The Phillies have several players they could trade this offseason, but Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that Marlon Byrd is drawing the most significant interest in the early-going. Byrd has a four-team no-trade clause that previously included the Blue Jays, Mariners, Royals and Rays, but Chris Cotillo of SB Nation’s MLB Daily Dish reports (via Twitter) that he has since made some changes to the teams on the no-trade list as the Phillies gear up for the offseason. Players are often allowed to edit their no-trade protection following the completion of a season.
Byrd is owed a very reasonable $8MM in 2015, but the complication in trading him will likely be a vesting option at the same amount for the 2015 season that will trigger if Byrd reaches 463 plate appearances next year. That would lock a team into paying Byrd $8MM for his age-38 season. The option further complicates matters because Byrd can use it as leverage; in July when the Mariners and Royals expressed interest in acquiring him, Byrd reportedly offered to waive the clause only if Seattle or Kansas City would agree to exercise the 2016 option in advance. He could take a similar approach this offseason, identifying four clubs with a need in right field — the Royals and Mariners would make sense — and again attempt to use the option as leverage.
Byrd posted a strong season with the Phillies, batting .264/.312/.445 with 25 homers and plus defense in right field (+3.5 UZR/150, +6 DRS). Given the thin market for outfield bats — Melky Cabrera, Nelson Cruz, Nick Markakis, Colby Rasmus, Nori Aoki and Alex Rios are among the available names — it’s not surprising that many clubs would consider Byrd to be a more affordable alternative. The question will be whether a team will meet GM Ruben Amaro Jr.’s asking price given Byrd’s age and option, as it seems unlikely that Amaro would be content to simply dump the salary of a productive player elsewhere. Amaro’s asking price on Byrd was said to be rather high at the trade deadline.