Why Signing a 36-Year-Old PED User to a Two-Year, $16 Million Deal is Colossally Idiotic

Voila_Capture516Multiple reports say Marlon Byrd’s deal is for two years, $16 million. This is why it makes no sense:

The Phillies need to get younger. They need to get more versatile. And they need to get away from free-swingers who strike out a lot.

Byrd is none of those things.

He’s 36 and will be 38 when the contract is up. He’s been very inconsistent throughout his career, with his best season coming this year, in a contract year, at ages 35 and 36, when he batted .291 with 24 home runs, 88 RBIs, a .511 slugging percentage and an .847 OPS. The home runs, slugging percentage and OPS were career highs for Byrd, just a year after he tested positive and was suspended for PEDs. [He took an estrogen blocker that prevents men from getting man titties after a steroid cycle, if we’re being blunt here.] If he tests positive again, it’s a 100-game suspension. To say that those things are a red flag is an understatement. Byrd’s career year at age 36 is the very definition of a red flag. He spent last winter in the Mexican winter leagues trying to impress MLB teams and then all of a sudden had a late-career power surge in a contract year? WHAT?! That’s not normal. Or sustainable.

But even if you take Byrd’s numbers at face value and assume that, magically, him having the best year of his career in his mid-30s after a positive PED test was just happenstance or hard work or good ol’ wily veteranism, that would fail to take into account the fact that he was the beneficiary of a huge amount of luck. His BABIP – average on balls put in play – in 2013 was .353, the highest of his career. I’m no SABR nerd, but if I was, I’d tell you that, almost without fail, a player’s BABIP will eventually regress to between .290 and .310. Byrd’s has always been high – for his career, it’s at .325 – but even for him, .353 is unattainable over the long-term. Plus, he struck out a career-high 144 times last season. He’s obviously swinging harder and more foolishly, and benefitting from some luck on the balls he does put into play. Last season was an eyebrow-raising anomaly, which just happened to come in a last-ditch effort for a final contract. RED FLAG. RED FLAG. RED FLAG.

If the Phillies were actually using their analytics intern, they would’ve know these things. Byrd is a HUGE risk, even at two years and $16 million. There’s no need to sign him this early in the offseason. He’s a fallback option, not option A! This is exactly the sort of thing a full-time analytics guy would’ve told the Phillies: Marlon Byrd doesn’t get on-base, he strikes out a lot, his career year at 36 after testing positive for PEDs is a red flag, his batting average (or, more precisely, his BABIP) is unsustainable, and HE’S 36 YEARS OLD– YOUR TEAM DOESN’T NEED MORE AGING PLAYERS IN ITS LINEUP, WHAT ARE YOU, DUMB?!

What’s worse is that Phillies beat reporters feel that this is Amaro’s answer to the right-handed outfielder woes.

Todd Zolecki:

The Phillies made finding a right-handed-hitting outfielder a priority this offseason.

It appears they found one.

Matt Gelb:

The Phillies craved a right-handed bat for their outfield, which was among the least productive units in all of baseball last season. Byrd comes full circle to provide that need; he was a 10th-round draft pick by the Phillies in 1999.

Ryan Lawrence:

Barring a trade, the Phillies would seem to have their outfield set with Byrd and All-Star Domonic Brown on the corners and Ben Revere in center field. By signing Byrd, the Phillies would appear to be unlikely to pursue the pricier bats on the free agent outfield market, including Carlos Beltran, Shin-Soo Choo, Jacoby Ellsbury, Curtis Granderson and Nelson Cruz.

Jim Salisbury:

Byrd is likely to play right field for the Phillies and bat in the middle of the order, probably behind Ryan Howard. The Phillies had been looking for a right-handed-hitting outfielder.

What Byrd’s signing means for Darin Ruf is unclear. He could stay with the team as a reserve outfielder/first baseman or become a trade candidate.

I have June 22 as the day Marlon Byrd plays his last game for the Phillies, either due to suspension or injury.

Oh, and now A.J. Pierzynski is their number one catching option?


I’m done.


28 Responses

  1. Ever notice that since Ed Wade came back, Ruben went full retard all of the sudden? Dude is a front office cancer

  2. This is another ridiculous signing in a long list of ridiculous signings for the worst GM in all of sports. Where the hell is Darrin Ruf going to play? I understand the right handed bat, but Ruf was fantastic last year. More BS from this poorly run team.

  3. Not having a story about kacie McDonnell blowing & fucking Aaron Murray is Colossally idiotic

    – didn’t roid head Byrd pile drive some chick in the vet parking lot back in the early 2000s? Wow he’s old. Another brilliant signing by that fat face fuck raf

  4. It’s a stop gap move, Carlos Beltran, Shin-Soo Choo, Jacoby Ellsbury, Curtis Granderson and Nelson Cruz. almost all of these other guys have injury history or PED and will command 2,3,4 times as much money & years.

    It also means that where not trading the farm for Stanton, hence getting younger in the years to come by keeping our prospects

    Dejesus 2yr 10mil this yr from Rays, & last years signings Melky 2 yrs 16mil, Gomes 2 years 10 years.. maybe a slight overpay but pretty much market value FA Deal

    1. It is all relative. Personally, I would not have gone after a starting OF and let Ruf battle it out with some non-roster invitees but, assuming you are going to add a starter, who else do you go after? All of the other available options come with just as much baggage (age, PEDs, inconsistent production…) with more years and money.

