It's late, I'm tired, and I have a lot of writing to do. So let's get the rumors/facts out of the way:
1) Marlon Byrd is playing over his head.
2) He probably won't be a Met next year, and regardless, he's a free agent to be.
3) The Mets aren't making the playoffs this year.
In short, there are a lot of reasons why Sandy Alderson should trade Marlon Byrd. But for some reason, the rumor mill says that he's not going to unless he gets an organizations top 15 or better prospect.
The conventional wisdom is that this is wrong. Byrd isn't worth anything after this year, especially given that he's a free agent, and this year doesn't matter. Alderson let Scott Hairston go untraded last year in a very similar situation, even though he probably could have turned him into a low-A lottery ticket guy or some old-for-level dude who could have a fill-in role on a future Mets team. Who knows, but the point is, such a trade is effectively getting something (albeit very little) for nothing. That sounds like a deal one makes every day, seven days a week.
But it looks like Alderson, for the second year in a row, is going to pass on doing that. And it may make a lot of sense. Maybe he's in it for the long game. That is, maybe he's building credibility for a future trade with a much more eager buyer.
Here's the hypothetical situation in which I likely give Sandy too much credit:
Let's say that tomorrow, July 29th, the Rangers call him up and ask for Marlon Byrd. He says, OK, give me Rougned Odor, a good fielding, solid hitting 19 year old in A+ with an awesome name. Rangers GM Jon Daniels say whatever, Byrd is 35 year old having a career year and, by the way, was a PED-eater like Nelson Cruz probably is, but he'll give up the guy who they took in the 18th round in the 2011 draft who is still in the Sally even though he went to a four year college. Alderson says fine, I'll just keep Byrd, just like I did Hairston last year.
Now, Daniels is at a bit of an impasse. There's no other bidder that he knows about, let's assume, but he really needs that OF bat with Lance Berkman on the shelf and that Biogenesis thing about to karate chop Nelson Cruz's season (potentially). But he calls Alderson's bluff anyway and sticks to his guns -- Byrd just isn't worth a "real" prospect, and it's unlikely someone is going to overpay for him, so Daniels says "no thanks, but the offer of the crappy guy stands, call me by Wednesday if you change your mind."
Wednesday comes and goes and Marlon Byrd, like Scott Hairston before him, remains a Met. Maybe Alderson texts Daniels some snarky comments ("Enjoy Rougned Odor!") whenever Texas loses or something, but that's unlikely because he's a professional, but we can dream. Either way, no trades happen.
So let's do some math. This is a bit weak, sure, so feel free to come back in the comments with some real numbers. Let's assume that Hairston and Byrd's future value to the Mets is $0, total, because it is. Let's further assume that the Mets could have pretty easily gotten an Allen Dykstra-type for either. And finally, let's further assume that soon or later, by keeping enough Hairstons and Byrds, Alderson can convince another GM to pay his asking price of a top 15 guy, even if there are no other credible offers out there.
So here's the question: How many Allen Dykstras are worth one Rougned Odor?
My guess is that it's five or so, and my other guess is that Alderson can pull off a trade like that once out of every three tries. But you can't do that if you give away Byrds and Haristons for Dykstras, so, you end up with a handful of "wasted" assets. What you're buying isn't org fodder, though; you're buying credibility.