Russell Branyan passes on Mariners' offer
On the day Ichiro won his ninth-straight Gold Glove, first baseman Russell Branyan turned down a one-year deal to stay with Seattle.
Seattle Times staff reporter
Amid indications that finalization of Ken Griffey Jr.'s return is nearing, Russell Branyan has turned down the Mariners' one-year contract offer but remains hopeful of working out a deal to remain in Seattle.
Meanwhile, Ichiro was voted an American League Gold Glove for the ninth consecutive year, while center fielder Franklin Gutierrez was passed over.
Branyan said his offer from the Mariners included an option for a second year. He is seeking a guaranteed two-year contract.
Branyan has filed for free agency, but the M's retain exclusive negotiating rights with the 33-year-old first baseman until Nov. 20.
"I'm highly optimistic," Branyan said in a telephone interview. "I don't feel like I'm going anywhere right now."
Branyan is coming off a 31-homer breakthrough season that was marred at the end by a back injury. He didn't play after Aug. 28 because of a herniated disk, but said Tuesday his back is considerably improved.
"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, 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."
The Mariners are also still negotiating with potential free-agent shortstop Jack Wilson on a multiyear deal in lieu of picking up his 2010 option at $8.4 million.
"We are having conversations with the Mariners on a daily basis. But no deal has been struck yet at this time," said Wilson's agent, Page Odle.
As for Griffey, it appears a matter of when, rather than if, he will sign a one-year contract to bring him back to the Mariners. He is the only one of their potential free agents — and one of the few in the majors — who hasn't yet filed for free agency, a strong indication a deal is imminent.
Seattle manager Don Wakamatsu lauded the latest defensive award by Ichiro, who has been voted a Gold Glove by managers and coaches every season since he joined the Mariners in 2001.
"Even at his age , to get his ninth in a row shows what kind of player he still is, and more importantly, what kind of respect he still has in the game," Wakamatsu said by phone.
"I'm awfully proud to manage him."
Gutierrez, by virtually every defensive metric, was one of the leading defensive outfielders in the majors, if not the best. But the two other outfield spots went to former Mariner Adam Jones of Baltimore and nine-time winner Torii Hunter, who played just 115 games in center for the Los Angeles Angels because of injuries.
"You had to watch how many plays he made throughout the season," Wakamatsu said of Gutierrez. "It's really a no-brainer for me. ... There's no doubt in my mind Guti will win a Gold Glove, and once he gets on board, he should win several."
Larry Stone: 206-464-3146 or firstname.lastname@example.org
|AL Gold Glove winners|
|P||Mark Buehrle, White Sox||1|
|C||Joe Mauer, Twins||2|
|1B||Mark Teixeira, Yankees||3|
|2B||Placido Polanco, Tigers||2|
|3B||Evan Longoria, Rays||1|
|SS||Derek Jeter, Yankees||4|
|OF||Adam Jones, Orioles||1|
|OF||Torii Hunter, Angels||9|
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