If you had told me when this baseball season began that Marlon Byrd would be the name most mentioned as a player the Philadelphia Phillies would be able get great value for at the trade deadline, I would have laughed at you. Not because he’s a bad ball player, but because, at 36 years old, Byrd isn’t exactly in the prime of his career.
Although you wouldn’t be able to tell from the numbers he’s been putting up this season. Byrd’s average is sitting at a respectable .263, he leads the the Phillies in home runs at 18 and is second in RBIs with 52. By all accounts, Byrd is having a great season and there are more than enough teams that would be very interested in acquiring his talents as they make a run at the postseason.
Which makes the fact that Byrd wants to remain with the Phillies all the more interesting.
On Saturday, when asked if he wanted to be traded to a contending team, Byrd said “I don’t want to get traded. I signed a two-year deal here for a reason. The thought process was to retire as a Phillie. At the same time, this is a business and I know how it works. If trading me makes the organization better, I have to go with it.”
Sounds like a guy who is happy where he is.
It was also revealed that Byrd, like Cole Hamels and Jonathan Papelbon, has a list of teams he can block a trade with. Unlike those two though, the list is only four teams long: the Seattle Mariners, the Kansas City Royals, the Toronto Blue Jays and the Tampa Bay Rays. At least one of those teams, the Mariners, are said to be very interested in getting their hands on a hitter with a hot bat like Byrd’s currently has. And while he said he doesn’t look at his no-trade clause as a deal breaker, it’s fairly obvious Byrd wants to stay in Philadelphia.
As everyone has seen over the last couple days with the LeBron James situation, loyalty in sports doesn’t mean as much as it used to. Players come and go without a second thought to the franchises or fan bases they leave behind. In Byrd, the Phillies have a player who wants to stay with the team, despite the fact they are going nowhere this postseason and are likely looking at a period of rebuilding.
It may not be a popular notion nowadays, but sometimes loyalty should be rewarded.