The New York Mets have added some depth in center field with the addition of Marlon Byrd on a minor league as first reported by Anthony DiComo. The deal includes an invite to spring training for the 35 year old outfielder.
Byrd began the 2012 season with the Chicago Cubs and struggled badly, hitting .070/.149/.070 in 47 plate appearances. He was dealt to the Boston Red Sox for reliever Michael Bowden after injuries to Jacoby Ellsbury and Jason Repko left them without a centerfielder. He was just slightly better with the Red Sox hitting .270/.286/.320 in 106 plate appearances before being released in June. Following his release, Byrd was suspended for 50 games for using a performance enhancing drug.
For the Mets, Byrd provides some badly-needed depth at the centerfield position. Kirk Nieuwenhuis is the projected starter their for New York, but the 25 year old rookie struggled in 2012, hitting .252/.315/.376 last season. The only other player currently on the Mets depth chart capable of playing center is Mike Baxter, but the 27 year old has just seven innings of experience there at the major league level.
By adding Byrd, the Mets have a reasonable line of defense should Nieuwenhuis fall to injury or struggle badly enough to need time at AAA. The team will still be on the look out for outfield help. GM Sandy Alderson told Marc Carig of Newsday, ""there are still a few options out there"