Marlon Byrd can win an outfield spot outright

Marlon Byrd PolaroidMarlon Byrd arrived to Port St. Lucie this morning.

According to MetsBlog’s Michael Baron, Terry Collins said Byrd can win an outfield job outright and not in a platoon situation.

“You’re talking about a guy who’s in this camp, who has a chance to make a huge difference – besides Lucas Duda –  it might be Marlon Byrd,” Collins explained. “This guy was one of the best players in the National League not very long ago. If he is the same player he was in Chicago a couple of years ago, we might have found ourselves our right fielder.”

Collins said Byrd is supposed to be a very good clubhouse presence, “which fits perfectly with us.”

Byrd, 35, hit .210 with two doubles, one home run and nine RBI in 47 games combined with the Cubs and Red Sox in 2012. He served a 50-game suspension for a PED violation last year.

In 11 major league seasons with the Phillies, Nationals, Rangers, Cubs and Red Sox, Byrd has hit .278 with 525 runs scored, 217 doubles, 82 home runs and 445 RBI in 1,103 games.

Byrd hit .293 with 84 runs scored, 39 doubles, 12 home runs with 66 RBI and was named to the National League All-Star team for the Chicago Cubs in 2010.

Brian Erni

Which is all well and good, but he probably shouldn’t. I mean, if Byrd finds the fountain of youth this spring, it’s not like there’s a huge contingent blocking him. But it would surprise me to see him become a player that earns 500-600 at bats again.

Here’s the bright side: after a horrific start with the Cubs, he actually had a pretty serviceable stretch of 34 games with the Red Sox (.270/.286/.320), driven mostly by singles and not much else. But at 35, the numbers have been trending down since his best years: a stretch from 2007-2010 in which he played in very hitter-friendly parks: The Ballpark at Arlington and Wrigley Field. That’s not to say the Mets have anything to lose with giving Byrd an opportunity to take the ball and run with it. He’s in camp on a non-guaranteed deal, so it’s as low risk as it comes. But should he head north with the club, I would think it’s more likely to be in a platoon situation.