JUNE 5: Manager Bryan Price told reporters prior to last night’s contest that Byrd will be in a soft cast for a week to 10 days and will be further evaluated once it is removed, per C. Trent Rosecrans of the Cincinnati Enquirer (on Twitter).
JUNE 2: Reds left fielder Marlon Byrd exited Tuesday’s contest in the sixth inning after being hit by a pitch, and manager Bryan Price told reporters after the game that X-rays revealed a fracture in his right wrist (Twitter link via Mark Sheldon of MLB.com). Further updates on Byrd will likely be available tomorrow.
Acquired from the Phillies this winter in exchange for pitching prospect Ben Lively, Byrd got off to a dreadful start with the Reds. However, after slashing just .169/.188/.273 in the month of April, Byrd came to life in May, batting a hefty .244/.353/.581 with eight homers. That production put to rest concern among some Reds fans that the 37-year-old didn’t have anything left in the tank, and it also increased the likelihood that even if Cincinnati fell out of the NL Central race, they’d have a reasonably desirable trade chip.
The severity and exact location of the fracture aren’t known, so at this point it’s difficult to know precisely how Byrd’s injury will impact the Reds’ summer plans. Even if he is back in relatively short order, though, hand/wrist injuries can sap the power production of a player upon his return. And with a severe enough fracture, it’s possible that he could be sidelined into the month of August. That wouldn’t preclude a trade — if the Reds had intentions to trade Byrd at all, of course — but it would certainly complicate the process.
Furthermore, the injury may have significant financial implications for Byrd, whose two-year, $16MM contract contains a vesting/club option. That option, valued at $8MM, becomes guaranteed if Byrd totals 1100 plate appearances between the 2014 and 2015 seasons, so long as at least half of those plate appearances come in 2015. In other words, he needed 550 plate appearances this year to guarantee himself an additional $8MM. Presently, Byrd has 184 plate appearances, leaving him 366 shy of that additional guaranteed money.