Trading For Marlon Byrd Is Not the Answer For Red Sox
The Red Sox traded for Cubs outfielder Marlon Byrd on the weekend with hopes that he can help solidify a mediocre outfield currently patrolling Fenway Park (get used to the word ‘hope’). Byrd is considered an average to above average defender which is an improvement over Jason Repko and to some extent Cody Ross. But when you sit back and analyze this deal and dig into the numbers a little, it doesn’t take long to realize that Marlon Byrd may not be the answer to curing the Red Sox hiccups that have lasted throughout the first 14 games of the season.
First of all, Byrd’s offensive production this season has been almost non-existent. The 34-year old has just three singles and three walks in 47 plate appearances which translates into an ugly offensive line of .070/.149/.070/.219. He has 2 RBI and was caught stealing in his only attempt.
Ben Cherington went on record and said that he hopes a change of scenery will do Byrd some good and help him regain his offensive abilities. So Red Sox Nation is relying on the general manager’s ‘hopes’ that Byrd can come to Boston and help turn things around for this reeling ballclub. Not exactly a statement full of confidence from the man making the deals to try and tweak the roster in an attempt to save his job.
You can make a fair comparison from Byrd to Jason Repko and say that neither guy is doing much of anything at the plate and Byrd is better on the defensive side, shedding some ray of ‘hope’ that the deal for Byrd will bring some much needed improvements. Darnell McDonald is another outfielder who is struggling at the plate and him and Byrd would be comparable in the field. Ryan Sweeney and Cody Ross now find themselves the go to guys in the outfield, both offensively and defensively.
But would an outfield consisting of Ross, Sweeney and a platoon of Repko and McDonald not be enough to tread water in the outfield until Carl Crawford is ready, likely sometime in May? Consider Ryan Kalish will be ready to start everyday in right field by June and Jacoby Ellsbury is likely to return around the same time, Marlon Byrd could be the odd man out. Once again bringing this move into question and wondering if it needed to be made.
The outfield is far from the problem for the Red Sox who sit second last in the entire AL as of Sunday afternoon. Rather it’s the dreaded bullpen that can’t keep the ball in the yard. What did Cherington give up for Byrd? A bullpen arm. Not saying that Michael Bowden is the answer to the Sox bullpen woes, but rather than try and rebuild the pen internally, Cherington trades away a piece further depleting the talent pool.
Perhaps the biggest concern with Byrd is his history with current Red Sox reliever Vicente Padilla. When the two were teammates in Texas during the 2009 season, it is well documented that the pair did not get along….at all. Their feud led to Padilla being released after it was made public that their behaviors were detrimental to the clubhouse. Isn’t this just what the Red Sox need, another clubhouse distraction. A historic collapse last season that still hovers over this team like a bad hangover, a manager who would rather hear himself talk about his players than make a strategic pitching change and now a sour relationship between two players ought to be good for the Sox clubhouse.
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