Jon Morosi (Fox Sports) tweeted that the Reds and Phillies were close on a deal that would have sent OF Marlon Byrd to Cincinnati. Morosi doesn’t indicate when these negotiations were taking place. He does say that they could be revived. It’s possible these negotiations took place back when the Reds were shopping Mat Latos and Alfredo Simon, but that’s unlikely as the rebuilding Phillies would have little interest in a one-and-done pitcher.

Byrd is owed $8 million in 2015 and an $8 million option for 2016 would vest if he receives 550 plate appearances in 2015.

Quick thoughts: No, thanks. Byrd is 37 years old and the Reds could be committed for two years. Negative defense. Negative base running. Poor walk-rate. Declining power (although still good). Steamer projects him (.243/.292/.391) at wRC+ of 89. That’s 11 percent below average. Not what you look for in a corner OF. Has the market become so depleted that this is the best the Reds can do? Yikes. Doug Gray has a similar negative view of the potential trade.

This would be an especially bad move if the Reds give up something of actual value for Byrd, like Zack Cozart.

Walt Jocketty, keep looking.

73 Responses

  1. Kyle Farmer

    No, no, a thousand times no. I can’t believe I’m about to say this, but I’ll say it anyway. I think I’d rather have Ludwick back for a year than Byrd for two years.

    • lwblogger2

      Actually, I don’t think you’d be alone there. Rather than give up a player for Byrd, they may as well sign Rasmus or even Aoki. I think either could be had for less than $16-million and with Rasmus, you may actually get an OPS+ on the right side of 100, if he can bounce back from his bad 2014. Steamer says .233/.300/.417 for Rasmus and I think that projection is low.

      • CP

        To be fair, Steamer’s projection for Byrd is also very low. Byrd put up pretty solid numbers all of 2014, then collapsed in September/October, which could be explained away by being the old guy playing on a bad baseball team.

        Also, people are making a big deal over Byrd’s option, but he only gets that option if he stays healthy, performs well, and the Reds compete. That isn’t a big deal.

        Not sayin’ I’d trade for Byrd (I wouldn’t), but who knows what the deal would be. Middling prospect for Byrd + cash might be reasonable. A lot of the alternative guys listed have big question marks over them or be very resource-expensive.

      • lwblogger2

        You have a good point. Everyone who appears to be available has some sort of question mark(s) and many of those question marks are big ones. Never been a big fan of Bryd so I already have a bit of a bias. That may be tainting my judgement in the matter somewhat. I saw that the option only kicks in at 550 PA and it’s very possible he wouldn’t reach that number, especially approaching 40.

  2. Tom Reed

    Might have been good during the 2013 season when Ludwick went down, but not now. A contact hitter with a low strike out rate like Aoki batting between Hamilton and Votto makes more sense as a lead in to Winker taking over left field.

  3. Ryan

    Agreed. Unless there’s another “Wil Myers” out there whose team trades him out of the blue, it looks like these are the remaining left field options:

    -Nori Aoki
    -Seth Smith
    -Ben Zobrist
    -Dexter Fowler
    -Colby Rasmus
    -Scott Van Slyke

    Also going to throw another name out there: Collin Cowgill (LAA)

    Any chance the Reds take a look at this guy? Some solid minor league numbers. He is a bit on the old side, but I bet he could be had for a mid level pitching prospect. We’ve got a little depth.

    • Dennis

      Did you arrange that list of names by length on purpose?

      • Thegaffer

        I will say that if Walt could have traded for Van Slyke and hasnt he should be fired. I still cant understand why 6 mill a year for Morse was too high for Reds. If it is, then all the others on that list are out of reach too.

        I bet they are out of money, which is totally their own fault. What if we had done the Bailey to Yanks for Gardner and a prospect that was rumored?

      • Ryan

        I wish the Bailey to Yanks would have happened. Then we could actually afford to extend Johnny Cueto. Seeing the current contracts that pitchers have been getting, and I think we vastly over paid for Homer. If Ervin Santana gets $55 million, there’s no way Homer Bailey should get $105 million.

    • Carl Sayre

      Smith went to the Mariners today. At this point sign Aoki or Rasmus because we have to have a LF. Leave Winker at triple A for a full season and rape someones farm system in return for Cueto and dream about 16 and beyond.

  4. Ryan

    Reds may have missed out on a nice pick up by the Rockies in the Rule 5 Draft who was then traded to the A’s: Mark Canha. In 465 AB at AAA last year, Canha hit .303/.384/.505 with 20 HRs. In 425 AB in AA in 2013, he hit .273/.371/.449 so it’s not looking like his #s are a fluke. Plays LF, 3B, 1B.

