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Traded 1B Ben Broussard to the Seattle Mariners for OF Shin-Soo Choo and a PTBNL

In 2002, the Indians traded Russ Branyan to Cincinnati for Ben Broussard, a minor-league first baseman who was blocked in his organization. The organization was in the beginning of a complete meltdown, and Broussard was seen at the time as insurance in case Jim Thome left town that winter. But with Thome and Ellis Burks at first base and DH, the Indians tried to make Broussard an outfielder. The trial didn't work, and Broussard went back to the minors and played first base from then on.

Broussard's minor-league stats were certainly promising, but he was old for his levels. Part of that was due to being drafted as a college senior, and part of it was due to injuries: he suffered a broken wrist early in 2000, his first full season as a professional. In 2001, finally healthy, he broke out in AA, hitting .320/.423/.592 in 353 at-bats.

After Jim Thome left, Broussard settled in at first base, sharing time with Travis Hafner at first in 2003, and finally settled into a platoon that's lasted through today.

Broussard's calling card is hitting right-handed pitching. Outside of the batter's box, he doesn't bring much to the table: he's a station-to-station runner, will make baserunning gaffes, and his defense has eroded. But paired with a lefty-masher, he's a useful player. And until this season, was relatively inexpensive. That's going to change this offeseason, when his .300 average and power will net him a large raise this winter.

The Mariners will be taking advantage of Broussard and Eduardo Perez's complementary traits to make a very effective platoon at DH, which is a drastic improvement over Carl Everett.

Shin-Soo Choo is the major prospect in the deal, although the PTBNL will apparently be more than roster fodder. He's going to need a platoon partner (and the Indians already have one in Jason Michaels), but his bat is major-league ready and brings speed to the table. He has below-average range, but a very good arm, making him a natural right fielder. The major concern is (stop me if you've heard this before) whether he'll hit for enough power.

But all in all, Choo is a player the Indians can use in the outfield right now, and if everything goes right, could allow Grady Sizemore to slide down in the order.

 

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