Discussion: Marlon Byrd

32-year-old outfielder Marlon Byrd makes for an interesting free agent case.  He set career highs with 599 plate appearances, 20 home runs, and 89 RBIs this year.  On the other hand, his .329 OBP and 5.3% walk rate fell short of his 2008 marks.

Byrd played all three outfield positions, as usual.  He logged the majority of his innings in center field.  His defense in center ranked as a slight negative according to UZR/150; it was a positive in previous years.  John Dewan's plus-minus system also saw Byrd as a slight negative in center.

If Byrd is treated as a corner outfielder, he's not especially interesting.  But the free agent market for center fielders is weak, with Mike Cameron and Coco Crisp the other palatable starting options.  Byrd might be in a position to ask for $5MM+ annually for two or three years (he earned $3.06MM in '09).  The Royals, Cubs, Brewers, and Padres might be in the market for a center fielder, though the Cubs will presumably seek a left-handed bat if they trade Milton Bradley.  It may be a moot point, as the Rangers hope to re-sign Byrd.  At the least, they should offer arbitration to the probable Type B free agent.



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