Let's start with the old Cleveland retread, 34-year old basher Russell Branyan. You've all heard the first half greatness, the 22-homers and the .280 average, followed by the second half crash. Branyan had been complaining of lower back spasms all year, and ultimately led to his being placed on the DL on August 30th. Now Branyan is hammering truck tires at Vanderbilt to showcase his improved back. I have nothing against Branyan, but is he really someone we want to sign to take a job away from the youngsters? The Indians are looking for a right-handed bat that can play first, and perhaps, play some outfield slots. Branyan hasn't played any outfield in two years, and is a liability out there to begin with. To say he's a third baseman is ridiculous at this point, which leaves him as a first baseman. Do you want him ahead of say, Andy Marte, or really, anyone else the Indians have? To be honest, I'd prefer Jordan Brown to Branyan. He's cheaper, and I would love to see what he can do if given a chance. Branyan is a retread. Might he hit 30 dingers again? Maybe...but it's certainly doubtful. He's never come close before. With the rebuild, it just doesn't make sense.
Hank Blalock, a former third baseman from the Rangers, is nearly in the same boat as Branyan. His past three seasons have been riddled with injuries, and he really hasn't been all that productive. Like Branyan, he had a solid first half of the season, batting .260, with 19 homers and 42 RBI, but ended up losing his first baseman's job in the second half because of struggles. He ended with 25 homers, and a .239 average. Yep, another injury issue that can only play one position.
Then there are the Jermaine Dye rumblings.
Jermaine Dye just plain fits. As mentioned at B³ on Sunday, Dye has played some outstanding baseball over the last five or so years, and can play all the outfield positions, as well as first base. No, he doesn't have much of a glove, but he does have a right-handed bat. Dye also struggled in the second half, but it's more the exception than the rule. Blalock and Branyan are a couple of trash-bin guys at this stage of their career, while Dye may prove to be just the bat, and perhaps a leader in the clubhouse. Rebuilding or trying to win, you can't go wrong with that.
It seems like a perfect fit, which means someone else will likely outbid the Indians, and knowing the Dolans, by a buck and a quarter.