Lost in all the excitement about having made an offer to Casey Blake, and the pipe dream of stealing JJ Hardy from the Brewers, is the fact that there’s another option at third base staring us in the face.
Russell Branyan played third (kind of) for the Brewers last season until an oblique injury ended his season, but while he was on the field he was able to hit. And by “hit,” I mean .250/.342/.583 … for a 138 OPS+. That’s pretty good hitting. He had 12 HR in just 132 AB (in 50 games).
Sure, he’s left handed. Sure, he’s 32. Sure, he can’t play defense. Sure, he was hurt last year and we don’t actually know what we’d get from him. But realistically, these are all things that should make him one other important thing: cheap. Other teams may be shying away from him for these reasons — and the fact that we very well may be able to snag him on a one or two year deal should mean we should be sniffing around for that deal.
Bear in mind that this isn’t even a rumor. I didn’t hear this anywhere. But it would sure be nice if this is the kind of thing the Twins were considering. I have the feeling Branyan would be a better investment than Mike Lamb, at the very least.
Oh, and another thing. Baseball Prospectus went through the AL Central to see what each team should do in the offseason, and they have a few ideas about the Twins.
- We’re not scoring 829 runs again — we only earned 764 “equivalent runs,” which I believe are calculated by weighting home runs highly because runs count for more if the ball travels over the fence. That’s why the White Sox scored more runs than the Twins, right? Right?
- Brendan Harris improved greatly and was better than we thought — but we should replace him anyway.
- Bill Smith has demonstrated that he doesn’t make big deals in the offseason, so he’ll spend more time playing craps than talking to other GMs this offseason. I don’t know what about his track record indicates that he doesn’t make deals, but thus far in his tenure he’s made two blockbuster deals per offseason. And earned the nickname “Wild Bill” from the only source that matters. (Us.)
- We’re an 80-85 win team, not an 85-90 win team, and that we shouldn’t make any moves to improve.
- It would be wise to package Jason Kubel and one of our established starts for a corner outfielder. (Really? The team that wants to unload a corner outfielder should instead acquire one by getting rid of the one guy on the team who needs more playing time? I … disagree.)