Back in February, we asked you to predict the Mets’ Opening Day roster to see what you could come up with.
Here is what I had:
CF: Kirk Nieuwenhuis
2B: Daniel Murphy
3B: David Wright
1B: Ike Davis
LF: Lucas Duda
C: John Buck
RF: Marlon Byrd
SS: Ruben Tejada
With the exception of Valdespin getting the starting nod over Nieuwenhuis and Duda, Buck and Byrd swapping spots in the batting order, this writer did pretty darn well with this prediction. How well did you do?
It didn’t exactly take a rocket scientist to figure this one out, but there were a lot of people out there that wouldn’t give Byrd the benefit of the doubt and this is the prediction that one can show pride in.
When Alderson signed Byrd to a minor league deal at the beginning of February, it didn’t exactly light up the transaction pages of media outlets, nor did people even expect the 35-year old veteran to make the team.
The Mets had a crowded outfield of young players with potential to blossom on a rebuilding team and a veteran coming off of a season shortened due to a PED suspension didn’t look like a fit.
However, Byrd had a big spring hitting .346/.375/.558 with 1 HR and 7 RBI and won the starting job in right field.
He should provide veteran mentorship to youngsters such as Duda, Valdespin, Nieuwenhuis and Cowgill and still manages to play a decent enough outfield that Collins felt comfortable starting him, but will the Byrd move pay off for the Mets or should they have given the youngsters the necessary playing time needed to blossom?
This move seems like the right one in the interim, but don’t expect the Florida native to be in the same position all season long unless he absolutely tears the cover off the ball and puts the Mets in a position to win.
If Byrd is successful for the first half of the season leading up to the All-Star break and the Mets are a below average team record wise – which is expected – then the team is almost guaranteed to flip him for prospects. If he struggles, the playing time will be given to one of the previously mentioned youngsters in waiting.
This is an opportunity for Byrd to pass on his knowledge to some up and comers and keep his job as long as he can, but he’s simply a spot holder with mentor duties at this point in his career and this role seems to be one he should fill well.
The only way Byrd is wearing blue and orange come the end of 2013 is if he produces consistently all season long and the Mets have a winning record good enough to push them into the playoffs.
Both of these scenarios seem doubtful, but you never know what can happen in this whacky game that we call baseball.