Almost six weeks ago when Russell Branyan was traded to the San Diego Padres, barely anyone noticed. Most people 'round these parts considered him a small, ineffective part of the team anyway, and were happy to take the pitching prospect and get some value for him.
Now, I'm not necessarily saying that it was a bad move. It was a rather inconsequential move for us. Despite the fact that Branyan had a .473 Slugging Percentage, useful for a power bat on the bench, the fans didn't like his massive amount of strikeouts, and Joe Maddon never really utilized him, so the move, if not great, was essentially dumping him for pitching prospect Evan Meek. Meek is not great, he is a fairly mediocre minor leaguer with journeyman-like stats. So while it was mostly an inconsequential move for us, it certainly turned out well for the Padres.
Even though San Diego lost in four games to the Cardinals, it certainly wasn't Branyan's fault. He made a major push in the last month of the season to help the Friars get to the playoffs by clinching the NL West. He hit .271/.416/.556 over the stretch run for San Diego, proving to be a key addition for an offensive-starved team.
And even though San Diego was unceremoniously dispatched in four games in the NLDS, were it not for Branyan, they wouldn't be there.
I would have loved to sign him back for next year as a bench bat, but after his play at the end of the regular season, it looks like there might be many more suitors than us for his services.