Yankees ink Russell Branyan – World wonders why

10 Feb

The Yankees signed Russell “The Muscle” Branyan to a minor league deal which guarantees pretty much nothing but a chance to hit live pitching for a week or two. At least that’s all it should entail since Branyan hasn’t been much to talk about since Obama took office. Actually, since before Obama even began running for the Oval office. Why would the Yankees make a move like this?

The book on Branyan is that he has a lot of Pedro Cerrano in him – and if you don’t know Cerrano, Google him! The straight pitch, he hits very much, but the curveball – bats are afraid. That in large part accounts for the sub.200 average. He can still yank a breaking ball left up, but his bat speed is nowhere near where it once was. Even with the short porch, he’s no guarantee of serious power. You have to make contact to do anything, and that is not his forte.

He doesn’t run well, his arm is strong enough, but nothing that strikes fear into the hearts of anyone faster than a wounded armadillo. He hasn’t played the outfield in about 4 years. He can play first enough, but so can several other Yankees, and much better. He can play some third, and let’s give him credit for not having spiked himself fielding a ball. And they signed him because…?

Let’s face it – the Yankees need someone to DH about 110 games – possibly that could shrink to 90-95, but let’s be real – Jeter is not going to DH 20 times this year, nor will Tex or Cano. A-Rod on the other hand may live there once a week. Branyan has power – he crushes the ball in Yankee Stadium – once every couple seasons. Actually it has more to do with he’s cheap, he’s available and he’ll sign a minor league deal. Until something for Headley works out or maybe Matsui or Damon re-joins the team, Branyan may actually DH some if he can hit his weight and show some serious pop. That in and of itself speaks volumes – and they ain’t goo volumes either.


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