    Sure, he would have had to remain on the 25 man roster, but I’d take Canha over Skippy. Want to save both money and prospects? This would have been the move to make.

      • Ryan

        Thanks. Wish Walt was getting the credit rather than myself after the fact!

    • redsfan06

      Canha has had solid OBP and good slugging numbers and BB/K ratio throughout his minor league career. Wonder why the Marlins didn’t protect him? Wonder even more why Walt didn’t pick him? Guess the Rockies had a choice ahead of the Reds?

      • lwblogger2

        Yes, the Rockies picked ahead of the Reds in the Rule V draft.

      • Thegaffer

        Walt has not picked any rule V that I know, Krinvsky did. Would have cost reds a medium level prospect to trade for the chance that he can stay on the roster. Probably too much to risk. However, if reds retool next year I hope they try it then.

    • tct

      I hate to beat a dead horse here, but guys like this being acquired for free just makes last year’s decision to play Pena and Santiago in Votto’s spot when he was injured seem so inexplicable. There are all kinds of guys like this in AAA or on MLB benches. Guys who are relegated to first base or leftfield because of defensive deficiencies and can hit a little. They don’t get starting jobs because teams expect their starting first baseman to be well above average offensively, but they could certainly hit better than Pena or Santiago. And teams practically give them away. The Reds picked up one this off season for free from the Mets.

      If Walt couldn’t find a guy like this for cheap last year, then I can only assume he wasn’t looking.

      • Ryan

        Right. I’m sure there is another AAA player out there who could be had for the right pitching prospect (none of our top 10 though). If $ are such a big deal, the Reds really need to get more creative and find another Josh Satin type of player for LF.

        I just don’t think it’s a given either that Winker is going to be ready this season or even next. Too much faith is placed on Winker arriving and immediately crushing ML pitching. Even Trout struggled when he was first called up. I think they need to make some sort of notable move because this year looks to be our last chance to contend.

  5. Hotto4Votto

    Thankfully we dodged that bullet. Not a good idea to get a guy with 185K/35BB last year. That’s not what we’re looking for. Make this move at the waiver deadline in 2012, not now.

  6. dradg

    UGH. Can’t believe this was even a possibility. I actually looked at his Baseball Reference page to see whether he spent anytime in the Cardinals organization. That’s the only reason I could think of for why the Reds would look to Byrd. (He hasn’t.)

  7. Redsman

    Ha ha! Got that right…we love us some ex red birds up in the ‘nati!

    • lwblogger2

      Well, his last name IS “Byrd”

  8. Jpcore44

    Its really difficult to be a Reds fan right now. We’ve only been looking for a clean up hitter/LF for ever now and we cant seem to take it serious and fix it. I just dont hope we ruin another doubles hitter (Brandon) by sticking them in this role. No thanks on 2015 tickets.

    • Thegaffer

      Cant understand why we need a cleanup hitter for LF. Frazier or Mes is fine. BP should be 6 or 7. 2 hole hitter is fine.

    • tct

      I’m not a big fan of this front office, but it is the season to count our blessings. I don’t think it is that bad to be a Reds fan right now. Consider:

      90 + wins and playoff appearance in 3 of the last 5 years.

      One of the top 5 hitters in baseball in Votto whose skill and discipline is remarkable to watch. Hope he’s healthy.

      One of the best pitchers in baseball in Cueto. For one more year anyway.

      Two players in Chapman and Hamilton that are the best in baseball at one particular thing. They are both fun to watch.

      A power hitting young catcher and an all star third baseman who has lots of fun on the field.

      Sure, the Reds future doesn’t look as bright as some of their rivals. But remember that just two years ago Baseball America named the Reds their organization of the year. In 2010 and 2011, the Reds were considered the team of the future while the Pirates and Cubs were still horrible and the Cardinals were considered an old team with a poor farm system whose future was in doubt. Things can change quickly.

      • Jpcore44

        I agree with everything you said so don’t get me wrong. I will sum up my frustration. I like the moves we made to free up $$$ to fix our problem reportedly?. However, that’s not really the case and its the same game year after year. We will not get the difference maker this team is starving for. I repeat, we will not. It will just be smoke and mirrors with the guys we just missed out on and this phony trade that didn’t go through. If we are not serious about winning and fixing this issue – for god sake lets get younger. Lets not add another 37 year old to this lineup.

