Need for power led Amaro to Marlon Byrd

Need for power led Amaro to Marlon Byrd

November 12, 2013, 6:45 pm
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Marlon Byrd hit 24 home runs last season and drove in 88 runs. (USA Today Images)

ORLANDO, Fla. -- The Phillies hope to have their agreement with outfielder Marlon Byrd finalized sometime Tuesday night (UPDATE, 8:47 p.m. — it's official), a person with knowledge of the situation said. Byrd’s two-year, $16 million contract is contingent on his passing a physical exam (see story).

Barring another move, Byrd lines up to play right field with Ben Revere in center and Domonic Brown in left.

Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. would not comment of the agreement with Byrd, nor would he use the player’s name during an interview Tuesday at the general managers’ meetings.

But, in a roundabout way, Amaro indicated that he’d be comfortable with an outfield that included those three players.

“Yes, I would,” he said. “Much more comfortable than I was in the past.”

Adding some offensive pop to the outfield was one of Amaro’s offseason goals as the Phils’ ranked below the league average with 140 home runs and a .384 slugging percentage in 2013.

“There’s not a lot of power out there, it’s pretty simple,” Amaro said. “It’s difficult to develop and it’s difficult to hold on to. Power is an issue and if our club can add some, that would be great.”

The Phils are not players for the top free-agent outfielders Shin-Soo Choo and Jacoby Ellsbury -- both of whom are seeking $100 million deals -- and the next tier of Nelson Cruz, Curtis Granderson and Carlos Beltran could all be headed for multiyear deals worth more than $15 million per season. Looking for shorter-term deals with fewer guaranteed years, the Phils landed on Byrd, who hit .291 and had 24 homers, 88 RBIs and a .511 slugging percentage (fifth-best in the NL) during a career year in 2013.

“We’re just looking for the best bang for our buck,” Amaro said. “We have a lot of holes to fill. We won’t be able to fill them all from outside, but we’re trying to get the best value we possibly can.”

The addition of Byrd could lead to Darin Ruf being used in a trade. Ruf could also stay as a backup outfielder and first baseman. John Mayberry Jr.’s status is up in the air, but Amaro said the Phillies intend to offer Mayberry a contract by the Dec. 2 deadline. Mayberry is eligible for salary arbitration.

“We haven’t made any decisions,” Amaro said. “But I view Mayberry as being tendered a contract.”