Branyan Is Officially a Clevleland Indian, What This Means For Matt LaPorta and Michael Brantley

By passing his physical, Russell Branyan officially became a member of the Cleveland Indians on Wednesday afternoon. Branyan is expected to play first base, which means prospects Matt LaPorta and Michael Brantley will have to compete for a roster spot in the outfield. The stipulation; the loser will end up starting the season at AAA Columbus.

Branyan proved to have a reliable bat for the first half of last season and will add power to the Indians lineup. With questions regarding whether or not Travis Hafner will be 100% by Opening Day, adding in a powerful left-handed bat will add strength to the Indians lineup. Branyan does have a penchant of striking out though and some are wondering why the Indians are even bothering with him again after he has bounced around from roster to roster.

Bringing Branyan will also make roster spots competitive as LaPorta and Brantley will be finding out in Spring Training. LaPorta was slated to be the Tribe’s first baseman this season but will now have to compete with Brantley for a spot in the outfield. This could help motivate LaPorta and Brantley to play their best in spring training and provide manager Manny Acta with quality talent to work with come Opening Day. LaPorta has been itching to be full time on a Major League roster since we got him in the CC Sabathia trade years ago but Brantley will not just hand it to him.

LaPorta and Brantley still need to develop but this competition for the roster spot will help them succeed no matter what. Weaknesses will get exposed and whoever gets sent down to Columbus will be doing whatever possible to catch a ticket back to Cleveland.

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~ by jeffrsabo on February 25, 2010.

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