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Russell Branyan joins Yankees on minor-league contract

Feb 8, 2012, 2:04 PM EDT

Arizona Diamondbacks v Colorado Rockies Getty Images

Russell Branyan has agreed to a minor-league contract with the Yankees, according to Dan Martin of the New York Post.

He’ll compete for a bench spot in spring training after hitting just .197 in 68 games for the Diamondbacks and Angels last season.

Branyan’s low batting averages and high strikeout totals have often masked otherwise solid production, as his .814 career OPS is higher than guys like Raul Ibanez, Aubrey Huff, Michael Young, Torii Hunter, Adrian Beltre, Michael Cuddyer, Miguel Tejada, Vernon Wells, Ichiro Suzuki, and Johnny Damon.

However, given how poorly he hit in limited action last season and the fact that he’s now 36 years old it’s possible Branyan is just about finished. On the other hand, he’s certainly a worthwhile pickup on a no-risk deal and did smack 56 homers between 2009 and 2010.

  1. sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Feb 8, 2012 at 2:19 PM

    I have been hoping for this. I don’t know where to look these things up, but I am sure Branyan has at least 2 of the top 5 HR at Yankee stadium by distance. If they just need someone to come in and DH against RHP, he could fit the bill nicely. On a minor league deal, I say MUSCLE UP!

    • buffalochris - Feb 8, 2012 at 2:47 PM

      Longest at Miller Park off Greg Maddux (480′), and then temp Longest at PetCo (453′)

    • whatthehellisansky - Feb 8, 2012 at 2:52 PM

      he hit a freakin MOONSHOT in the upper deck in new Yankee Stadium while he was a Mariner – I believe he was the first to hit one up there.

      • sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Feb 8, 2012 at 3:09 PM

        He was also the first to hit one off the sports bar in center. Dude seems to like hitting in Yankee Stadium.

      • deathmonkey41 - Feb 8, 2012 at 3:22 PM

        Yeah, I remember that one- seemed like it was never going to come down.

      • surefooted1 - Feb 8, 2012 at 4:51 PM

        He has like 8 HRs at Yankee Stadium.

  2. WhenMattStairsIsKing - Feb 8, 2012 at 2:23 PM

    I wonder if this means the Ibanez/Damon/Matsui grouping has to move on.

    • lardin - Feb 8, 2012 at 2:32 PM

      No, this is a minor league contract. If the Yankees still want Ibanez/Damon/Matsui they will sign them and just keep Branyan in AAA or release him, There is no guaranteed money due to Branyan

  3. Ari Collins - Feb 8, 2012 at 3:00 PM

    Branyan’s as good as the other DH candidates, and for a few million less. Just better hope they never give him a glove.

  4. uwsptke - Feb 8, 2012 at 5:07 PM

    Long live 3TO!

  5. pisano - Feb 8, 2012 at 6:05 PM

    I know it’s only a minor league contract, but good God does anyone strikeout more than Branyan?

  6. Detroit Michael - Feb 9, 2012 at 8:41 AM

    While Branyan probably has been underrated during his career, the article’s use of career OPS compared to other players overstates Branyan’s case:
    (1) OPS overvalues slugging compared to a more sophisticated measure like wRC+ for example and
    (2) Branyan has received the platoon advantage more often during his career than the list of players to whom he is being compared.
    Obviously, the comparison also ignores defensive value too.

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