missed six weeks in the first half with a calf injury, but was able to return and post terrific numbers, so his health — at least that aspect of it — shouldn’t be a concern going into spring training.

If Donaldson does reach free agency, he’ll join a star-studded group that will likely also include Bryce Harper, Manny Machado, Charlie Blackmon, and A.J. Pollock.