Marlon Byrd has had his issues. He acknowledges that. However, the busted PED-user also has talent. The New York Mets signed him to a deal that will allow him to compete for a spot during the spring, but he may be competing for more than a bench role. Byrd could be fighting for the starting right field job.
Kevin Burkhardt of SNY says the Mets have been watching Byrd and manager Terry Collins thinks the veteran outfielder could land the team's starting RF job. He will have to outwork the rest of the pack during spring training, and he will have to stay healthy, but the possibility is there, which is more than Byrd could have expected shortly after being suspended for PED use.
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Byrd spent much of last season serving his suspension and looking for work. The Boston Red Sox released him in June. Shortly after that, he was hit with a 50-game suspension for a positive drug test. Prior to his time with the Red Sox, Byrd spent two and a half seasons with the Chicago Cubs. He had his biggest impact while as a member of the Texas Rangers. The 35-year old has played for five different teams in his 11-year career. The Mets will make his sixth team.
Byrd is a .278/.336/.413 hitter. He has shown flashes of brilliance almost as often as he has frustrated teams and managers with his poor play. Byrd finished fourth in Rookie of the Year voting back in 2003. He made his lone All-Star appearance in 2010 while playing with the Cubs.
Byrd was signed to a minor league deal with the Mets, so there is no guarantee he even breaks camp with the Major League team. However, Terry Collins' endorsement should go a long way. Byrd could certainly help the Mets if he is Texas self (.295/.352/.468) instead of his Washington Nationals self (.245/.318/.366). Spring will give Byrd the chance to prove what he has left.