  9. unc reds fan

    Reds should go Rasmus or trade for smith before going for Byrd. Not sold on Rasmus but think he is the best of the FA outfielders and most likely due to Walt’s Cardinals ties. As much as I am down on Cozart he is still a quality utility infielder if he loses to Suarez for the ss position which can not be said about Byrd who is at best an small upgrade from the ludwick shumaker platoon. In other words if that’s all we were looking for we should’ve kept Chris to begin with

    • RedAlert

      Jocketty is a bag of hot wind – not fixing the left field problem in 2 plus years is inexcusable – have no confidence whatsoever any meaningful roster addition is coming – worst thing Big Bob did was extend him for 2 more years – 2 more years of mediocrity on the horizon

  10. reaganspad

    Bird has only had 550 abs twice. I think this is a one year deal. Defensive replacement in late innings. I would hold him to about 145 games where his numbers might improve

    2013 numbers would look great on the Reds: 291 with 336 OBP

    Strike outs went up a lot from 2013 to 2014, maybe bat is slowing. I did not follow him that closely last year but he did play in 154 games, career high.

    I would take him for the right price

    • Tom Diesman

      Byrd’s option is actually based on PA, not AB. His option states, “2016 option guaranteed with 600 plate appearances in 2015 or 1,100 PAs in 2014-15, including 550 PAs in 2015”. Given his 637 PA last season, his $8M club option in 2016 is guaranteed with his 550th PA this season. That translates to about 135 GS. For the record, I’m not interested in Byrd, especially for that kind of money and also having to give up players.

  11. Redsman

    Anybody hear J Edmonds had been working out? Looking pretty good, maybe offered a minor league deal, whereupon hearing of it Rip VJ countered with a 2 year deal…one guaranteed?!?

    • Morgan Mayham

      Makes sense, they would want cozart. But do not trade for byrd. How about cozart and maybe a low level prospect.. for a bullpen arm and mayberry jr. As a 4th outfielder, he is still on there team?

      And sign rasmus for left.

      • lwblogger2

        They DFAed Mayberry Jr. He has since been signed by another club. I want to say the deal was under $2-million.

    • preacherj

      Signs of Spring: lawn mowers being tuned, flowers beginning to bud, Jim Edmonds working out.

  12. JMO

    Zobrist, Van Slyke, C Dickerson or Blackmon, Fowler, Kalhoun in LAA, Aoki, Rasmus, etc.

  13. Shchi Cossack

    Even the discussion of a trade for Byrd now makes WJ’s failure to claim Byrd off waivers in 2013 even more absurd. Byrd was signed for $700K in 2013 and Wj would have been on the hook for just $100K for the remainder of 2013. Now he wants to trade for Byrd who is 2 years older, less productive, slower, hits less and with less power…yeah that makes a boatload of sense.

    BC extends Dusty for multiple seasons and has to eat that contract. Now he extends WJ for multiple seasons and signs more Operations Executives to assist WJ. No wonder the Reds are having difficulty making budget with player salaries. Talk about the Old Boys Club in action…

  14. redmountain

    There has been a lot of talk about inaction on the part of the Reds, and it has been my position that you have no way of knowing what is going on in the front office. I seem to remember that the Phillies were asking for the moon for Byrd-major leaguer and at least one top prospect who is close to the majors . So let us say that part of the reason the Phillies felt comfortable trading Rollins was they felt close to adding Cozart. The sticking point may have been the prospects. Obviously, if the Phillies would only take Stephenson, or Winker that deal cannot be made. This is a case of making smart trades, not of inaction or making moves that will hurt the team long term.

    • ohiojimw

      I agree that we don’t know a smidgen of what is really going on behind the scenes.

      However we do know what players have moved and for what return. When one looks at the amount of player movement there has been thus far in the this off season, it is hard to believe there were not possibilities for the the Reds to have been more involved than what they have been.

      It certainly appears reasonable to think they could have landed a player or two who would have filled their needs as well or better than the guys they are likely to end up with (based on what we know about who is probably still available) and at as reasonable price in $$$ and/ or talent that will end up paying.

    • Carl Sayre

      Had the Reds been talking to other teams and WJ kept his mouth shut the other team would have leaked it if he tried more than twice we would have heard.

  15. chezpayton

    How dare you call Cozart valuabale. HAHAHAHHAHAHHA good one bro

  16. redmountain

    I also think for all the trades that we hear about there are many more that do not go through and we will not hear about. Many do not understand that there must be agreement on both sides for a swap to be made. It does not mean that Jocketty is sitting around doing nothing. He has made a number of minor moves, because he is protecting himself as far as depth in case he cannot find a deal that makes sense.

    • RedAlert

      He has not found a deal in over 2 years worth a crap – that’s just unbelievable – to me , that’s pretty much sitting around doing nothing

      • Thegaffer

        Simon deal was ridiculously good. Original Latos deal was the primary reason we Did so well in 2012 and 2013 and for not much given up. Now, If Latos gets pummeled this year that trade may look good too. The problem here appears to be money. Walt did not necessarily sign BP or Homer to way over value deals. Choo was one of reds best ever! People rarely give up cheap star players for nothing.

