The Philadelphia Phillies have reached agreement on a two-year contract with outfielder Marlon Byrd, in a move first reported by Michael Barkann of CSNPhilly.com. According to Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com, the deal is worth $16 million and is pending a physical.
The Phillies have been known to be looking for a right-handed outfield bat, and Byrd fits the bill perfectly. The team was also expected to pursue options like Michael Morse and Nelson Cruz, but the addition of Byrd likely takes them out of the race for those players.
Byrd, 36, posted a career year in 2013, hitting .291 with 24 HR and 88 RBI in 147 games between the Mets and Pirates. He was traded to Pittsburgh along with John Buck in late August, and posted a .318 average with 3 HR and 17 RBI in 30 September games en route to the team's first playoff berth since 1992.
Byrd, who was drafted by Philadelphia in the 10th round of the 1999 draft, returns to the team after eight years elsewhere. In parts of four seasons with the Phillies from 2002-2005, the outfielder hit .271 with 13 HR and 79 RBI before being traded to the Nationals in May 2005. He has spent time over the past nine seasons with the Nationals, Rangers, Cubs, Red Sox, Mets and Pirates, posting a career average of .280 with 106 HR and 533 RBI while manning all three outfield positions.
In addition to the Phillies, Byrd was also reportedly drawing interest from the Mariners, Mets and Pirates on the free agent market. New York traded him with the possibility of a winter reunion still lingering, and Pittsburgh likely wanted to retain the offensive production that he provided in September.
With Byrd in hand, the Phillies will soon turn their attention to the many other positions they are looking to fill this offseason. They are known to be prioritizing the catcher position, and are not willing to wait for an answer from Carlos Ruiz before looking for other options. A source confirms that Ruiz currently has multiple offers, and reports indicate that the Rockies and Phillies are among the most interested teams. In addition, the Phillies could target players like Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Brian McCann or Dioner Navarro as alternate catching options.
The team is looking to make upgrades all over the diamond, and has been linked to many free agents. The team's targets reportedly include Carlos Beltran, Bronson Arroyo, Franklin Gutierrez, Curtis Granderson, Joaquin Benoit, Joe Smith and Rajai Davis.
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