Cards and Phils Settle on Branyan PTBNL

The Cardinals and Phillies have decided on the compensation to complete the August 31 trade of third baseman Russell Branyan from Philadelphia to St. Louis.

The major additions former general manager Walt Jocketty provided to his struggling 2007 St. Louis Cardinals for the stretch run were three players recycled from other teams' scrap heaps. In each case, the return was the then-undefined "player to be named later".

The acquired players are left-handed pitcher Mike Maroth, who was unwanted by the Detroit Tigers, right-hander Joel Pineiro, who had been demoted to the minor leagues by the Boston Red Sox, and third baseman Russell Branyan, who had many addresses in 2007.

The latter had been designated for assignment by the Phillies late in August after they acquired him earlier that month from Cleveland. The Indians had signed him as a free agent just two days before following his release by the San Diego Padres at the end of July. He played just one game for Cleveland's Triple-A Buffalo club before they shipped him off to Philadelphia.

As a one-month Cardinal, the ten-year veteran hit just .188 with one home run and two RBIs in 32 September at-bats. He drew seven walks but fanned 15 times. Branyan's St. Louis line was an odd-looking .188/.333/.281 (BA/OBP/SLG).

The compensation provided to the Tigers for Maroth was 2004 first-round pick, pitcher Chris Lambert, who had struggled as a starter and continued to do so after having been converted to relief. The Red Sox' take for Pineiro has not been formally announced, but we believe it to be outfielder Sean Danielson.

That left the final transaction of the three. Some members of The Cardinal Nation have been nervous about the cost to be paid for Branyan in terms of the prospect lost. For those, the news is good.

I have learned that the Cardinals and Phillies and settled on an unannounced amount of cash to complete the trade. So, no players will be heading from St. Louis to Philadelphia.

Branyan will again officially become a free-agent later this month. His desire and that of the club in terms of him returning to St. Louis next season are unknown. My guess is that the 31-year-old will move on, joining his eighth Major League organization come 2008.



Brian Walton can be reached via email at brwalton@earthlink.net.

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