One and done for Russell?

It appears Russell Branyan had a one-and-done career with the Mariners.

The Mariners are on the verge of acquiring first baseman Casey Kotchman from the Red Sox, possibly for a mid-level Minor League prospect, and would move into the position Branyan played last season.

It would give the Mariners a totally different look.

Whereas Branyan was a long-ball threat, leading the team with 31 home runs in 431 at-bats, he also struck out 149 times.

Kotchman puts the ball in play more often, striking out 166 times in 1,674 career at-bats. He also has walked 157 times, which is  an attractive ratio to club officials.

In addition, defense is a strong part of Kotchman’s game. He has committed just eight errors in 3,853 total chances at the big-league level.

The acquisition would be like a punch in the stomach for Branyan, who had the best overall year of his career with the Mariners and expressed a strong desire to return to Seattle in 2010 and beyond. But he rejected the Mariners’ one-year offer and remains available on the free-agent market.

Branyan was hampered by a herniated disk the second half of the season.

It is believed that the Kotchman deal will be completed later this week, possibly on Friday. The 26-year-old, the Angels’ first-round selection in the 2001 First-Year Player Draft, made $3 million last season and is eligible for salary arbitration.

— Jim Street

1 Comment

Kotchman should thrive in Seattle, if this trade goes through. Great defender and line-drive hitter, perfect for Safeco field and the AL West. Would have liked to see him stay in Boston, but he deserves a shot at being a starter, something that will not happen now at Fenway. Intrigued by a possible Bill Hall pick up as a utility guy. Could provide some much-needed depth.

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