Friday, May 1, 2009

The Market for Paul Byrd

Paul Byrd was one of the few quality free agent starting pitchers, who did not sign with a team this offseason. Instead, Byrd opted to sit out the beginning of 2009 to spend more time with his family. Byrd never ruled out signing with a team in the middle of 2009 and now seems to be actively seeking out interested teams. While Byrd will never overpower a lineup with his stuff, he does have the capability to be a quality back end of the rotation starter and eat innings.

Only a month into the season, it looks like Byrd's decision to wait until signing is a smart one. As more teams suffer injuries to their starting staff and deal with struggling starting pitchers, Byrd will become an attractive option because teams will not have to give up players for Byrd and he will probably come cheaply, unlike Pedro Martinez.

Many teams have shied away from free-agent right-hander Pedro Martinez because he is reportedly seeking a $5-million deal, but money does not appear to be a hurdle with Byrd, who said he is "a couple weeks away" from being game-ready.

"I'm not opposed to signing an incentive-laden deal at all," Byrd said. "That's fair to me and the team. If I can't perform, don't pay me. If I can, give me what I'm worth."
So what teams should have interest in Byrd? Let's take a look:

Mets: If Oliver Perez continues to stink up the joint, the Mets could be forced to look outside the organization for help. Byrd could be a fit at the spacious Citi Field, especially if he can give the Mets some quality innings.

The Angels seem to be very hesistant to go outside the organization for help even with the injuries to Lackey, Escobar, and Santana. Byrd would seem to be a logical fit here, but I doubt the Angels would go this route.

Blue Jays:
Sure the Blue Jays have been competitive so far, but I dunno how long they can survive with Brian Tallet and David Purcey in their rotation. But with Casey Janssen and Ricky Romero on their way back from injuries, the Jays are probably very hesitant to invest in Byrd.

There is no doubt that the Indians have been a disappointment so far and their starting pitching has been shaky at best. Carl Pavano and Anthony Reyes both have ERAs above 7 and Fausto Carmona has a 6.28 ERA. Obviously, this simply will not get the job done. If Pavano and Reyes especially continue to struggle, Byrd could be a logical replacement for either guy and a quality arm at the back end of the rotation.

Here is where Byrd makes the most sense. The Dodgers could be in quite a bind if Kuroda cannot return soon and Jason Schmidt fails to comeback from his various arm ailments. The combination of Eric Stults and James McDonald is very unlikely to get the job done over the long haul. If Kuroda or Schmidt are out for a long period of time, Byrd would be a great choice for the Dodgers to stabilize the back end of their rotation.

So where else could Paul Byrd be an option down the road? It'll be interesting to see how the market further develops in the upcoming weeks.


1 comment:

Blue Rauchmann said...