Voila_Capture514Reaction from local and nantional scriptuals on Ruben Amaro making his offseason priority the signing of a 36-year-old PED user.

Bob Brookover, Inquirer:

Sorry, [Byrd’s success with Pirates] doesn’t erase Byrd’s tainted history.

It doesn’t change the fact that he has played for five teams in the last five years, something that doesn’t happen to players who are truly coveted.

It doesn’t erase the 50-game suspension in 2012 when he tested positive for tamoxifen, a drug that counteracts one of the embarrassing side effects of steroid use: a condition known as gynecomastia in which a man’s breasts grow abnormally large.

It doesn’t wipe out his open affiliation with Victor Conte, the convicted felon who founded the Balco lab in Northern California. As recently as 2011, when Byrd was with the Chicago Cubs, commissioner Bud Selig talked about how that relationship disturbed him.

It seems suspicious that a guy who hit more than 12 home runs in a season once in his career would hit a career-high 24 at the age of 35, a year after being suspended for a banned substance. You’ll get the argument that he didn’t fail any drug tests last season, but neither did any of the players who were suspended as part of the Biogenesis scandal.

Rich Hoffman, Daily News:

In the last five seasons, there have been a total of 365 instances where a player aged 36 or older played in the major leagues.

Of those 365, do you want to know how many times one of those 36-pluses had the 502 plate appearances required to qualify for the batting title and also had an OPS of at least .800?


Ten out of 365.

The highest of cheeses, Daily News:

Do you believe Marlon Byrd?

Do you believe him when he swears he has never used performance enhancing drugs? Do you believe him when he says his use of the banned drug Tamoxifen, which resulted in a 50-game suspension in 2012, wasn’t to combat the side effects of steroids but to combat a condition called gynecomastia, caused by his loss of 35 pounds during the winter of 2011? Do you believe that said loss of weight innocently happened to occur after he signed a two-year, $12 million contract with the Cubs, nearly doubling his total career earnings up to that point? And do you believe that, after three consecutive seasons of declining power — a .479 slugging percentage in 2009 followed by .429 in 2010 followed by .395 in 2011 followed by .245 in 2012 — and after the expiration of that aforementioned contract, Byrd turned himself into an outfielder who hit 24 home runs with an .847 OPS without any illicit help? Do you believe that he turned a $700,000 contract with the Mets into a $16 million contract with the Phillies because he revamped his swing, started hitting more fly balls, and started seeing more of those fly balls leave the park?

Kevin Cooney, Courier Times:

However, it is fair to wonder whether that mindset is right. If they are in true “go for it” mode, why didn’t they just cough up the money and get Carlos Beltran — older and more expensive, but far more accomplished — instead of Byrd? Beltran may want three or four years, but why not offer him two years at $36 million — just to see if he bites at it? If it doesn’t work, he goes somewhere else and you can get Byrd at the same price but with more of a public understanding.

Better yet, wasn’t the idea of age one of the reasons why the club insisted on passing on Shane Victorino last year when he practically was begging to come back? Wasn’t financial prudence one of the hallmarks of why Hunter Pence was dealt in 2012? Both would have been more expensive, but there’s a reason for that: both are better than Marlon Byrd.

Keith Law, ESPN.com:

Byrd will play his two years for the Phillies at ages 36 and 37, well into the decline years for any hitter, and the time when even premium hitters see their chances of going over the cliff into irrelevance increase quickly. While Byrd had a 4-WAR season in 2013, it was built on a huge BABIP spike (.353) that was well out of line with his entire history in the majors (.325 career BABIP), and on him staying healthy for 140 games for just the third time in his career.

Others are somewhat bullish on Byrd.

Cliff Corcoran, USA Today:

Furthermore, the righthanded Byrd is a particularly good fit for the Phillies given their lefty-heavy lineup. Five of Philadelphia’s projected 2014 starters are lefthanded: Cody Asche, Domonic Brown, Ryan Howard, Ben Revere and Chase Utley, and switch-hitter Jimmy Rollins has had his struggles from the right side in recent seasons. Byrd is also at the same point in his career as Utley, Rollins and Howard, who will be 35, 35 and 34, respectively, next season, and his contract matches the duration of Utley’s extension and Rollins’ deal (the latter has a 2015 option that can vest if Rollins makes 434 plate appearances this season and does not finish the year on the disabled list). Because the Phillies plan to continue casting their lot with their homegrown trio, they could do worse than a cost-effective deal for a productive veteran player like Byrd.

Jim Salisbury, CSN Philly:

The Phils are not players for the top free-agent outfielders Shin-Soo Choo and Jacoby Ellsbury – both of whom are seeking $100 million deals – and the next tier of Nelson Cruz, Curtis Granderson and Carlos Beltran could all be headed for multiyear deals worth more than $15 million per season. Looking for shorter-term deals with fewer guaranteed years, the Phils landed on Byrd, who hit .291 and had 24 homers, 88 RBIs and a .511 slugging percentage (fifth-best in the NL) during a career year in 2013.

Chris Branch, Wilmington News Journal:

Despite the initial reaction, the addition of Byrd is not all negative. He is coming off a career season in which he hit .291 with 24 home runs and 88 RBIs. The homers and his .847 OPS are a career high; the RBIs are one off his career high of 89, which he achieved in 2009.


Oh, and easily the best Tweet on the matter: