A few years ago, Marlon Byrd was left for dead.
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On June 12, 2012, Byrd was released by the AL East-worst Red Sox after batting .210/.243/.245 between the Sox and the Cubs, another barrel-scraping club. Byrd spent the rest of the 2012 season on the sideline.
In the two years since, Byrd has gone from also-ran to a player coveted by teams with postseason aspirations. On Wednesday, Byrd was dealt from the Phillies to the Reds in exchange for right-hander Ben Lively.
The trade came after another strong season from the 37-year-old. On the heels of a 2013 season in which he batted .291/.336/.511 with 24 home runs and 88 RBI, Byrd hit .264/.312/.445 with 25 home runs and 85 RBI with the Phillies last year.
Reds general manager Walt Jocketty said Byrd's production in recent years was just one of the reasons the team singled him out as a target.
"We looked at all the possibilities of type of players we identified – guys who were going to provide run production and leadership," Jocketty said. "The one thing that kept coming back about Marlon Byrd was the way he played the game, the way he went about his business, his work ethic. We take a lot of stock in guys like that."
With the Reds, Byrd will fill a similar role to the one he played in Philadelphia, with potential for better numbers. The left fielder will bat in the middle of a lineup that includes talented offensive players such as Joey Votto, Jay Bruce, Devin Mesoraco and more. Byrd will also move from a homer-friendly park to one of the best parks for right-handed power hitters.
It's been a good few years for Byrd, and he'll look to continue that career rejuvenation in Cincinnati.
Braves Keep Dealing
The Braves continued to invest in young pitching potential, acquiring a former top prospect from the Yankees Thursday.
The Braves sent David Carpenter and prospect Chasen Shreve to the Yankees for Manny Banuelos, once a highly touted arm within the Yanks' system. Banuelos, still just 23 years old, was rated by Baseball America as high as the no. 29 prospect in baseball prior to the 2012 season.
Since that time, Banuelos has undergone Tommy John surgery and has struggled to regain his prior form since returning. The southpaw had a 4.11 ERA over 76 2/3 innings across three levels in the minor leagues this past season, his first game action since the surgery.
It continued a busy winter of acquiring up-and-coming pitchers for the Braves. They previously dealt Jason Heyward to the Cardinals for two high-upside arms, including Shelby Miller, and more recently they traded Justin Upton to the Padres for a package headlined by former first-round pick Max Fried. Along with Julio Teheran, Alex Wood, Lucas Sims and others, the Braves are stockpiling young talent in hopes of returning to contention soon.
In Carpenter, the Yankees get another arm for the new-look bullpen they'll field in 2015. Carpenter had a 3.54 ERA and 67/16 K/BB ratio over 61 innings this past season, saving three games. He likely won't close games in New York -- Dellin Betances and newly acquired Andrew Miller remain the odds-on favorites for that distinction -- but Carpenter will provide late-inning depth along with another newcomer, Justin Wilson, and holdover Adam Warren.
M's Add Seth Smith
Not content with adding Upton to an already revamped club, the Padres made another deal to alter the look of their team this week.
In Seattle, Smith will likely platoon with Justin Ruggiano in right field, taking over for the departed Michael Saunders. This past season, Smith enjoyed his best year since leaving the Rockies after the 2011 season, batting .266/.367/.440 with 12 home runs in 136 games. Smith enjoyed much of his success against right-handers, posting an .815 OPS against righties last year.
Maurer, 24, appeared in 38 games for the Mariners this past season, including seven starts. He owned a 4.65 ERA on the year, but over 37 1/3 innings of relief the right-hander owned a 2.17 ERA and 38/5 K/BB ratio. Padres general manager A.J. Preller wouldn't rule out the club viewing Maurer as a starter despite his success as a reliever.
Quick Hits: Despite an expensive payroll, the Tigers haven't ruled out re-signing Max Scherzer. With a number of suitors and a high asking price, Scherzer could come close to earning $200 million when he does sign ... The Rays signed Asdrubal Cabrera to a one-year deal, increasing the likelihood that Ben Zobrist gets dealt this winter. The 33-year-old can play a number of positions and will likely draw interest from multiple teams ... The Orioles have emerged as a primary suitor for Colby Rasmus. Orioles manager Buck Showalter is scheduled to meet with Rasmus in the coming days, and he's reportedly the team's sole focus ... The Rockies have agreed to sign Nick Hundley to a two-year deal worth more than $6 million. Despite adding a catcher, the Rox won't trade incumbent starter Wilin Rosario unless they are blown away by an offer ... The Phillies are kicking the tires on Aaron Harang. The right-hander had a 3.57 ERA over 204 1/3 innings and could eat innings for the Phils as they go through a rebuild ... The Cubs signed Chris Denorfia to a one-year contract. He'll be a veteran presence and part-time player for the young club ... The Dodgers finalized their one-year, $10 million deal with Brett Anderson, designating infielder Erisbel Arruebarrena for assignment to make room on the 40-man roster. Anderson could make an additional $4 million in incentives and makes for a nice gamble for the Dodgers.