Rumors came out in the last hour that the Cincinnati Reds and the Philadelphia Phillies were working on a trade that would bring outfielder Marlon Byrd to Cincinnati fell through.
The Reds are in desperate need of a left fielder. Marlon Byrd can play left field. The good news is that the team is actively seeking a left fielder. The bad news, in my opinion, is that they were seeking THIS option.
Marlon Byrd hit .264/.312/.445 last season with 25 home runs. That was far better than what the Reds got last year from left field and far better than what they currently project to get with their options they have now. Byrd would be an upgrade for the 2015 squad.
With that said it is a bad option to go after. Byrd is going to be 37-years-old in 2015. He struck out 185 times and walked just 35 times last year. His strikeout rate has gone up each of the last four seasons, going from an above-average rate to a very much below-average rate.
Players in the upper 30’s have a tendency to fall off with their production. Players with atrocious plate discipline tend to fall off with their production. Players with incredibly high strikeout rates tend to fall off with their production. Players who are trending hard in the wrong direction on strikeouts tend to fall off with their production.
Marlon Byrd fits every single one of those categories. He is a disaster waiting to happen. Maybe he can put together another season where he skates by despite all of that, but there are a whole lot of red flags lighting up as bright as possible with him. Toss in the fact that you would have to give up some talent to acquire him and pay him at least $8M for 2015 (and he gets a 2016 option at the same price if he gets 550 PA).
The team needs a left fielder badly, but this seems like a very risky option to take. As the original link says, trade talks could continue, but let’s hope the Reds decide to move on from Marlon Byrd and focus their attention elsewhere.