Branyan passes, Gimenez dropped

By Anthony Castrovince/

As expected, the Indians have made the Russell Branyan signing official. They were happy enough with the results of his physical examination to sign him to a one-year, $2 million deal with up to $1 million more in potential incentives. There’s also a mutual option for 2011 worth $5 million.

To make room for Branyan on the 40-man roster, utilityman Chris Gimenez was outrighted to Triple-A Columbus and reassigned to Major League camp as a non-roster invitee.

Here’s the full story on

UPDATE: The Indians also purchased the contract of Anthony Reyes from Triple-A Columbus and placed him on the 60-day disabled list.

UPDATE No. 2: What essentially happened is Gimenez was designated (and cleared waivers) to make room for Reyes, who was then placed on the DL to make room for Branyan. The reason the Indians did this was because Reyes (who is, as you recall, recovering from Tommy John) has an out in his contract at the end of camp, and the Indians wants to keep him around should he recover in time to help them in the second half.

Also, Shapiro and Manny Acta confirmed our expectations that Branyan will be the regular at first base, though they stopped short of saying that confirms that Matt LaPorta will be a regular in left. They said both LaPorta and Brantley will be playing every day “somewhere.”

I’d still expect LaPorta in left and Brantley in Columbus on Opening Day.

UPDATE No. 3: I neglected to mention that while Branyan is viewed as a potential option at third base, Acta does not plan to use him in the outfield.



I know the whole Branyan thing doesn’t make a lot of sense to a lot of people. However, I’m going to accept it as a decent move. I know he is a swing-and-miss, all-or-nothing sort of guy, but if he has half the contact power he did last year (31 home runs in only 116 games), that is still a 20 home run season. If MicAlthough I don’t really care for swing-and-miss guys in my ideal lineup, he should get the job done. But, more importantly, I see him as a guy who can fill holes that could inevitably crop up this year. If LaPorta can’t make it for the first week or two of the season, he can play first base. If Peralta gets traded, he can play third base. hael Brantley needs more seasoning, he can play corner outfield. Granted, he may be a defensive liability, but I think I would prefer him over Kearns, Duncan, Marte, and the like. By the way, I was glancing through some of his video clips, and check out this monster shot in Detroit. The boy can “run in to one” that is for sure.

LaPorta should play first (almost) every day at the MLB level, so long as he’s injury-free . . . this is such a bad deal . . . who else was hoping they’d fail him on the physical?

I still don’t like this move, for the reason I’ve stated before. While something like a Branyan/Marte platoon at 1b with Laporta in the outfield does make some sense for this year, and could be fairly productive, I don’t get setting Laporta back in his development as a 1st baseman. And I definitely wouldn’t understand taking Brantley over Laporta at this stage, if Laporta is healthy. And while I could certainly see that another half-year in the minors wouldn’t be a bad thing for Brantley, if they’re going that route, it would be better to slide Jordan Brown into the outfield to start the year, simply to see what he can do. Even if Brown is a “work in progress” as a defender, I’d think he could learn more playing alongside Sizemore than he would down in Columbus, and Brown has nothing more to prove as a hitter in the minors … I don’t think Branyan’s much of an option anywhere but 1b these days. He hasn’t played 3b for 2 years, and hasn’t played in the outfield for 3.

“You know, I’m worried about LaPorta at first — he doesn’t have a lot of experience there. He needs to improve in the field. What’s the best way to make him a better first baseman? I’ve got it! We’ll put him in the outfield! They don’t even wear the same glove!”
As I said before, this is insane troll logic.

This move is baffling. This lineup is surely the most lopsidedly lefty heavy in the league. Furthermore, if the FO has commited to and accepted that 2010 is a development year then why not let LaPorta develop at first and let Brantley takes his bumps this year at the big league. All Branyan will be doing is taking away ABs from LaPorta/Brantley. I don’t like this move at all.

Also how can Acta say we didnt have depth at 1B; we have LaPorta/Marte/Brown. If they all went down then the likes of Shelly Duncan could fill the hole, but 1B was never a position of need.

I smiled a little while reading that Indians needed to be as careful with Branyan as they’ve been with Hafner. But then again I realized the underlying tones behind the premonition. Also, contrary to this post, I’m usually one of the more optimistic Tribe fans.

On the plus side, it looks like the only Central team that has good left handed pitching is the White Sox, with Buehrle and Danks, and I foresee the White Sox having issues scoring runs against everyone. And Shapiro’s assembled a fine team of guys who bash right handers. Choo, Hafner and Sizemore have career OPS above .900 against RHP, Branyan’s was above .900 last year, and Laporta’s was around 1.000 in the minors.

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