Russell “the muscle” Branyon is back!

Welcome back Russell 'the muscle" Branyon

Just got it confirmed from multiple sources that Russell Branyon is coming back to the  Seattle Mariners in exchange for two minor leaguers. The mariners sent outfielder Ezequiel Carrera and shortstop Juan Diaz to the Cleveland Indians for Branyon. Branyon is hitting 263 with 10 homers and 24 RBI’s since coming off the DL on April 24th. This move comes as a surprise and will take care of the first base issue leaving Kotchman, and Carp expendable. As interesting as it was to watch Mike Sweeney and Josh Wilson playing first I for one will be happy to see Russell “the muscle” back at first.

   It is hard to say how this fits into the plans for further trades as this will answer some of our power shortage in the lineup. Perhaps it means we will not trade Cliff Lee and Jack Z. is going to try to win this year. Very interesting development. I saw Jack Z. and Chuck Armstrong in the stands at the game today and had a hunch something was up. We shall see what else transpires in the next couple of weeks, should be interesting…..

Official press release: 

CLEVELAND, OH — Today, the Cleveland Indians announced they have acquired OF EZEQUIEL CARRERA and SS JUAN DIAZ from the Seattle Mariners in exchange for INF RUSSELL BRANYAN and cash or a player to be named later.

Carrera, 22, has spent the entire 2010 season to date at AAA Tacoma as he has hit .268 (57-213) with 24 runs scored, 6 doubles, 2 triples and 18RBI in 64 games. He has stolen 9 bases in 14 attempts this season but is currently on the AAA disabled list with a left hip pointer. Before being injured, Carrera was hitting .311 (19-61) with 6 runs scored, 3 doubles and 6 RBI in 18 games during the month of June. Prior to the start of the 2010 season, Carrera was ranked as the 15th best prospect in the Mariners organization by Baseball America.

Last year, the left-handed hitting outfielder, won the Southern League Batting title as he hit .337 (111-329) with 68 runs scored, 12 doubles, 4 triples, 2HR and 38RBI in 91 games at AA West Tennessee while being named to both the Southern League All-Star and also the Topps Double-A All-Star team. Carrera also posted a .441 on-base percentage which aled the Southern League and was 3rd best in all of minor league baseball. The Venezuelan native was named the best defensive outfielder in the Florida State League in 2008 by Baseball America. Carrera was originally signed by the Mets as a non-drafted free agent in 2005 and will report to AAA Columbus in the coming days.

Diaz, 21, a 6-4, 170-pound switch hitting shortstop, has spent the entire 2010 season to date at High Desert of the California League batting .295 (75-254) with 39 runs scored, 8 doubles, 3 triples, 7HR and 41RBI in 70 games. He has also stolen 8 bases in 10 attempts and has an OPS of .779 (.345 on-base % & .433 slg. %).

Last year, Diaz batted .311 (101-325) with 55 runs scored, 22 doubles, 5 triples, 4HR and 29RBI in 84 games at High Desert as he was named to the California League All-Star Team. The Dominican Republic native was on the disabled list from June 25-August 4th with a fractured hamate in the left hand however came back to finish the season and played for Peoria in the Arizona Fall League. He was originally signed as a non-drafted free agent by Seattle in 2006 and will report to Kinston in the coming days.

Branyan was signed by the Indians on February 24th and hit .263 (45-171) with 24 runs scored, 9 doubles, 10HR and 24RBI in 52 games for Cleveland this year.

The Indians will make a roster move prior to tomorrow’s game with the Cincinnati Reds to fill Branyan’s spot on the Major League 25-man roster.

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