Marlon Byrd is now a member of the Philadelphia Phillies as the two sides are finalizing a two-year deal. Financial terms of the deal have yet to be disclosed but regardless of what those terms are this is a puzzling move for the Phillies.
Byrd is coming off of his best season as a professional baseball player that saw him hit .291/.336/.511 with 24 home runs, 88 RBI, 35 doubles, five triples and 75 runs scored between the New York Mets and Pittsburgh Pirates. Not bad for a player who turned 36 in August and who only played a total of 47 games in 2012 due to a suspension for PED use.
Byrd did begin his career with the Phillies in 2002. The Phillies needed a right-handed bat but they could have done much better than Byrd. It isn’t that Byrd is a bad player but he will turn 37 in August and the Phillies are already an aging team and their first splash in the free agent market is for a player coming off of a career year at age 36? That just doesn’t make sense.
Byrd will certainly be more cost efficient than some of the younger free agents but will Byrd be able to repeat his performance from last season? History says it is unlikely. Of course, Byrd is much cheaper than Nelson Cruz but he also doesn’t have the same power profile as Cruz.
Of course, Byrd’s contributions, even if they do mirror last season’s won’t matter if Ryan Howard, Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley don’t hit. Adding Byrd to the lineup doesn’t really make the lineup any deeper and doesn’t improve the team by a large margin. If Byrd can hit like he did last year he will be an upgrade over John Mayberry but that is a big question mark heading into the season. If he doesn’t hit he will just be another aging player on a roster that seemed to get old all at once.