The Seattle Mariners have been linked to just about every bat on the trade market, and even some that may or may not be truly available. One of those is Philadelphia Phillies outfielder Marlon Byrd. According to numerous reports including Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com, Byrd has four teams on his no-trade list, including the Mariners. Kansas City, Toronto and Tampa are the other three.
The Mariners and Phillies clearly have had conversations regarding the 36-year-old and one source indicates what amounts to a standing offer. Details of the offer were not disclosed but names that include right-handers Brandon Maurer and Erasmo Ramirez, as well as outfield prospects Austin Wilson and Gabriel Guerrero are believed to be among the names discussed.
It’s likely to take two young players to land Byrd, but to sweeten the deal for the acquiring team the Phillies have given indications they’re willing to chip in some cash to help cover Byrd’s salary. He’s guaranteed another $2.6 million or so in 2014 and $8 million next season.
The rub is about Byrd’s no-trade clause and what it may take to get him to waive it. His contract calls for a club option for 2016 at yet another $8 million. That option vests if Byrd reaches 550 plate appearances in 2015 or 1,100 combined this year and next. He’ll turn 37 in August which mean’s he will be 38 years old when the ’16 season begins.
That’s quite the risk on an aging player expected to play a corner outfield spot in the spacious pastures of Safeco Field.
A return of Maurer or Ramirez plus Guerrero or Wilson also is pretty steep. How much cash the Phillies are willing to include could be the deciding factor. The general belief is that Philadelphia already has suggested somewhere north of $5 million, which covers Byrd’s salary this season and about 40 percent of next year’s. The problem is that option year.
There is absolutely no scenario where guaranteeing $8 million on Byrd for 2016 makes sense if the entire dollar amount is being covered by the acquiring team. That scenario is worsened by the apparent cost.
If Phillies GM Ruben Amaro, Jr. comes down on the asking price and/or adds more cash into the package, the two sides may strike a deal.
The Mariners have added $4.5 million in payroll by acquiring Kendrys Morales. They have the funds to go even further, but whether or not they are willing to dance on their future payroll to such great lengths is unknown, and not a soul could blame them if they passed.
Byrd is a solid player and would help the M’s this season, and probably next, too. But there’s a chance he regresses in 2015 and it’s unlikely in the first place that he’s worth the $8 million salary — and if he falters in the shadows of Safeco Field, he may not even earn the dollars Seattle would be paying — about $4.5 million. The chance he’s a value in 2016 are slim, which makes a deal under the current parameters extremely unlikely.
As reported by FOXSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal, The Mariners are one of the 3-5 clubs that inquired about Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp, who wants to play center field.
Rosenthal says talks did not get very far, which is no surprise considering Kemp’s contract — $7.5 million for the remainder of 2014 with an addition $107 million due over the ensuing five seasons — and his desire to man the middle of the outfield. He hasn’t been good in center, really ever, but he’s been bad since injuries began to impact his play, and it’s not like he’s an MVP caliber bat right now …
The M’s continue to scour for starting pitching, too, despite James Paxton making progress toward a return and the precent performances of Roenis Elias and Erasmo Ramirez. Among the names being linked to Seattle include right-handers Edwin Jackson of the Chicago Cubs and John Lackey of the Boston Red Sox, and southpaws Jorge de la Rosa of the Colorado Rockies and Tampa’s David Price.
The Rays have made it clear that they will not make any decisions on any of their players until the day before the deadline at the soonest, making Price a longer shot than he was with which to begin, and Lackey isn’t likely to be moved barring a significant trade offer since he will earn the league minimum next season for a club in Boston that will be retooling and reloading, not rebuilding.
Chicago White Sox lefty John Danks also has been mentioned as a possibility, as has Cleveland Indians righty Justin Masterson, Minnesota’s Phil Hughes and Bartolo Colon of the New York Mets. The Mets, reports Andy Martino of the New York Daily News, would be willing to chip in around $2 million on the $14 million or so left on Colon’s two-year contract that runs through next season. Many consider the 41-year-old to be a fallback option to those in the running for Price, Philadelphia Phillies lefty Cliff Lee and Ian Kennedy of the San Diego Padres.
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