As the days go by, the trade market for a right-handed bat gets more barren, as Alfonso Soriano is now off the market and looks to be headed to the New York Yankees. While the trade has yet to be reported as finalized, an odd turn of events have led to former Ranger Julio Borbon essentially breaking the news to the world that Soriano is gone.
Alfonso Soriano: one of the best teammates I've ever had, class act and leader, learned a lot from him in our short time playing together— Julio Borbón (@JulioBorbon20) July 26, 2013
Will definitely miss him and wish him the best of luck the rest of his career! It was an honor to have played next to him!— Julio Borbón (@JulioBorbon20) July 26, 2013
While I never really expected the Rangers to pursue Soriano, his removal from the trade market only makes the pool of players the Rangers could be looking at a little bit smaller.
There have been rumors of the Rangers looking into Hunter Pence, Alex Rios, and even Adam Dunn. Dunn is the one that makes me sick to my stomach to think about, as the last thing the Rangers need is a strikeout machine in the middle of the lineup. He'll pop some home runs, sure, but beyond that, I'm not sure he helps the Rangers much.
Many fans love the idea of Hunter Pence, one in which I'm not as excited about as most. That isn't to say Pence couldn't do some good for the Rangers, only that I don't feel he's the best option. I feel he's the second best option, and the guy I have at the top of my "want" list, if you will, is someone I haven't seen people really talking about.
Marlon Byrd is playing on a one-year deal for the New York Mets. The Mets aren't going anywhere this season, but with young pitching and some piece in place, they look to finally be building something to look forward to. Byrd does have the prior PED suspension on his resume, but he was a solid player while he was in Texas, and he's having a solid season in New York playing most of his games at pitcher-friendly Citi Field.
On the season, Marlon Byrd is hitting .282/.326/.518 (with 17 home runs) for an OPS of .844. For reference, that's even higher than the OPS for Nelson Cruz (.832) in the case that Cruz gets suspended this season. Byrd has logged 128 plate appearances against left-handers and 207 against right-handers, working a 142 wRC+ against the left-handers and a 126 wRC+ against the right-handers.
Furthermore, he's an outfielder that the Rangers could use in any of those spots, or at DH if they so choose. He's been a plus outfielder for most of his career, and has 9 defensive runs saved (DRS) this season as well as a UZR/150 of 6.0, rating him above-average defensively.
If you're into win probability statistics, even those numbers show that Marlon Byrd has given his team a better chance to win, as he's performed above the average as far as rune expectancy is concerned. His RE24 -- which is the aggregate total of the difference between run expectancy totals before and after each of his plate appearances, or put differently, runs above average based on the 24 base/out states -- sits at 11.99. In other words, over the course of the 2013 season, the Mets have seen an increased run expectancy of almost 12 runs as a result of Marlon Byrd.
With all of that said, there has been no real indication that Byrd is on the market, but it would surprise me if the New York Mets aren't at least taking phone calls and listening to offers. During his time in Texas, Marlon Byrd was a fan-favorite for many, and seemed to fit well in the clubhouse. He would also offer the flexibility of being able to play any spot in the outfield on any given day, or assuming DH duties if called upon. He would be another rental-type player, but one of the few that I think could help this Texas Rangers ballclub quite a bit.
If the Rangers were somehow able to manage a trade for Byrd and another piece like Rios or Pence, it'd be even sweeter, but if Jon Daniels has to pursue one hitter that might be available on the market, I'd take Marlon Byrd. Besides, we already know he looks good in Rangers blue.