This week, word got out that the Reds and Phillies were kinda maybe close on a deal for Marlon Byrd. JP Morosi says the deal could still work out, but who knows. The incentives are still there greasing the sleds, as the Phillies are dismantling and the Reds still need a LF. Hell, the Reds have needed a LF since Adam Dunn (save for a few months in 2012 when Ryan Ludwick went fonky nannerbonkers). But is this a good idea for the Reds?
Well, yeah kinda. But not really.
In case you are unfamiliar with the Byrd Man, he is 37. That's dang-ass old for a baseball player. But he's been a pretty good player over his 13-year career and has actually had some of his best years in the last few seasons. His OPS+ of 138 in 2013 is the best of his career, and his 110 last season is still pretty solid. He hit 25 home runs last season, too, which is his single-season best. He has accumulated nearly 14 bWAR since 2010 (and that includes a totally lost 2012 due to injury). And perhaps the most attractive bit about this guy is that he is owed only $8 mil next season (with an $8 mil option for '16 contingent on plate appearance or something). His age is still worrisome to me, but you can't really argue with his production and price. He's a good value, and I'm almost always on board for building a team with good value players. It's smart baseball.
However, I don't think Marlon Byrd is the correct answer to the question the Reds are asking, or should be asking. At this point, the Reds need to make up more than a few wins in the outfield in order to get them into playoff contention. Trading Mat Latos and Alfredo Simon made a 76-win team even worse, and Marlon Byrd (or anyone short of Mike Trout) isn't going to make up the difference. Of course, healthy and productive seasons from all of the unfortunately injured players will (hopefully) do most of that work, but Marlon Byrd won't.
I mean, dang. The Reds are in a really weird place right now. You'd think that trading Latos and Simon would signal a big sell-off, but as they stand right now I think they are still just a few good moves away from contending in 2015. If they are set on going for it, I think getting Ben Zobrist for LF would be much more productive than Marlon Byrd. But then again, Zobrist would be (probably) much more expensive in terms of prospects and it might be too much. But Zobrist is pretty much the only player on the open market who could give the Reds the kind of boost they need. If they can't get Zobrist, they probably shouldn't be buying anything.
I guess what I'm saying is that while trading for Byrd would probably be a good move, it would certainly be the wrong move. He adds value, but not enough. I don't know who could or how the Reds could make it work, but maybe that's because the numbers add up to nothing. They have a very narrow needle to thread right now.