Phillies outfielder Marlon Byrd's latest possible destination is New York. CBS Sports' Jon Heyman reports that the Yankees, a team that doesn't appear on Byrd's no-trade clause, have inquired about the power-hitting outfielder, though a deal isn't close yet.
The Yankees, losers of four of their last five games, have struggled with offensive inconsistency this season, ranking 16th in the majors in runs and OPS. The outfield has actually been one of the team's stronger points, with Brett Gardner, Jacoby Ellsbury and Ichiro Suzuki patrolling the Yankee Stadium grass, but the lack of outfield depth and power, along with Ichiro's age, makes the addition of a solid outfield bat one of the team's top priorities.
Byrd, who played 117 games for the Mets in 2013, is slashing .273/.321/.482 with 20 homers and 60 RBI this season. He'll make $8 million this season and next, and he has a vesting option (also worth $8 million) for 2016 that comes into play if he accumulates 600 plate appearances in 2015 or 550 plate appearances that year and a total of 1100 in 2014 and 2015. If neither of those situations occur, the vesting option then becomes a team option.
Translation: Byrd has an excellent chance of being locked up through the 2016 season, and if he continues to produce like he has this season, that figure could look like a bargain, especially for a Yankees team with such a big chunk of its payroll committed to players like Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira, CC Sabathia, Masahiro Tanaka and Jacoby Ellsbury.
The concern is that Byrd turns 37 in August, though that hasn't stopped the Yankees in the past. General manager Brian Cashman has dolled out bigger bucks for aging players, and he's also under some pressure to make a big move on Thursday before the non-waiver deadline because of the Yankees' spot in the AL East standings. With a 55-52 record, the team stands 5.5 games back of the division-leading Orioles and three games behind the Blue Jays, who currently hold the second wild card spot.