Red Sox Face Bidding War for Russell Branyan

Red Sox Face Bidding War for Russell Branyan The Red Sox searched for free-agent bargains with the signings of Brad Penny and John Smoltz last year, but could they go bargain hunting for offense this year?

According to the Cleveland Plain Dealer, the Red Sox are interested in free agent Russell Branyan but face heavy competition for the veteran slugger from the Indians and Rays.

Branyan hit 31 home runs in 116 games with the Mariners last season, and he could provide the Red Sox protection at first base or third base, in the outfield and at designated hitter. He could prove especially valuable if the Red Sox trade Mike Lowell before the start of the season.

In addition, Branyan could provide a cheap alternative to Padres first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, a player the Red Sox have been linked to in trade rumors. The 12-year major league veteran does not have the star power of Gonzalez, but he would provide solid production while also allowing the Red Sox to keep their prospects.

The Red Sox and the Rays have reportedly offered more money than the Indians to the 34-year-old Branyan, but the Tribe is countering with a bigger bonus package.   

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