Russ Branyan initially wanted at least $20 million

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ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick notes the reason Russell Branyan is now scrambling for work and likely to end up with a modest one-year deal is that he began the offseason looking for a three-year contract worth “somewhere between $20 million and $30 million.”
Adam LaRoche had a similarly inflated initial asking price, but was still able to land a one-year, $5 million deal from the Diamondbacks once his demands came back down to earth. Branyan isn’t going to be as lucky because teams remain scared of his huge strikeout totals and skeptical that he’s an everyday player, so he’s plummeted past the $5 million mark and seems likely to end up with at most $2 million for a part-time role.
Branyan was never going to get a three-year deal or anywhere close to $20 million, but prior to trading for Casey Kotchman the Mariners offered him a one-year deal with the promise of a starting job that will probably dwarf whatever he ends up accepting. The lesson in all of this? Don’t be greedy when you’re a strikeout prone 34-year-old with back problems coming off a career-year and the one team that gave you a chance to thrive offers you a solid one-year deal to return.

Peter Bourjos returns to the Angels on minor league deal

Peter Bourjos
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Free agent outfielder Peter Bourjos is heading back to the Angels on a minor league deal, per a report from Steve Adams of MLB Trade Rumors. The agreement includes an invitation to spring training, but has not yet been officially confirmed by the team.

Bourjos, 31, played out a one-year gig with the Braves in 2018 and slashed .205/.239/.364 with four extra-base hits and a .603 OPS through a career-low 47 plate appearances. He showed more promise during a short-lived stint with the Giants’ Triple-A squad in the second half of the season, but elected free agency in early November and had yet to catch on with another major league club. His deal with the Angels represents a homecoming of sorts, as he played some of the best years of his career in Anaheim from 2010 to 2013 before getting traded to the Cardinals in a multiplayer swap for David Freese and Fernando Salas in 2014.

The veteran outfielder is long past his prime, but could still bring some value to the team as outfield depth behind Justin Upton, Mike Trout, and Kole Calhoun. Per Adams, he’s expected to compete for a spot as the Angels’ fourth outfielder, though he also has limited experience at DH as well.