The Seattle Mariners have been struggling to score the runs their pitching staff has needed all season, even when that staff has all but shut down the opposition.
What they have needed since forever is a big bat - a power hitter, a run producer - and they haven't got one, let alone two or three. Last night, for instance, Adam Kennedy was the Mariners cleanup hitter in the Mariners 4-1 victory over San Diego.
Disappointed in designated hitter Jack Cust, who's batted .224 in 39 games, with no home runs and 14 RBI. One option after last season for general manager Jack Zduriencik was then-Mariner Russell Branyan, a man capable of long home runs.
Jack passed, and Branyan got on with the Arizona Diamondbacks, who liked Branyan's potential in spring training but today released the left-handed hitter. Why? Branyan was hitting just .210 one home run and two RBI in 31 games.
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Cust was the far better call. He leads the team in strikeouts (48), yes, but also in walks (28) - which means he has a .362 on-base percentage. Only Justin Smoak (.381) has a better OBP for Seattle.
With Cust at DH and Smoak at first, Branyan isn't likely to attract the Mariners interest unless it's as insurance in the minor leagues. There are far likelier scenarios that reaching out to Branyan for a team that's going young and looking hard at everyone in its farm system.
Still, let's ask the obvious question: You're Jack Z. - do you ask Branyan back?