The Orioles are out there looking for an outfielder. There are a lot of outfielders all over the place. Whether they're available as free agents or in trade, and whether the Orioles want to pay their prices, well, that's the real question. The O's met with the Phillies on Tuesday to discuss outfielder Marlon Byrd, according to Ken Rosenthal.
As usual, offseason rumors raise more questions than they answer. We don't know how interested the O's really are in Byrd, what the Phillies might want to get in return, or even whether they had much of a discussion about a trade after all. If an Orioles executive sat down with a Phillies executive to talk about Phillies GM Ruben Amaro's bizarre fascination with old players and they shot the breeze about Byrd, who's 37, that would count as a discussion about Byrd even if it was never a trade discussion.
For an older player, Byrd didn't do too bad for himself last year. He batted .264/.314/.445 in his age 36 season, playing in 154 games. That on-base percentage isn't inspiring, but 25 home runs are nice. Byrd also doesn't come with much in the way of platoon splits: against lefties last year, he had a .773 OPS, while against righties, he had a. 751 OPS. His home and road numbers are similar as well.
Defensively, Byrd is less of a liability than you'd expect for an older player, at least as far as the publicly-available metrics are concerned. Byrd was actually a positive in the field in 2014: +6 runs by Defensive Runs Saved, with four of those runs coming from the strength of his arm.
Byrd's contract calls for him to receive $8 million in 2015. There is a vesting option for 2016 that would also be $8 million which Byrd will reach if he hits 550 plate appearances in 2015. He's exceeded that number of PA in each of the last two seasons. If he hits the target, his contract will not expire until he is 39 years old. There are better options out there, and worse options also.
What's that worth to Philadelphia? If the price is right, perhaps a trade will happen. The price probably won't be right. Remember the law of offseason rumors: Probably nothing will happen. It might, though.