When the Mets signed Marlon Byrd on February 1, 2013, the move was announced with as little fanfare as possible. The Mets were in need of a veteran outfielder, and Byrd was available on the cheap. He was coming off of a season in which he batted a miserable .210/.243/.245 with the Cubs and Red Sox. Byrd was washed up. He was done. He was just collecting one last major league check so that the Mets could look like they were trying to improve their pathetic outfield.
As it turned out, Byrd wasn't washed up, even though he was 36 years old and hadn't posted an OPS+ above 100 since 2010. Little did anyone know, Byrd was about to have his best season ever as an MLB player. You wouldn't have known it in April, though, as Byrd hit an underwhelming .232/.280/.377 in the season's first month. Things started to heat up in May, as Byrd hit five home runs and slugged .516, even though his OBP was still under .300.
The magic really got going in June and July. Byrd hit 11 home runs over those two months while walking 12 times to push his OBP up to .327 and his OPS up to .842 in time for the July 31 trade deadline. Particularly memorable were his grand slam that pulled the Mets ahead of the Giants on July 9 as well as his go-ahead two-run homer against the Rockies in a June 28 makeup game.
While Byrd seemed like an obvious trade candidate at the non-waiver deadline thanks to some contenders having the need for an outfield bat, the veteran was still a Met on August 1. For a minute there, it appeared that New York was going to risk getting nothing but fond memories out of Byrd's comeback season, but on August 27, a trade was announced. The Mets sent Byrd and John Buck to Pittsburgh in exchange for infield prospect Dilson Herrera and right-handed relief pitcher Vic Black. Considering Byrd was picked up for virtually nothing back in Februrary, it felt like the Mets were picking up a pair of assets for free.
The deal worked out for the Pirates, as well. Byrd hit .319/.364/.462 in September before launching a home run on October 1 to help the Buccos win their Wild Card Playoff over the Reds. He added six hits in 18 NLDS at-bats before the Pirates were eliminated. He signed with the Phillies for two years and $16 million this winter.
Desired 2014 Role: Back with the Mets on a one-year deal.
Projected 2014 Role: Starting in right field for the Phillies.