It’s been rather quiet on the trade front for the New York Mets as the MLB trade deadline approaches, but one of the team’s potential trade chips that’s actually starting to draw some interest is outfielder Marlon Byrd, who compares quite favorably to other outfielders on the trade market — namely, Chicago White Sox outfielder Alex Rios.
There are several key differences between Rios and Byrd. While Rios is garnering a lot more attention than Byrd as a potential trade target right now, trading for Byrd would be a lot more simple for teams than trading Rios.
Rios has been wildly inconsistent from year to year throughout his career. He also has a big contract that extends beyond this season, and the White Sox appear to have a high asking price for him both in terms of the prospects it would take to acquire him and the money the team trading for him would have to take on.
Byrd, on the other hand, is making a meager salary this season after coming to spring training on a minor league contract. He also has a long track record, is a respected professional around MLB, and is having one of the best seasons of his career. A team trading for Byrd would take on almost no money and would have to make no commitment for next season, two things that can’t be said for Rios.
The caveat is that the Mets are content to keep Byrd for the rest of the season, and because GM Sandy Alderson believes Byrd has high trade value, he won’t be traded unless the Mets can receive a quality prospect in return. Meanwhile, the White Sox are asking for both a quality prospect and to free themselves of Rios’ contract, despite being desperate to rid of him.
Not having to take on extra money or commit to a player beyond this season makes Byrd a better trade option than Rios.
Either player will cost a top prospect, but trading for Byrd will be far less costly; and in the end, Byrd may actually be a more productive player for the final two months of the season and a better clubhouse presence, which makes him a far better trade candidate than Rios.