I Don’t Get It
Marc’s got the details on the Branyan trade below, so read that. Nuts and bolts, M’s gave up two fringe prospects who probably max out as bench players long term, so don’t freak out about them giving up the farm, but I still don’t get it.
The Mariners are 14 games out of first place. The time to try to add some offense to this roster was six weeks ago. Branyan is better than Carp and Kotchman, but not enough to matter. Hell, at this point, Albert Pujols might not be enough to matter. The Mariners are not catching the Rangers – not with this roster, and certainly not with this roster minus Cliff Lee, which is where we should be in a week or two.
Branyan makes the team marginally better, and the M’s didn’t give up much in prospects, but they’re now going to pay an opportunity cost. As we talked about a few weeks ago, the big benefit to being out of the race in June is that you can take flyers on young kids who need a shot to show what they can do. The M’s just eliminated a chance to do that at first base, a position that is an organizational hole for 2011. Rather than giving a shot to a guy like Kila Ka’aihue (.313/.481/.577 in Triple-A, age 26, completely buried in KC), the M’s are now going to use a few hundred at-bats on a guy who turns 35 this winter and has a serious back problem.
Yeah, the team needed power, but they needed power when it mattered. It doesn’t matter anymore. Now, they need to be looking to 2011. And, as much as I like watching The Muscle hit home runs, if he’s the 2011 starting first baseman, this team probably isn’t a contender. This isn’t a move for the future – it’s a move to make the present team less painful to watch hit. This is a move they should have made on May 1st, not June 26th.