It was a really slow day in baseball yesterday, but there was one bit of news coming out of Seattle that I found interesting.
According to various sources, Seattle Mariners free agent 1B Russell Branyan rejected a one-year deal from the Mariners. No terms of the deal have been disclosed, but Branyan rejected the deal because he feels he can get a multi-year deal on the open market.
My initial reaction to this is that Branyan has overplayed his hand.
Let’s look at the facts facing Branyan this offseason:
He will be 34-years-old in December (the 19th to be exact).
In 116 games in 2009, he hit .251 with 31 homeruns and a .867 OPS.
He missed all of September because of a herniated disk in his back.
He has been going to therapy three days a week to correct his back issue.
Branyan made his debut on September, 26th 1998 and up until 2009, he really hadn’t accomplished anything at the major league level.
That’s almost 11 years of being nothing more than a pinch-hitter/role player. That’s a long time.
There are plenty of 1B/DH-type players on this year’s open market.
We are still in a bad economy.
The last two facts are probably the most concerning for Branyan’s camp. Did they not learn anything from last year? Take the money now while they can!
The longer Branyan waits on a two-year deal, the likelyhood increases that he will wait himself into a corner and he will be forced to take a one-year deal that isn’t worth as much as what the Mariners just offered.
I don’t think there is going to be a team out there (not even Omar Minaya) willing to give a 34-year-0ld a multi-year deal who has a bad back and doesn’t have much of a track record.
If you are a GM, why would you give Branyan a two-year deal when you can give Hank Blalock, Carlos Delgado, or even Xavier Nady a one-year deal and get pretty similar production?
I have no problem with a player or trying to get the most money possible. As I have said several times, everyone in this country should try to get paid what they think they are worth.
However, we are in a unique period in our country’s history. As we learned last offseason, this country’s economic problems can even trickle down to baseball.
Sometimes you have to bite the bullet and realize that there are obstacles in your way that you can’t control.
Maybe Branyan will get more money on a one-year deal than the Mariners were offering–who knows?
But if last year has taught us anything, Branyan made a mistake rejecting the Mariners’ offer.
You can follow The Ghost of Moonlight Graham on Twitter @ theghostofmlg