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After seventeen stints with major-league organizations, Russell Branyan may have reached the end of the line, bringing an end to an era in more than one way.

A couple weeks ago, Mariners catcher Jesus Montero was on second base with two outs when a teammate singled. The third base coach held Mariners catcher Jesus Montero at third, and the radio announcers seemed shocked that the third base coach wasn’t more aggressive with two outs. This is what it means to be a radio announcer during spring training. Of course the Mariners aren’t going to send Mariners catcher Jesus Montero into a home plate collision during the first week of spring training games. Nothing that happens on the scoreboard matters. But it’s hard to follow baseball without caring, and so we end up caring.

And now that Google has accepted that this is a super sexy story about Mariners catcher Jesus Montero, let’s talk about Russell Branyan. Branyan signed a minor-league contract with the Yankees this winter. He got an invitation to spring training. The invitation was printed on very nice card stock, the Yankees being all class, but then Branyan forgot it on his refrigerator door and now he has to beg the guy at the door to let him in. The guy at the door is not budging:

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January 28, 2011 12:00 pm

Future Shock: Red Sox Top 11 Prospects

57

Kevin Goldstein

The Adrian Gonzalez trade depleted the best of the Red Sox' already emptying farm system.

Previous Rankings: 2010 | 2009 | 2008

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April 16, 2010 12:00 pm

Future Shock Blog: Minor League Update: Games of April 15

10

Kevin Goldstein

The numbers look good, but is Dice-K really ready? Kevin Goldstein breaks down his start as well as other performances from across the minors.

He Says He's Ready, But Is He?

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July 29, 2009 11:55 am

On the Beat: Who's Still Shopping?

38

John Perrotto

Plus Omargate, inductions into the Hall of Fame, and assorted news and views from around the game.

At the All-Star break, we looked at the limited number of teams who could clearly be defined as sellers and what they might be offering in the days leading up to the non-waiver trading deadline. The deadline is now just two days away, and the numbers of buyers still outweigh the sellers. That's because 18 of the 30 major league clubs are within five games of a playoff berth, which would seemingly mean they are buyers.

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July 22, 2009 12:54 pm

Checking the Numbers: Some Royal Perspective

30

Eric Seidman

As hopeless as the situation may seem, it's important to remember the context of Dayton Moore's task.

About an hour into the film Broken Arrow-a trite Travolta action movie from the mid-'90s that happens to be a guilty pleasure of mine-one of the characters remarks that he is not sure whether it disturbs him more that a nuclear weapon had been stolen or that such a scenario had occurred frequently enough to merit the creation of a term to describe it. When news broke that Yuniesky Betancourt had been placed on the trading block, my knee-jerk reaction involved questioning who in the wide, wide world of sports would even desire his services. When it hit the pipeline that the Royals pulled the trigger and had brought him on board, I laughed somewhat cynically, reveling in the predictability of the move, thinking it indicative of Dayton Moore's tenure atop the organization. Much has been written in the wake of Moore's many questionable moves since taking over halfway through the 2006 campaign, critiquing his supposed lack of statistical prowess, and leading to some calling for his immediate dismissal. Relating the aforementioned film to the topic at hand, the fact that Betancourt personifies the type of player Moore has come to treasure in two and a half years on the job is more egregious in the eyes of many than the specific acquisition of a random, low-OBP shortstop from the Mariners.

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July 22, 2009 12:03 pm

On the Beat: Mid-Week Update

21

John Perrotto

The Giants make a run based on their preventing them, the Yankees ponder their next putsch, plus news and views from around the game.

AT&T Park is the house that Barry built. The Giants never would have been able to move into their beautiful waterfront ballpark in San Francisco's China Basin without having all-time home-run leader Barry Bonds hitting in the middle of their lineup to ensure plenty of sellout crowds that pay off a facility built without a heavy dose of public funding.

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There's a star in Philadelphia who may still be flying under the radar, and a bunch of teams get serious about making trades.

Joe Morgan says many things in his role as an ESPN color analyst that make viewers shake their heads. Hence, the website www.firejoemorgan.com. However, the Hall of Fame second baseman did raise a rather interesting point two weeks ago while broadcasting the Sunday night game between the Mets and Phillies in Philadelphia. The subject of Chase Utley came up, and Morgan told broadcast partner Jon Miller that the Phillies star would eventually go down as the greatest offensive second baseman in baseball history. Offense-minded second basemen should be something Morgan knows about. He was one of the best of his era, hitting .271/.392/.427 in a 22-year career from 1962-84.

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Picking up where he left off yesterday, Rany continues his dissection of the 2006 Detroit Tigers.

A month after nabbing their franchise shortstop, the Tigers signed a franchise catcher, Ivan Rodriguez. On the surface, this made all kinds of sense; it's not often you get the opportunity to sign a surefire Hall of Famer who just turned 32. On the other hand, catchers age quickly, and Rodriguez caught more games (1564) before his 32nd birthday than anyone other than Johnny Bench, who was finished as a catcher by the time he turned 33 and was finished as a ballplayer when he was 35. While Rodriguez's 4-year, $40 million deal was eminently reasonable, it still represented a gamble in that it was likely the Tigers would never be competitive enough during the life of the contract to make the addition of Rodriguez meaningful.

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The Braves may address their first base problem cheaply, and the Marlins are unexpectedly down a few players.

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December 13, 2005 12:00 am

Under The Knife: Winter Meetings FAQ

0

Will Carroll

Will Carroll, fresh from the Winter Meetings in Dallas, checks in to answer questions concerning his experience there.

Powered by Mountain Dew MDX, on to the column ...

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Nate Silver weighs in with an in-depth book review of Bill Shanks' "Scout's Honor" and its look at the Atlanta Braves' organizational philosophy.

I don't need to tell you what came next. Whether it was the Reverse Curse of Bart Simpson or something else, the Braves have been the most successful franchise in baseball ever since. For my money, in fact, the Braves' performance during the past 15 seasons has been the second-most remarkable sustained run of success in baseball history, behind only the two-pronged Yankee dynasty of 1920-1964. I'm a big fan of everything that the Braves have done, and of the way that they do business.

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June 23, 2004 12:00 am

Scouting the Debate

0

Jonah Keri

Michael Lewis' Moneyball and the fallout from the best-selling book have given rise to what some have deemed the great statheads vs. scouts debate. While some reactionary members of each camp have assumed their battle stations, by and large it's a false argument. "The goal is the same in either case--identify players who'll help you win at the big league level," said Joe Bohringer, amateur scout for the Seattle Mariners. "Both methods will help you make your evaluation." Every team relies on scouting of some kind. Scouting budgets and tie-breaking decisions may vary from team to team, but every club relies on scouts, in some form, to evaluate talent. Likewise, every team uses performance analysis to shape its decisions. Statistics are simply a record of a player's performance. Even the most tools-informed scout on the planet won't throw out results entirely.

"The goal is the same in either case--identify players who'll help you win at the big league level," said Joe Bohringer, amateur scout for the Seattle Mariners. "Both methods will help you make your evaluation."

Every team relies on scouting of some kind. Scouting budgets and tie-breaking decisions may vary from team to team, but every club relies on scouts, in some form, to evaluate talent. Likewise, every team uses performance analysis to shape its decisions. Statistics are simply a record of a player's performance. Even the most tools-informed scout on the planet won't throw out results entirely.

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