Byrd Returns Home
Marlon Byrd’s come back to his roots. The veteran outfielder who once wore #2, will be wearing #3 this time around.
The right-handed power-hitter with a .280 career average was the first major free agent signee earlier this week. It certainly has created a buzz. Todd Zolecki’s initial story drew 880 comments as of this morning. Some of comments were positive, others opposite. Fans at least care and have opinions. Some of writers too offered similar responses.
Thought it was interesting to read comments of Byrd’s last general manager:
Neal Huntingdon, Pirates
“As you look at that outfield group, if you don’t want to give up your first-round pick, Marlon Byrd is arguably the best available outfield bat. He was one of the better players on the market.”
The late Paul Owens, architect of the 1980 World Champions, used to say, “Sometimes you have to improve your club an inch at a time.”
As Ruben has said so often, we have a lot of holes to fill. Byrd filled one, leaving salary room for other moves. Last winter the Red Sox signed the likes of Shane, Napoli, Gomes, Drew, multiple unsexy signings rather than one or two major sizzlers.
It kind of reminds me of the 1993 Phillies. Danny Jackson, David West, Larry Andersen, Milt Thompson, Pete Incaviglia and Jim Eisenreich were obtained prior to spring training 20 years ago.
Byrd was our 10th round selection in 1999. When we opened Citizens Bank Park 10 years ago, he was our starting centerfielder. As the lead-off hitter, he was the first Phillie to bat, grounding out to second base. In his second at-bat (third inning) he walked and stole second, the first steal in the new park.
Now, he’s back and his bat will be in the middle of the order, an experienced right-handed bat, something we needed. Once inch down with a few more inches to go.