Marlon Byrd did exactly what the Pittsburgh Pirates had hoped that he would do after they acquired him in August before the waiver trade deadline. The Pirates’ sent two highly-ranked prospects to the New York Mets for Byrd in hopes that he would be an immediate run producer, and that is what he did. In 30 games with the Bucs, Byrd drove in 17 runs and hit three home runs.
For as well as he performed in the regular season, he somehow did even better in the postseason for the Bucs. In the regular season with the Mets and Pirates, Byrd hit for a .291/.336/.511 line with 24 home runs. In the postseason, he hit for a .364/.391/.591 line with a .982 OPS.
Even though Byrd was great with the Pirates, it would be best for them to not have Byrd on the top of their priority list heading into the offseason. He is 36 and is coming off of the best season of his career. He has never had a big contract in his career, and is probably going to want one before he retires. This is his last chance to achieve that.
Let’s not forget that he served a suspension in 2012 for PEDs. As much as I like Byrd, it’s hard to trust a 36-year-old to keep producing on a multi-year deal for a small market team that can’t afford to mess up in free agency.
The Pirates’ top hitting prospect, Gregory Polanco, is an outfielder and he is in Triple-A. He will likely be ready to join the Pirates by mid-to-late June and will probably be an everyday player at that point. The Pirates don’t have a good internal option at first base, so they need to worry about finding one via trade or free agency. Wasting their time on an outfielder isn’t the most effective option.
For once, the Pirates have very few needs heading into an offseason, and they need to just focus on filling those needs.