FOX SPORTS' Ken Rosenthal is reporting that the Indians are farthest along in negotiations with free agent first baseman Russell Branyan. Branyan, who started his career in Boston, is coming off a career year in Seattle where he hit .251 with a 31 home runs and a .347 on-base percentage.
Branyan was reportedly seeking a multi-year contract all offseason, but could not find any takers. Branyan has only eclipsed the 300 at-bat total twice in his career. He did it in 2009 with the Mariners and the time before that was in 2001 with the Indians.
If the Indians do sign Branyan, he will likely do some platooning with Matt LaPorta at first base, who could also see time in left field so everyone gets enough at-bats.
Adding Branyan will make the Indians even more left-handed. They already have five potential starters who hit lefty, another who is a switch hitter, and a switch hitting top prospect in Carlos Santana who should see time in the MLB this season.
Anything more than a one year deal is too much for Branyan, who really isn't anything more than a stopgap for some of their younger players.