Glanville Likes Byrd's Versatility

November 17, 2103

by Staff Writer Donald Hunt 

Doug Glanville has known Marlon Byrd a long time.

Glanville, a baseball analyst for ESPN, played with Byrd during his early days with the Philadelphia Phillies. Byrd, 36, was originally selected by the Phillies in the 10th round of the 1999 draft and will be returning to the Phillies.

The Phillies signed the outfielder to a two-year, $16 million contract. Glanville, a former Phillies standout from the University of Pennsylvania, feels Byrd gives the team a valuable and dependable veteran with plenty of experience who can be a big addition to their outfield.

“I sent him a text welcoming him back,” Glanville said. “He sounded pretty excited and that’s good. I know his family is from [New] Jersey. So, I think he’s excited and that’s good. He’s proven to be a very versatile asset. His ability to pretty much play anywhere, any time or any situation from postseason to platoon to playing every day. His versatility is very helpful. You can place him in wherever you need him or whatever position. He can handle it.”

Byrd hit .291 with 35 doubles, 24 home runs and 88 RBI in 147 combined games for the New York Mets and Pittsburgh Pirates this past season. He ranked fifth in the National League in slugging percentage (.511), tied for sixth in extra-base hits (64), tied for ninth in total bases (272) and finished 10th in RBI. Against left-handed pitching, Byrd hit .344, fifth-best in the NL, with a .583 slugging percentage and with runners in scoring position he batted .301. He made 129 starts in right field and two in each in left field and center field and had 10 outfield assists, which ranked ninth in the NL.

This move certainly gives the Phillies some depth in the outfield. The team has Ben Revere in center and Domonic Brown in the left field. Darin Ruf played mostly in right field. They also have outfielder John Mayberry Jr.

“He played a lot of rightfield,” Glanville said. “He can play anywhere. He can move to another position or wherever you need him. He has shown that he can produce all over the field. He gives them a lot of choices in the outfield. if you have injuries, he’ll be a guy you can plug in wherever. He’s not going to walk, but he’s going to make contact. When he does make contact, he’s been consistent. He’s just a solid veteran.”

Ruben Amaro, Jr., Phillies general manager, feels Byrd will help the Phillies at the plate and in the field.

“Marlon adds a significant upgrade both offensively and defensively to our outfield,” Amaro said in a statement. “He has been particularly productive against left-handed pitching which was a serious challenge for us this past season. He is an experienced middle-of-the-order hitter who creates some balance to our lineup. With his talent and clubhouse presence, we believe Marlon will be a solid addition to our club as we address our needs and plan to contend in 2014 and beyond.”

Byrd is a career .280 hitter with 252 doubles, 106 home runs and 533 RBI in 1,250 games. He played for the Phillies from 2002 to 2005. Since then, he has moved a lot, playing for the Washington Nationals (2005-06), Texas Rangers (2007-09), Chicago Cubs (2010-12), Boston Red Sox (2012), Mets and Pirates.

In 2012, Byrd served a 50-game suspension for performance enhancing drugs. He has since gotten back to playing well.

He played for Culiacan in the Mexican Pacific League and hit .318 with 16 home runs and 46 RBI in 57 games before signing a minor league contract with the Mets with an invitation to spring training.

“There’s no doubt that was a setback for him,” Glanville said. “He went down to winter ball and that’s not an easy thing to do for an established major leaguer. He’s paid a lot of dues. He’s been through a lot of things. He wanted to earn something back. He’s come a long way.”

Byrd’s hard work and experience could give the Phillies a big lift.

Republished from

Photo Credit: AP PHOTO/FILE


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