Over the winter, the Phillies jumped all over the free agent outfielder market and surprised everyone by making the 36-year-old Marlon Byrd the first outfielder off the board, with a two-year, $16 million deal with an $8 million vesting option for 2016 that has a solid chance of coming to fruition.
Byrd had been coming off a solid season for the Mets and Pirates in which he posted an fWAR of 4.1 and a bWAR of 5.1, slashing .291/.336/.511, with 24 HRs and a wRC+ of 137. It was the best offensive season of his career, and it happened at age 35, so most, including myself, assumed he was due for a regression.
As it turns out, Byrd turned out to be a decent addition to the Phils.
Byrd posted an fWAR of 1.9 (they hated his defense) with a bWAR of 2.6 (they liked it a bit better), with a slash line of .264/.312/.445 with 25 HRs, 85 RBIs, and a wRC+ of 109. It wasn't as good as the year before, but he did lead the team in homers, and finished tied for second among qualified NL right fielders with those 25 bombs. His 85 RBIs were third-best among NL right fielders as well.
But Byrd was also among the league leaders in some not-so-great categories, too. He was third in the National League in strikeout percentage (29.0%), trailing just B.J. Upton and teammate Ryan Howard. He also had the second-most strikeouts among all National Leaguers (185), five shy of league leader and teammate Howard, who had 190.
Anyway, it was a largely successful season for a 36-year-old outfielder, who must now face the always-tough TGP Exit Interview.
If I had traded you midseason, would the team have done better or worse?
Well, you wouldn't have won more games, because I'm Marlon Byrd and I'm the only one who hits home runs on your team. That being said, if you wanted to get some young talent to help you with the winning team that I will most certainly not be a part of, then yes, you would have done better.
I still don't understand how you weren't able to trade me at the deadline. Were people really offering you crap for me? Or were they scared of paying a 39-year-old outfielder $8 million in 2016? Or, did you maybe think we still had a shot at the playoffs? Either way, I don't get it, man.
All my options are open for next year. Should I trade you, release you, or keep you?
Uh, really? Look, unless you absolutely HAVE to have me in order to win 75 games next year, you unload me and my salary and try to get something reasonably useful in return. I know my strikeouts and limited defense in right field aren't ideal, but geez man, I'm going to play most of next season at 37 years old. I'm TIRED out there, man!
Do you think you will be part of the next great Phillies team?
I'M THIRTY-SEVEN YEARS OLD.
Overall, explain to me how your time with the Philadelphia Phillies has been the highlight of your life.
Well, you guys drafted me, raised me, and gave me my first taste of the big leagues. I spent parts of four seasons here, and I obviously liked it here well enough to want to come back. I honestly want to retire a Phillie, but I know that may not be possible. But I can honestly say that coming back to Philly was what I truly wanted, and I really don't want to leave.
On a scale of 1-0, with 10 being the worst, how do you rate on the "it's my fault we're in this freaking mess and finished in last place" scale?"
I would say about a 3. I was the only guy hitting the ball out of the ballpark for a while there, although I did kind of fall off the face of the earth in September. Still, my defense wasn't as bad as the metrics would indicate, I didn't get arrested for anything, and although I struck out a lot, I did provide you with a little bit of pop from the right side of the plate.
In other words, I did my job. It's not my fault the guy in the other corner outfield spot was as useless as hen poop on a pump handle.