Changing teams is never easy, even for as experienced a mover as Russell Branyan -- he's been traded during the season four times and switched teams in-season five other times in his 12-year career. Branyan was given ample opportunity to earn regular playing time with the Angels, starting six of eight games after signing with them on May 26.
But the 35-year-old stumbled, going three for 23 (.130) with nine strikeouts, hindering his chances of earning a platoon role at first base or significant time at designated hitter.
"The superstar guys have a lot of stuff taken care of by people [after a move] -- they can just focus on the game," Branyan said. "The majority of us are trying to get everything picked up, moved, settled in to a new place. It makes it tough that first week to focus on the game."
Teams do what they can to ease the transition, but much of the burden of moving falls on the player and his family.
For players acquired in trades during the season, baseball's collective bargaining agreement requires teams to provide first-class air travel to report to the new club, seven days of meal money and first-class hotel accommodations for seven days after the trade. Players also receive a moving allowance, which varies depending on how far a player travels to get to his new team.
"It's not as much as you think," Haren said. "You have to figure it all out -- when your family is going to come, how you're going to get a car here, where you're going to stay.
"We make a lot of money and can afford to fly our families everywhere. But there's a perception that we have everything done for us. That's not the case."
In addition to booking hotel rooms, Tom Taylor, the Angels' traveling secretary, provides newly acquired players with contacts for corporate housing, apartment communities, moving companies, car shippers and real estate agents.
He does not get involved with anything personal, such as the forwarding of mail or paying of bills.
"We try to make the move as easy as possible," Taylor said
Players appreciate the assistance.
"Some teams do a little more, some do the minimum," Branyan said. "But it's always nice to have that club that takes the time and really cares about you as a person and not just as a ballplayer."
The most stressful part of the move to Anaheim, Branyan said, was finding a short-term lease on an affordable home big enough to accommodate his family, which includes kids ages 7, 4 and 20 months; his wife, who is pregnant; and a dog.
"Some cities are really good about letting you get into a short-term lease or a furnished place; some cities are tougher," said Branyan, who has never made more than $1.5 million a season. "Here, it was really tough finding a short-term lease away from the beach, where all the rentals are like $12,000 a month."
Because Branyan was released by Arizona and then signed with the Angels, none of his moving expenses were paid for.
"These guys who stay with one organization for their whole career, they're spoiled," he said. "It's a lot of work when you get traded. It's tough on our wives. It's tough on our families."
Times staff writer Baxter Holmes contributed to this report.
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The many travels of Russell Branyan
Since being drafted by Cleveland in 1994, Angels reserve Russell Branyan has seen a number of address changes. A look at his many stops since his first trade to Cincinnati in 2002.
June 2, 1994
Drafted by CLE
6/7/02: Traded to CIN
Signed as free agent with ATL
Released by MIL
Signed by TB
Released by ARI
Signed by Angels
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The collective bargaining agreement between Major League Baseball and the union entitles players to the
following if they are traded to another big league club during a season:
1. First-class jet airfare and meals en route for the player and his wife to enable the player to report
to his new club.
2. Supplemental allowance: seven days meal and tip allowance. (Player treated as if he's on the road.)
3. First-class accommodations for the first seven days after the trade.
4. Moving allowance: varies depending on how far the player has to travel to get to his new team.
5. Reimbursement for additional moving costs for the player and his immediate family resulting from trade
6. Rental payment reimbursement for the apartment the player is leaving if he makes the apartment
available for the former club's use.
7. Any assignment bonus provided for in his contract.
1. Player has 72 hours to report to his new club. (If a player doesn't report immediately, he is not
credited for service time until the day he reports.)
2. Current salary would continue through the 72-hour period.
Source: Major League Baseball Players' Assn.