      To assert that the team wasn’t using analytics is ridiculous! There are only three FA OF with a higher WAR than Byrd. Ellsbury (I like him but not the salary he is going to command), Pence (signed with SF) and Choo (a better option but the salary is a concern). If you go with Beltran or Cruz, you’re paying for the name not the expected performance.

      It isn’t the worst signing ever, especially if it fills a need and allows you to go after some quality arms in the pen.

  5. This signing is the final reason my father and I wont be renewing our season tickets. Thanks Rube.

  6. Forget positions for a second, both of these players are very comparable.

    Player A is 36yo signs for a 2 years $16M has had 2 seasons of 20+HR and 80+HR and has PED issues in past.
    162 game career avg .280/.336/.425 14HR 69RBI 112K

    Player B is 34yo and signs for 2 years $16M has hit 16 HR and 68HR and has PED issues in the past.
    162 game career avg .274/.358/.412 11HR 66RBI 64K

    Player A is Byrd
    Player B is Ruiz

    Byrd is essentially replacing Ruiz’ spot in the lineup while offering more power and run production. If Phillies can sign a C to replicate Ruiz defense behind the plate like a Dioner Navarro the Phillies can add two pieces for cheap who should provide more production than their RF and C spots did last year. This is a small move but in ultimately improves the team.

    1. Ruiz is a catcher. Huge difference in what you expect from position. And I don’t think merely replacing Ruiz makes much sense either. He wasn’t good this year. You need better. And I’m highly skeptical that Byrd comes close to repeating last year.

      1. Ruiz also is a 6 or 7 hole hitter. What you expect from that spot, Byrd is an upgrade.

        If they can add a catcher for the 8th spot who plays solid defense and calls a good game this one is improves the club. These are small moves that don’t lock you into to terrible long term high money contacts.

    2. Kevin I’ve never commented before on CB but your logic is so mind-boggling that there’s a first time for everything. Has it occurred to you that whoever you sign “cheap” to replace Ruiz actually has to, you know, bat now and then? Navarro has a career OPS 100 points below Chooch and 160 below Ruf. How is a trade of Byrd + Navarro for Ruf+Ruiz an upgrade in any conceivable sense of the word?

  7. Where is Gillick?!?!!?!?!? Rube is completely fallen off the wagon. These are terrible decisions for a club that is DONE and requires a rebuild. Byrd makes sense at 1yr/7M IF AT ALL for backup.

    I like Ruf and think they are almost undervaluing him, the kid has POP and needs more experience and a full spring training may do it for his OF skills to improve and his bat to get better. he is MUCH younger, MUCH cheaper, and at this point YOUTH is what is needed on this team, not PED anomaly contract year stat OFs that didnt make it in Philly on their first try……WTF Rubey doobie do?!

  8. Guys, it’s ok. Reports are now surfacing that if the Phillies cannot re-sign Ruiz, they will focus on signing A.J. Pierzynski, who will be a youthful 37 at the beginning of the season. Brief recap, if they sign Pierzynski, the ages of the starting lineup on opening day will be: 30, 37, 34, 35, 35, 23, 26, 36, 25.

    1. Jesus Christ that is pathetic. ^^^^^^^

      I feel like the lady owner from the movie “Major League” would be a better option for this team right now.

  9. I think Kyle’s logic is simple, we got really old really fast if we sign Byrd and AJ (not that we weren’t old already). RAJ signing Byrd implies that he thinks we are one player away from another run at the world series. This couldn’t be further from the truth. We need to get younger and have a sustained group to compete in the future. An outfield of Ruf, Revere, Brown and younger 4th outfield is better for the future. RAJ knows this is his last chance at a job. They should have fired him before he had a chance to mess us up again. The sad thing is he is making the right moves with Ruiz and Halladay (we can still sign them, let them see what they are worth out there). If we lose Ruiz, we can find a stop gap until one of the younger guys is ready. Utley, Rollins, and Howard are getting old and one of them will be gone soon (I wish it is Howard but we know that won’t be the case) so we can do a complete rebuild in 2 years.

    1. If you are looking to rebuild in two years, doesn’t a reasonably priced two year contract make sense if you are not sold on Ruf being an everyday LF? It is obvious that the organization isn’t buying into Ruf so they were bound to do something and they did it on the cheap with minimal years. Fault them for selling Ruf short (I do) but, if they genuinely believe that they needed a starting OF, it’s tough to argue that there were better options out there.

  10. Nothing wrong with this signing…you compain about them getting old…yet are willing to give up a pick for Beltran, Choo or Cruz. He got 8 mill for 2 years. Cruz wants 5 years 75 mill and Beltran wants 3-4 years.

    Also, he put up those numbers last year after testing positive. One would think that testing is more stringent after testing positive. I’d say he’s fine with the PEDs.

    Typical over reaction

  11. The terms of this deal are not bad but if it’s the only significant move they make this offseason then fuck the desert and shoot him right here. Are they saving money for an above average starter? Are they packaging brown or ruf or revere with someone else for a bigger move? If that’s the thought process behind this signing then i’m cool.

  12. Is Amaro in early dementia or something? He keep signing these over the hill has beens – can we ever get someone who is under 30 for a change. I don’t expect much improvement from this team as long as he is GM.

  13. This signing isn’t that bad. $16m is nothing to the Phils. The deal is only for two years. We lose no prospects or draft picks. This is basically a move without risk for the Phils. Not sure what the carping is about.

  14. Tough to find right handed outfielders when you trade them away and they win a World Series. Victorino…Pence…

  15. Ruinin Tomorrow Jr strikes again. Can’t wait for the announcement of the return of Aaron Rowand next. What a joke this franchise has become.

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