In a questionable move, the Cleveland Indians have sent Russell Branyan to the Seattle Mariners in exchange for minor leaguers Ezequiel Carrera and Juan Diaz.
The 26-47 Indians, currently in last place in the AL Central and 14.5 games behind Minnesota, manage to unload the 34-year old Branyan who signed with the team as a free agent this past off-season and has hit a respectable .263/.328/.491 with the Indians. He has a $2-million salary this season with a mutual option for 2011 at $5-million.
The move allows Cleveland to use Matt LaPorta as their everyday first baseman, and gives them two good prospects.
Ezequiel Carrera was hitting .268/.339/.315 for Seattle Triple-A affiliate, the Tacoma Rainiers at the time of the trade while primarily playing centre field.
Juan Diaz was hitting .295/.345/.433 for the High Desert Mavericks of the Single-A California League while playing shortstop.
For the Mariners, this trade does not make much sense. First of all, they are in last place in the AL West and trailing the Texas Rangers by 14 games as I write this. Does GM Jack Zduriencik think his team has a shot at the playoffs with Erik Bedard nearing a return from the DL?
The Chicago White Sox had their winning streak snapped at 11 games today, after they improved from 28-34 to 39-34. So I guess anything is possible. The Mariners currently have a strong starting rotation, but very little offense in their lineup.
Branyan is certainly an upgrade over Casey Kotchman, but why make this trade at this point in the season with your team so far out of the playoff race?