Hey, I thought the Mariners were supposed be trading veterans away. But instead they do this:
- The Cleveland Indians have traded Russell Branyan back to the Seattle Mariners, MLB.com reported Saturday night.
Branyan was told after the Indians' loss to the Reds he would be returning to his former club. The Indians will receive two minor leaguers, Triple-A center fielder Ezequiel Carrera and high Class A shortstop Juan Diaz, the website reported.
OK, I'll bite ... Why on earth would the M's trade two young players for one old one? Geoff Baker got Jack Zduriencik on the phone:
- What makes this deal so curious is that the Mariners just gave up a promising young outfielder, who won the AA batting title last season, in exchange for an aging bat with a history of back woes at a time they are 14 games out of first place. In a phone conversation, Zduriencik explained his reasoning behind the move.
"If you look at our team, as we move forward, just about every player who is here now will be here again next year," he said. "We're committed to the development of our players and that goal, that objective, has never changed for us. But part of that development process is also winning games. We want our players to be able to experience winning games this year. And we're trying to do what we can to give them what they need to get there."
In addition to that promising young outfielder (Carrera), the infielder (Diaz) isn't exactly chopped liver, either; he wasn't listed among the Mariners' notable prospects this spring, but he's only 21, has been solid for two straight seasons in the California League, and seems to have at least a moderately decent shot at someday making the majors.
But just moderately. And Carrera, who played well enough last year in Double-A to establish himself as a decent prospect, is hitting .268/.339/.315 this year in Triple-A. He's 23 with room to grow, but didn't figure to beat Ichiro Suzuki or Franklin Gutierrez or even Michael Saunders out of a job anytime soon.
The Mariners probably didn't give up much. It's still a deeply weird move for a team that's 14 games out of first place. Doesn't mean it's wrong. Just means that Zduriencik thinks he knows something the rest of us don't.