Russell Branyan's 20th homer yet another solo shot

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All-or-nothing slugger Russell Branyan hit his 20th homer Wednesday off Josh Beckett, but it came in a losing cause as the Red Sox topped the Mariners 5-3. It was his 12th solo homer of the year, and he has just 45 RBI.
Of course, the Mariners aren’t putting a ton of guys on base for Branyan. But the modest RBI totals are typical for the 34-year-old. In 2009, Branyan had 31 homers and 76 RBI in 431 at-bats for the Mariners. In 2008, he somehow drove in just 20 runs while hitting 12 homers in 132 at-bats for the Brewers.
Branyan is one of four players in baseball history to average less than 2.5 RBI per home run over a career of at least 1,000 plate appearances. You might be able to guess two of the others:
Russell Branyan – 184 HR, 441 RBI – 2.40 RBI/HR
Mark McGwire – 583 HR, 1,414 RBI – 2.43 RBI/HR
Adam Dunn – 347 HR, 855 RBI – 2.46 RBI/HR
Bill Schroeder – 61 HR, 152 RBI – 2.49 RBI/HR
Ken Phelps – 123 HR, 313 RBI – 2.54 RBI/HR
Branyan is also the all-time leader in homers for players with fewer than 500 RBI:
1. Russell Branyan – 184 HR, 441 RBI
2. Steve Balboni – 181 HR, 495 RBI
3. Ron Kittle – 176 HR, 460 RBI
4. Nick Swisher – 155 HR, 476 RBI
5. Chris Hoiles – 151 HR, 449 RBI
6. Cory Snyder – 149 HR, 488 RBI
6. Dan Uggla – 149 HR, 440 RBI
8. Bo Jackson – 141 HR, 415 RBI
8. John Jaha – 141 HR, 490 RBI
8. Ty Wigginton – 141 HR, 488 RBI
None of that makes Branyan a bad player. But he is unique. Throw strikeouts into the mix, and I’m guessing one could use Baseball-Reference’s play index to create dozens of leaderboards on which he’s an all-time leader.

Report: Mariners acquire Chris Heston from the Giants

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Jon Morosi of MLB Network and FOX Sports reports that the Mariners have acquired starter Chris Heston from the Giants. The Giants will receive a player to be named later, per Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports.

Heston, 28, logged only five innings in the majors this past season as he battled an oblique injury and otherwise spent most of his time with Triple-A Sacramento. Heston was solid out of the Giants’ rotation in 2015, posting a 3.95 ERA with a 141/64 K/BB ratio in 177 2/3 innings over 31 starts.

Heston will be under team control through 2021. He’ll provide depth for the Mariners’ rotation in the meantime.

Joe Nathan wants to pitch in 2017

DETROIT, MI - AUGUST 16: Joe Nathan #36 of the Detroit Tigers pitches in the ninth inning of the game against the Seattle Mariners at Comerica Park on August 16, 2014 in Detroit, Michigan. The Tigers defeated the Mariners 4-2.  (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
Leon Halip/Getty Images
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Joe Nathan‘s agent, David Pepe, says his client wants to pitch in 2017, per ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick. “He’s like the Energizer Bunny,” Pepe said.

Nathan, 42, came back from Tommy John surgery in July, pitching two scoreless innings for the Cubs with four strikeouts and two walks. The Cubs released him and the Giants picked him up, and Nathan went on to pitch 4 1/3 scoreless innings down the stretch with five strikeouts and two walks.

According to FanGraphs, Nathan’s velocity wasn’t where it used to be, which is to be expected of a pitcher in his 40’s coming back from major elbow surgery. Still, with teams always on the hunt for bullpen depth, it would be shocking if Nathan didn’t get any bites before spring training starts.