Marlon Byrd makes sense for the Mariners, at the right price.

Marlon Byrd is 36 years old, and he is currently crushing the ball while wearing a Phillies uniform. With Philadelphia’s struggles this year, they are going to be looking to off-load expensive contracts…and Byrd is going to be one of the players they should be shopping. One of the teams that is rumored to be interested in the right-handed outfielder is the Seattle Mariners.

Byrd has been having a pretty solid year in 2014. In 377 plate appearances he has hit .261/.313/.481, posted a wOBA of .343, and a firmly above average wRC+ of 118. The major benefit that the Mariners would get from having Byrd is the fact that he has been demolishing left-handed pitching this season — his slash line is .313/.353/.613, and a .404 wOBA.

chart

A look at where Byrd’s hits have landed (Courtesy of Fangraphs)

The best part about Byrd is that Citizens Bank Park is only padding his stats, and not the largest influence. At home he is hitting .260/.311/.515 with a wRC+ 126 , and on the road he is hitting .261/.314/.450  with a wRC+ 0f 110.

His relatively even level of production between his home and road parks could indicate that he would be able to produce at Safeco. But a look at his spray charts, indicate that there is the potential for him to struggle in Seattle, too.

While his stats look pretty good, the majority of his hits have been in left (and left center) field. That is the deepest part of Safeco…and it makes me wonder if it would lead to a decline in his level of production at home.

Another point of concern is that the majority of his batted balls are fly balls (44.8%) and that could be more of a problem at Safeco Field — especially with Byrd’s tendency to pull the ball.

Despite the potential for Byrd to decline, the Mariners should at least ask the Phillies what they would want to part with him. He is a right-handed bat, that is under contract through 2015 (with a club option for ’16), and has been killing left-handed pitching.

If he cost a broken Dustin Ackley and an organizational filler…then go for it. But at no point should Mariners General Manager Jack Zduriencik consider trading any of the organizations top-25 prospects for Byrd, the risk would not be worth the potential reward if that’s what the Phillies want.

UPDATE: 7/11/2014 12:04 pm

Marlon Byrd has a four team no trade clause…and the Mariners are one of the team’s on that list. But fortunately, the Byrd is willing to reconsider any of the teams on the list, if the Phillies ask him too:

Byrd said he does not view his no-trade clause as ironclad. He would consider a trade to any of the teams on his list if the Phillies asked him to.

“There would have to be a conversation with me, my agent and Ruben (Amaro Jr., the Phillies’ GM) if it gets to that point,” Byrd said.

Byrd also explained some of his reasoning for having those teams on that list:

“Byrd, who turns 37 in August, said he put Toronto and Tampa Bay on his no-trade list because they play on artificial turf and that can sometimes be tough on the body of an older player. Byrd has a third-year option for $8 million on his contract and would be 39 at the tail end of that year if the option kicks in with 600 plate appearances in 2015.

As for Seattle and Kansas City being on his no-trade clause, Byrd said: “Those really are things that were just put on at the time being.”

That means that a deal to Seattle still could be done…and I still stand by what I said above. Byrd should be interesting to the M’s, but at the right price.

 

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