A lot has happened since Marlon Byrd has been roaming the outfield for the Philadelphia Phillies, so a whole new generation of fans who knew Byrd as no one but a player for a hated rival will have the next few days to catch up.
The Phillies signed Byrd as a free agent on Tuesday morning, and while he’s no Giancarlo Stanton he will have to do until help arrives from the minor leagues in a couple of years. Right now, all they need to know is that Byrd fits the profile of a right-handed hitting outfielder with a better-than-average glove and some pop in his bat.
Phillies fans who remember the Byrd the team let fly in 2005 have long regretted the move, but the team felt Byrd would never live up to his potential and traded him to the Washington Nationals for Endy Chavez. That, like a lot of other transactions, did not end well for the Phils. Facebook and Twitter did not exist when Byrd last played for the Phils, so this reaction from one fan was humorous:
Good news for Phillies fans is we can pull out those old Marlon Byrd jerseys we’ve had stashed in our closest in anticipation for this day.
— Ryan Dinger (@RyanfromJersey) November 12, 2013
He was best-known for three seasons with the Texas Rangers, his best coming in 2009 when he hit 20 home runs, drove in 89 runs and finished with a .283 batting average. He really flourished this season, splitting time between the New York Mets and the Pittsburgh Pirates, where he finished with 24 home runs, 86 RBI and a .291 batting average.
There is some risk in this two-year deal because Byrd is 36 but the right-handed bat and the ability to hit home runs should more than compensate. Now all he has to do is approach this year’s numbers next season, but that’s a risk worth taking considering the Phils’ dire outfield and lineup production holes.
Mike Gibson, an Associated Press Sports Editors’ Association and Keystone Press Association award-winner for Best Sports Story and Best Sports Feature, is a Phillies writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @papreps , “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.