This decision was something of a no-brainer, but according to Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic, Russell Branyan will be on the Diamondbacks’ Opening Day roster.
Branyan, who could have opted out of his minor league contract yesterday, is batting .420 (21-for-50) with four home runs, three doubles and 17 RBI this spring.
Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson likes what he’s seeing from his new slugger, but he isn’t ready to say where Branyan will fit in his lineup.
“Haven’t determined that yet,” he said. “(Branyan) may, he may not (get his share of starts). I don’t know what to tell you about how the mix will go.”
The most likely scenario is that Branyan will share at-bats with Juan Miranda at first base. Brandon Allen, who has options remaining, could be sent to Triple-A Reno.
Branyan, 35, batted .237/.323/.487 with 25 homers and 57 RBI over 428 plate appearances between the Indians and Mariners last season. Assuming he can stay healthy, he’s going to enjoy life in Chase Field.
Free agent right-hander Yovani Gallardo is headed back to the Brewers on a major league deal, The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal reports. No other terms have been reported yet, as the agreement is still pending a physical.
Gallardo, 31, completed a one-year run with the Mariners before getting his $13 million option declined by the team last month. He provided little value during his time in Seattle, pitching to a 5-10 record in 22 starts and putting up a 5.72 ERA, 4.1 BB/9 and 6.5 SO/9 in 130 2/3 innings as both a starter and reliever.
Still, assuming the veteran righty is on the cusp of a comeback, he may as well try for it with his original club. Gallardo last appeared for the Brewers from 2007 to 2014, racking up a cumulative 20.8 fWAR and peaking during the 2010 season, when he earned his first All-Star nomination and Silver Slugger award. This will be his ninth career season with the club.
Even with Gallardo aboard, the Brewers are expected to continue deepening their pitching stores for 2018. With team ace Jimmy Nelson still recovering from shoulder surgery, the club will enter the season with a projected rotation of Gallardo, Zach Davies, Chase Anderson and Junior Guerra, the latter of whom pitched just 70 1/3 innings in 2017 following a right calf strain and shin contusion. Another big name pitcher could help cement Milwaukee’s rotation and keep them competitive for another year, though they don’t appear to have made any concrete moves in that direction so far.