As baseball’s trade season heats up, Marlon Byrd will be connected to any team looking for a bat.
The Phillies’ rightfielder is having an excellent season. He leads the team in homers (18) and slugging (.481) and is second in RBIs (52).
Byrd has been down this road before. He was traded from the Mets to the Pirates for the stretch drive last season and helped Pittsburgh get to the postseason before signing a two-year, $16 million deal with the Phillies in November.
Unlike teammate Jonathan Papelbon, Byrd is not eager to move on from the Phillies.
“I don’t want to get traded,” he said Thursday in Milwaukee. “I signed a two-year deal here for a reason. The thought process was to retire as a Phillie. At the same time, this is a business and I know how it works. If trading me makes the organization better, I have to go with it.”
Byrd has some control over where he could be traded, though not as much control as Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley, who have full no-trade rights, and not as much as Papelbon, Cole Hamels and Cliff Lee, who all can block deals to more than half the teams in baseball. Note: Papelbon says his no-trade clause (he can block deals to 17 teams) will not get in the way of his moving to a contender.
Byrd’s contract allows him to block deals to four teams. He revealed to CSNPhilly.com that those teams are Seattle, Kansas City, Toronto and Tampa Bay.
Interestingly, two of those teams -- Seattle and Kansas City -- are on the prowl for a hitter. Multiple baseball sources say the Mariners have had Byrd in their sights.
Are the Mariners wasting their time monitoring Byrd’s availability?
Byrd said he does not view his no-trade clause as ironclad. He would consider a trade to any of the teams on his list if the Phillies asked him to.
“There would have to be a conversation with me, my agent and Ruben (Amaro Jr., the Phillies’ GM) if it gets to that point,” Byrd said.
Byrd, who turns 37 in August, said he put Toronto and Tampa Bay on his no-trade list because they play on artificial turf and that can sometimes be tough on the body of an older player. Byrd has a third-year option for $8 million on his contract and would be 39 at the tail end of that year if the option kicks in with 600 plate appearances in 2015.
As for Seattle and Kansas City being on his no-trade clause, Byrd said: “Those really are things that were just put on at the time being.”