UPDATE: The Pirates have acquired Byrd, catcher John Buck and cash considerations for infielder Dilson Herrera and a player to be named later.
Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reports that Marlon Byrd has been claimed on waivers by an unknown team, and that the New York Mets could try and trade him. Yesterday we heard a similar report on Kendrys Morales. The difference here is that Byrd is in the NL, which means he only has to pass about 12-13 teams to get to the Pirates. Heyman says that sources suggest an NL team made the claim.
It seems that the two teams most likely to claim Byrd are the Reds and Pirates. The Reds would have priority, so the Pirates would need Cincinnati to pass on Byrd to get a shot. Byrd is only under control through the 2013 season, so he’d only be appealing to a contender.
Joel Sherman also theorizes that the Pirates could be interested in John Buck as a backup to Russell Martin.
— Joel Sherman (@Joelsherman1) August 27, 2013
This could be possible, although they have Tony Sanchez as the backup, and Kelly Shoppach as the third catcher. All of the catchers share the same strong ability to call a game and frame pitches. Buck hasn’t rated highly in that last regard, so it doesn’t seem like he fits in with what the Pirates go for. I think Marlon Byrd is more likely, although again, that depends on the Reds passing on him.
Byrd currently has a .285/.330/.518 line in 425 at-bats this year, with 21 homers. He has been crushing lefties, with a .980 OPS, compared to a .783 OPS against right-handers. Jose Tabata has been having a great month, with a .308/.375/.492 line in 65 at-bats. He’s not really putting up any platoon splits on the season, with a .738 OPS against right-handers, and a .757 OPS against left-handers. Byrd would be an upgrade, and the bench would be stronger with Tabata. Or, if Starling Marte misses more time, Byrd would be a strong replacement, with Tabata staying as the starter in right field.
But first the Pirates have to be the team that wins the claim on Byrd, and then the Mets would have to trade him. No word yet on that first part, but I’ll update this when the claiming team is known.