Buster Olney says that the Padres — the odd men out on Adam LaRoche and Derrek Lee, it seems — are considering signing Russell Branyan and using him in a platoon at first base. Olney mentions Kyle Blanks as a potential platoon partner but he’s going to miss a good chunk of next season due to Tommy John surgery.
And Branyan would need a platoon partner. He continued to put the hurt on righties last year, hitting 19 of his 25 homers against them while posting an .874 OPS. Against lefties, however, he was sub-Francoeurian.
Still, Branyan is exactly the kind of guy someone in need of a stop-gap first baseman should be looking for. And you don’t have to pay him $21 million over three years to get him. Orioles.
Alex Rodriguez’s post-retirement renaissance continues apace. After starring as a studio host for Fox’s playoff coverage over the past couple of years, A-Rod is about to be named to, arguably, televised baseball’s top job: color commentary in ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball booth.
Michael McCarthy of The Sporting News is hearing that ESPN is going to give the gig, vacated by Aaron Boone by virtue of his hiring by the Yankees, to Rodriguez. There he’ll join Jessica Mendoza and whoever they get to replace play-by-play man Dan Shulman, who chose to step back from the Sunday night job following last season. This, by the way, marks the second time A-Rod has taken over Aaron Boone’s job given that he replaced Boone at third base for the Yankees in 2004.
The twist: A-Rod is likely to keep his Fox postseason job too. While some broadcasters work for multiple networks, it’s pretty rare for Fox to allow its talents to work for competitors like that. Apparently they believe keeping A-Rod — who five years ago was one of the most despised figures in baseball — is worth it. What a difference a few years makes.
In other news, Alex Rodriguez is likely to be shunned mightily by the current crop of BBWAA voters when he hits the Hall of Fame ballot in a couple of years. At the rate he’s going, though, their successors will put him in Cooperstown via the Ford Frick Award sometime in the 2040s.