Q. Any caveats before we begin?
A. Yeah. If Zduriencik offered Branyan $14M for one year, none of the below applies. :- )
I'm going off the assumption that the yearly salary is somewhere in the $5-8M range. If that assumption's off, so is the below.
Q. What's the crunch on Branyan's statement "I just want what's fair"?
A. My personal read-between the lines on this situation is that:
1. Russ Branyan is, as pro athletes go, not a very greedy person;
2. Branyan is legitimately willing to throw the M's a great deal;
3. We TOLja that Jack Zduriencik is a rawhide-tough ol' sun-uf-u-gun.
Q. Say again?
A. Dr. D has been in a lot of weird and pathetic places in his sorry life, but some that were not-so-pathetic were the times he spent in skyscrapers in exec conference rooms.
I know a heartless, cutthroat, kill-your-cousin exec when I see one, babe. I've seen 'em. And Capt Jack is one of 'em.
Q. Is that a bad thing?
A. Not at all. At least I don't mean it that way.
I keep thinking back to Zduriencik's first offer on Langerhans, and the Nats coming in high, and Zduriencik telling them (in effect) well, he can rot in your minors for all I care. Have a nice day.
And meaning it.
OK, that's not a very convincing one in itself :- ) but it's a general impression you get from hearing him talk about Junior, from the Jack Wilson deal, the comments about what options the M's will consider, the cold snuffs of the press, etc.
In a strange way, considering my general worldview :- ) I find a weird comfort in knowing that the top of the M's ticket has hardened knuckles. He'll roll other GM's off the table with his take-no-prisoners attitude.
Q. Oh, c'mon. There's nothing particularly hard-case about not giving Branyan a second year. That's the market right now.
A. You are forgetting that Branyan earns a $4-8M salary in one-HALF of a year. Coming out of June last season, Branyan had earned $8M already.
With his OBP and his homers, Branyan needs very little playing time in order to justify $4 or $5 or $6M a year. You give Branyan 2/$10M guaranteed and he'll earn it in the first 100 or so games.
Zduriencik is chiseling.
He wants another huge profit off Branyan. If he wanted a breakeven WAR/$, I think that you and I know Zduriencik could guarantee Branyan $12 or $14M over two years. Branyan would earn it in the 125th game he played.
Q. Is Branyan really that good?
A. In 2009, he earned $12,600,000 in only 118 games. Over $100,000 per game, nice and easy math there.
That's $16-18M full season ... $5M in only 45 games, old chap.
Did Branyan do anything you don't expect him to do again? He hit .251/.347/.520, bombing skyballs into Safeco's short RF porch.
Branyan has never done anything other than draw walks and hit 420-footers. If he's on the field, he's going to be valuable.
Now, granted, if Branyan in 2011 gets to the point to where he can't draw BB's and hit some long balls even against RH'ers, I suppose the $6M could wind up an overpay. But Branyan's value could drop by 2/3 and he wouldn't hurt you in 2011. Not at that money.