We’ve seen this coming for a while, but the Mariners and Russell Branyan have said goodbye to each other for good. Unlike Brett Myers and the Phillies this is all amicable with Branyan thanking Jack Zduriencik. He’s a Four True Outcome player: home runs, strikeouts, walks and the nicest manners.
Branyan says he has been talking to a couple of teams and thinks he’ll get a major league deal. Early in the offseason it seemed like the Mariners wanted Branyan back. They probably were hoping for a one-year, relatively low money deal like they got last year when he made $1.4 million. Branyan, who hit 31 home runs last season was probably thinking differently. Given that he missed the last five weeks of the season with a bad back, however, makes going either multiple years — or too many years — a risky endeavor.
If the Mets were seriously considering Carlos Delgado it means that they weren’t that worried about defense. How about giving Branyan a spin then?
MLB.com’s Jenifer Langosh reports that the Cardinals are shutting down pitcher Carlos Martínez from throwing for two weeks because his shoulder strength isn’t where it should have been at this point. Langosch added that an MRI showed no structural damage in Martínez’s right shoulder.
Interestingly, president of baseball operations John Mozeliak didn’t sound too happy with Martínez offseason training regimen. Per Mark Saxon of The Athletic, Mozeliak said, “Obviously, there’s a history with Carlos’ shoulder and it would be probably in everybody’s best interest if he maintained a constant or perpetual approach to that program.”
Martínez, 27, battled oblique and shoulder injuries last year. He accrued just 118 2/3 innings, making just 18 starts. He was moved to the bullpen when he returned from the disabled list in August and finished out the season in that role. Still, Martínez managed a 3.11 ERA with 117 strikeouts and 60 walks.
Langosch reported last week that the Cardinals were considering using Martínez in relief again in 2019. The latest news may push the Cardinals to indeed use Martínez out of the bullpen once again. He will be reevaluated in early March, but there is a chance he won’t be ready for Opening Day.