Marlon Byrd signed a minor league contract with the New York Mets as an opportunity to compete for the team’s Opening Day roster. While Byrd has been a solid starter in the MLB in the past, many felt that his best days were behind him.
However, Byrd has gone from possible platoon player in Spring Training to likely starting for the Metropolitans in right field this season.
Byrd was given a 50-game suspension for violating the league’s drug policy last season when he tested positive for Tamoxifen.
However, the Mets still gave the 11-year veteran a chance and he has made the most of it. Byrd has hit for a .324 batting average this spring with four doubles and four RBI. He has been the best outfield hitter in all of camp, which should land him a starting spot.
While Jordany Valdespin has been slightly better with the bat this spring, he lacks outfield experience as he mainly plays the infield. Byrd might be the only legitimate major league hitter who actually plays outfield on the entire Mets’ roster, and the team needs offensive production badly.
Manager Terry Collins has not officially given the starting spot to Byrd, but he does not have many options. Collins said that he expected Byrd to start in right field come Opening Day before Spring Training started, and the his play has done nothing to change that.
Although Lucas Duda seems to have a secure position in left field despite his mediocre spring, Byrd has earned his way into the starting lineup.