COMMENTARY | The Pittsburgh Pirates finally added a piece to the puzzle that many fans hope will kick-start what's been an anemic offense so far this season.
According to ESPN's Adam Rubin, the Bucs on Tuesday afternoon acquired New York Mets right fielder Marlon Byrd and catcher John Buck. Byrd figures to man right field for the rest of the season and represents an immediate upgrade for a team that hasn't had great production there.
Byrd will replace the gaggle of players currently filling the position for the Bucs. The 35-year-old veteran is batting .285 this year with 21 home runs in 117 games played, numbers far better than the combined .232 batting average and 12 home runs hit by Pirates right fielders this season. He is a very strong candidate, along with Pirates pitcher Francisco Liriano, for Comeback Player of the Year in the National League.
It's almost impossible to hate this move. The Pirates can't get much worse on offense. The team ranks 25th in baseball with 506 runs scored. They rank 24th with a .244 team batting average and 18th with 123 home runs.
While Byrd certainly isn't a prolific power hitter (his 21 home runs this year rank as a career high), he has hit for a career .279 batting average over his 12-year career. What's best is that only about $130,000 remains on his salary for this year, as reported by Rubin.
And that's not to mention he was a fan-favorite in New York with a fan base that didn't have much to root for. A friend and I traveled to New York City earlier this year to watch the Bucs take on the Mets, and we sat in the right field Pepsi Porch right behind Byrd. A rather eccentric and loud group of fans, appropriately dressed in homemade bird suits, held large signs and screamed and cheered in what they called "The Byrd Cage." Either in attempt to shut them up or to genuinely show appreciation, Byrd had a team representative send up half a dozen autographed baseballs to the small fan section.
So far, it seems Pittsburgh fans are receptive to the move.
It's not clear just who the Pirates are giving up in the deal, although CBS Sports' Jon Heyman is reporting its minor-league shortstop Dilson Herrera. Sounds like a great deal for a quality right fielder and a backup catcher to Russell Martin.
The move seems like a no-brainer, in my opinion. What do Pirates fans think about landing Byrd?
Jared Stonesifer has covered the Pittsburgh Pirates for MLB.com on a freelance basis since 2010. He lives in Pittsburgh.
- Sports & Recreation
- Pittsburgh Pirates
- Marlon Byrd
- New York Mets