The New York Mets have three players competing for playing time in right field this season, including the newly acquired Marlon Byrd. Will the Mets platoon in right field this year or will one player become the full time starter?
Byrd is someone Mets manager Terry Collins is very high up on and believes the 35-year-old could take over the right field duties by himself without the need for a platoon with Mike Baxter or Andrew Brown. However, this all depends on if Byrd can get back to a respectable level at the plate.
It was not long ago that Byrd was dominating in the National League Central division with the Chicago Cubs in which he put up very respectable numbers from 2007-10. The 10-year veteran’s statistics began to fall off a bit in 2011 and plummeted in 2012, forcing the Cubs to trade the right-handed batter to the Boston Red Sox after he posted a .070 batting average in 43 plate appearances.
Byrd began to find his groove on offense in 100 at-bats with the Red Sox in which he hit .270 with one home run and seven RBI. However, the Mets are clearly not relying on his numbers from a season or two ago but rather what they have witnessed him accomplish in the big leagues overall.
“If you’re talking about a guy who’s in this camp who has a chance to make a huge difference, besides Lucas Duda, it might be Marlon Byrd,” Collins said. “This guy was one of the best players in the National League not very long ago. If he’s the same player he was in Chicago a couple of years ago, we might have found ourselves the right fielder.”
New York is confident Byrd can still be a threat at the plate and a good enough defensive outfielder to play every day even though his character has been called into question due to bickering with the fan base as well as a 50-game suspension last season for a failed drug test. But none of that matters to Collins as long as the Florida native shows up to camp ready to compete and win.
“If Marlon Byrd is the same offensive player he’s capable of being, we don’t need to platoon,” Collins said. “We’ve got that guy.”