I just got off the phone with Russell Branyan — his new baby girl was quiet during the converesation — and he remains quite hopeful of working out a deal with the Mariners despite turning down the M’s one-year offer, which he said included an option for a second year.
“I’m highly optimistic,” Branyan said. “I don’t feel like I’m going anywhere right now. We filed free agency just like 180 or so other players. It’s nothing out of the ordinary. I don’t think that should be a signal we’re going somewhere. I think it’s just part of the process.”
Branyan, however, doesn’t want to settle for a one-year contract, and the question now is two-fold: Will the Mariners relent and offer the two-year deal he is seeking, and two, if he hits the open market, will there be another team willing to give him two years coming off a 31-homer breakthrough season that was marred at the end by a back injury?
“I really want to get something done; I really want to stay in Seattle and be there the next couple of years,” he said. “That would be awesome. It would be nice to finish out my career there. But it’s obviously in their hands. It really is. I’m not being too demanding. I just want a fair shake.
“I’ve said all along I would like more than a one-year deal. I would like to try to find some sort of security. I played my whole career under a one-year contract. I feel like I’m in position now I can be a little larger part of a ball team and factor into bringing a championship to Seattle.”
Branyan said his agent, Danny Lozano of the Beverly Hills Group, isn’t discouraged.
“He’s very optimistic we’re going to get something done with Seattle,” Branyan said. “He feels it’s just part of negotiations. With the M’s, I have exclusive rights until the 20th, and then other teams can get involved. My idea of a good scenario would be to sign back with Seattle before the deadline comes, and go into the holidays and have a nice winter.”