Russell Branyan was just dealt for two high upside prospects, and from a team out of the playoff chase and nearly as bad as Cleveland? Yeah, right…

The Cleveland Indians have somehow managed to deal Russell Branyan to the Seattle Mariners for two prospects that seem to have some upside.

The Indians acquired outfielder Ezequiel Carrera and SS Juan Diaz today from the Mariners, in exchange for Branyan and either cash, or a player to be named later.

Carrera has hit .268 this season, with 24 runs, six doubles, two triples and 18 RBI. He’s also stolen nine bases in 14 attempts. He doesn’t strike out much (32 times in 64 games, and has a decent OBP.

Carrera was signed in April 2005 by the Mets as an undrafted free agent. After four solid seasons in the low minors for the Mets, he was dealt to Seattle in the J.J. Putz deal. In 91 games with the AA West Tennessee Diamond Jaxx, he led the league with a .337 average, while stealing 27 bases.

He played most of his games at centerfield, but also saw time in left as well. He’s not a bad get, when you consider Cleveland only gave up Branyan to get him.

I’m not sure where he fits in the grand scheme of things, but I’d take a case of beer for Branyan. Carrera will likely join Columbus as soon as possible.

The real get may turn out to be Juan Diaz, a 6’3″ shortstop playing for the High Desert Mavericks, the Mariners Advanced A team in the California League.

Over the past two seasons, he’s broken out a bit with raw skills. He’s currently batting .295, with seven homers and 41 RBI in only seven games.

Not only that, but he’s got eight stolen bases in 10 attempts. He doesn’t walk much, but his OBP is .345, so he does find a way to get on base. Last season, splitting his time in rookie ball and High Desert, he hit .317, with five homers and 30 RBI.

Obviously, this kid has some untapped potential. At 6’3″ and only 170 pounds, he’s likely going to fill out, which absolutely will improve his power.

He does have a ways to go defensively, but his offensive potential is clear. He’ll start the season off with High A Kinston.

So, is it me, or does this deal smell an awful lot like the Shin-Soo Choo or Asdrubal Cabrera deal? What are the Mariners freaking thinking?

They don’t have a chance in hell of doing anything this year, and are mulling a potential deal for Cliff Lee, who they just dealt for this year. They are 14 games back and 12 games under .500.

What was Seattle thinking? Give up two prospects for Branyan? Really? That’s almost as bad (or worst) as dealing Cabrera for Eduardo Perez or Choo for Ben Broussard. Could you imagine that deal at once?

Eddie Perez, Ben Broussard, and Russell Branyan for Choo, Asdrubal Cabrera, Juan Diaz and Ezequiel Carrera. If both those kids are busts, you make that trade 10 times over. I’m not a Shapiro fan by any stretch, but well done.

Yes, the Cleveland Indians may very well be the worst team in baseball when it’s all said and done, but Seattle may have lost their minds.

At least we can go to bed at night knowing that the Indians can steal a prospect or two every couple of years from the Mariners. Yeah, I know, Franklin Gutierrez. Don’t remind me…

Maybe this was Seattle’s way of saying thanks…

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