Phillies Flip for Byrd

Pull Marlon Byrd off the board — the Philadelphia Phillies have signed him to a 2-year, $16M contract.

So much for Byrd’s strong relationships with Sandy Alderson and Terry Collins, his fondness for the Mets organization, and his desire to return to Flushing.

I hate to sound like Sandy Alderson, but signing Marlon Byrd to two years and $16M seems outlandish and irresponsible. But guess what? The bar has been set: a 36-year-old fourth outfielder coming off a career year and one and half years removed from a drug suspension is worth that much in today’s market. That’s kind of scary, even if you’re not a Mets fan. If Marlon Byrd is going to get 2/$16M, what does a starting outfielder with a more consistently proven and less questionable track record fetch? Suddenly, the idea that Jacoby Ellsbury and Shin-Soo Choo will get $100M deals is not so crazy. What, then, quasi-DH Carlos Beltran worth? 2/$30M? 3/$50M? How about another fourth OF type, like

Even if the Mets had the money to throw at Byrd, I’m not sure it would have made sense to give him that much money as well as two guaranteed years. I’m EXTREMELY suspicious of his having a career year as a 36-year-old, and will be surprised if he can duplicate it in 2014. Maybe he can. Maybe he really DID take Tamoxifen for a breast enlargement condition that resulted from unknown, natural causes and not for PEDs. Or, maybe his girlie-breast issue WAS due to an undetectable steroid cycle, and the residual effects (i.e., strength) were still mostly in place in 2013 — it’s not as though stopping anabolic steroid use is akin to letting the air out of a balloon. In fact, there are any number of ways to maintain strength gained via steroids, including the occasional use of HGH / Somatropin or IGF-1, which remain untestable. Steroids create new muscle fibers that otherwise would not be produced naturally, and those fibers don’t disappear after cycling off. They remain, and can be maintained with proper diet and training.

On the other hand, perhaps whatever Byrd was taking will continue to be undetectable. And/or, maybe it doesn’t matter whether or not he’s juicing, because he’ll flourish in the sandbox known as Citizens Bank Park — look what that home field did to rejuvenate Raul Ibanez‘s career.

But for the Mets, and playing half his games in Citi Field? Regardless of whether or not he is/was juicing, it didn’t seem to me to be a combination conducive to another season (much less two) like he had in 2013. Had the Mets signed him to a 2-year deal — even for half of what the Phillies gave him — I would have responded critically, and compared him to Scott Hairston.

What’s your thought? Did you think / hope the Mets would re-sign Byrd? More importantly, how does this signing affect the rest of the outfield free-agent market? Do the Mets have a chance to sign anyone, with their shallow pockets? If so, who?

Answer in the comments.

13-14 Offseason

About the Author

Joe Janish began MetsToday in 2005 to provide the unique perspective of a high-level player and coach -- he earned NCAA D-1 All-American honors as a catcher and coached several players who went on to play pro ball. As a result his posts often include mechanical evaluations, scout-like analysis, and opinions that go beyond the numbers. Follow Joe's baseball tips on Twitter at @onbaseball and at the On Baseball Google Plus page.

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