Marlon Byrd again may be a bat for hire as trade deadline looms
After being told yesterday his name has been linked to the Yankees as Thursday's nonwaiver trade deadline approaches, Phillies rightfielder Marlon Byrd was asked if he'd welcome a trade back to New York.
"Well, which New York team? There are two teams here," quipped Byrd, who revived his career last season with the Mets before he was dealt to the Pirates in August.
Byrd is right, of course. The Yankees, however, are the one in a realistic hunt for the playoffs with a glaring need for a rightfielder who can provide power. The Yankees' outfield, comprised of Brett Gardner, Jacoby Ellsbury and Ichiro Suzuki, entered Monday having totaled 19 home runs.
Byrd, meanwhile, has 20 home runs and 60 RBIs with a slash line of .273/.321/.482.
In a season dominated by pitching, Byrd is widely viewed as the best righthanded-hitting outfielder believed to be on the trading block. His offensive production was showcased Monday night at Citi Field, where he went 4-for-5, though the Mets beat the Phillies, the National League East's last-place team, 7-1.
The connection to the Yankees is logical, but it's not something Byrd said he has been thinking about.
"That's something I can't control. I don't have a no-trade [clause] there," said Byrd, who signed a two-year, $16-million deal with the Phillies in November. "If makes a trade with [the Yankees] and gets something back in return and is like, 'hey, we got to trade Marlon,' then there's nothing I can do. I pack my bags and move on."
Byrd could be less appealing to some teams because of his age (he'll turn 37 in August) and his contract. He's guaranteed $8 million in 2015 and his deal also contains an $8-million option for 2016 based on plate appearances. Byrd has a four-team no-trade clause for the Mariners, Royals, Blue Jays and Rays, though the Mariners reportedly expressed interest.
Byrd said he hoped to end his career with the Phillies, but has "been around long enough and I've been traded. It's part of the business."
The Mets acquired reliever Vic Black, who has a 1.88 ERA in 24 innings, and infielder Dilson Herera in exchange for Byrd and catcher John Buck. Byrd hit .285 with 21 homers in 117 games for the Mets.
If he were to be traded again, Byrd hopes the Phillies would get back a similar package.
"This is my first home and I came back," said Byrd, drafted by the Phillies in 1999, "so it's one of those things where if you leave or get traded, hopefully they're better off than they were before I got here."