        Not trading Winker may be a great deal too. A real trade that was discussed was Cueto and Votto for some As pitcher who ended up stinking years ago. You dont want to compound the problem!

        I fault Walt for not claiming Byrd in 2013, not finding a backup outfielder for Ludwick when he got hurt or last year. Also, he should have found a way to pay Morse more than 6 mill a year. Sounds to me though that Castellini is limiting some of his moves.

      • Casey

        I disagree. Both the incoming and outgoing Simon trades were great trades.

  17. lwblogger2

    Someone will find fault in any move, this is true. There are a wide-ranging sample of views and opinions at Redlegnation. It’s why I keep coming back. I think that when the right deal happens, most people around here like the move, at least initially. The Choo deal comes to mind. For an example this year, I think the Simon trade was pretty much applauded by most around here.

    • john lucia

      trade for seth smith and call it a day. pick up a power hitting rh bat from aaa ,kyle jensen(dodgers), and we’re good to go.

  18. WVRedlegs

    We don’t want to spell the Reds leftfielder’s name B-Y-R-D.
    We want to spell it Z-O-B-R-I-S-T. Or B-E-T-T-S.

    • VaRedsFan

      I’m not sure why Betts name keeps coming up here, but not in a million years are the Sox going to deal away Betts, this offseason.

  19. lwblogger2

    My other team, the O’s, are closing in on Rasmus. Rumor has it that they think they can get him on a 1-yr deal for $5-million to $8-million. If the Reds aren’t in the mix at that price, they either don’t think he’s good at all or they really have no money and probably should just go ahead and move Chapman and Cueto for the full rebuild.

  20. OCRed

    Based on Byrd’s declining numbers and his Steamer projection, keeping Heisey would have been a much better option – especially given the investment. Then use the $$ allocated to acquire Byrd toward the bullpen, prospect, or . . .

  21. VaRedsFan

    MLB Trade Rumors:
    Mariners nearing a deal for Seth Smith.
    Anyone home Walt?? Hello??

  22. sultanofswaff

    Seth Smith about to go to the Mariners for what appears to be a long reliever with pedestrian numbers.

    Really? We don’t have a better offer???

    This is getting ridiculous.

  23. Steve Mancuso

    If the rumors are true that Seth Smith can be had for a meh young pitcher or that Colby Rasmus may sign for 1 year at $5-8 million, the Reds should be all over those two options instead of trolling for Marlon Byrd.

    • al

      MLBTR says the Padres are trying to get Brandon Maurer for Seth Smith. The Reds have plenty of guys better than him that aren’t close to making our rotation. It’s just crazy-making.

  24. al

    It is really getting to be laughable how many players the Reds could use are moving and/or signing without a peep from the Reds.

    Are we really going to start the season with Skip in LF?

  25. Mark Bradford

    The reds shouldn’t make any move. They aren’t hoping to win with or without a lf. They should just save money.

  26. wkuchad

    FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reports that the Reds are set to acquire Marlon Byrd from the Phillies.

    FOX Sports’ Jon Morosi wrote earlier this week that the two sides were close to a deal before it fell apart, but they were able to get it done. Rosenthal hears that prospect right-hander Ben Lively is one of the players headed back to Philadelphia in the deal. The Phillies are expected to send cash to the Reds. Byrd, 37, amassed 25 home runs and 85 RBI in 2014 and has a good chance to continue to post solid power numbers in Cincinnati. He’s owed $8 million in 2015 and has an $8 million vesting option for 2016.

    Source: Ken Rosenthal on Twitter

  27. Redsfan2015

    You heard it from me first, Marlon Byrd has been acquired.

  28. rfay00

    Byrd would be good in the 6 hole behind Bruce.

    Ideal lineup now:
    Hamilton
    Frazier
    Votto
    Mesoraco
    Bruce
    Byrd
    Phillips
    Cozart/Suarez

    Doubt Phillips bats that low though…

  29. lwblogger2

    Crap! Looks like we are trading Lively for Byrd. Why? Why? Why?

  30. SPRO

    Here’s how I picture it. Walt woke up from his week-long slumber since he had some NYE guests coming over. Had a few drinks early on to pre-game, and just said…Ahhh, screw it, I know a RH hitter that plays LF. Deal. Time to get a nap in before the people start coming over.
    OK, to be less snarky, I think inherently all of the Reds fans just hate the name because we missed blocking him 2 years ago. If it’s just a 1 year/4 million deal, that’s not too bad if Winker comes up and takes over next year and we can platoon him with a LH hitter (not Schumaker) to take away his PA’s. If Winker’s not ready though, we’re back in the same position that we are this year and have been for a while now.