The trading deadline is 22 days away, and the Mets are facing several important decisions. There are a few veterans on the roster who may have some value to contending teams. Players such as John Buck, LaTroy Hawkins, and Marlon Byrd may draw interest as July 31st approaches. The Mets have to decide whether to keep or trade their veterans. While each player’s fate will be decided individually, let’s take a look at what to do with Marlon Byrd, who is having a fine season, with 13 HRs, 43 RBI, and a slash line of .265/.310/.486.
The case for trading Byrd: It’s unlikely that Byrd will be a part of the Mets after 2013. The team has made its intentions known. The Mets want to acquire young outfielders under team control, and at 35, Byrd would not fall into that category. Byrd is also one of many outfielders the Mets have, and they’re struggling to find playing time for all of them. Byrd’s departure would create playing opportunities for younger outfielders, such as Kirk Nieuwenhuis, Juan Lagares, and perhaps Matt den Dekker. Finally, the Mets could obtain a mid-level prospect for Byrd, someone who could develop within the minor-league system.
The case for keeping Byrd: Byrd is the Mets’ most productive outfielder, and is up there for the team lead in home runs and RBI. He also plays a solid right field, and has made some key throws from the outfield. Byrd is inexpensive, having signed a $700,000 contract last winter. Also, the type of prospect Byrd could return to the Mets is likely not a top-tier prospect. In fact, one could argue that a 35-year-old outfielder, signed for 3 more months, may not return a prospect of any quality at all. Byrd is, by all accounts, a positive influence in the clubhouse. And there’s the issue of putting a respectable team on the field. Whether the Mets are obligated to do that in a rebuilding cycle is up for debate. However, it’s not debatable that the Mets are a better team for now when Byrd is on the field.
What should the Mets do?: A compelling argument can be made either way. Because the salary dump would not be significant (less than $350,000), and the prospect coming back would likely not have an impact, I think the Mets should keep Byrd. I’ll point to his veteran leadership and on-field production as the primary reasons for my thinking.
What do you think they should do with Byrd?