The Cincinnati Reds have acquired outfielder Marlon Byrd from the Philadelphia Phillies in exchange for right-hander Ben Lively, the teams officially announced today.
The Reds had been close to a deal with the Phillies earlier this week, as FOX Sports' Jon Morosi reported, but it fell through at the last minute. Morosi noted at the time that a deal could be reworked. With an outfielder to go along with Jay Bruce and Billy Hamilton on the Reds' list of targets this offseason, they were able to get the deal done with Philadelphia.
The Phillies are continuing their overhaul of older veterans this offseason, with Jimmy Rollins and Antonio Bastardo already being dealt and with more, including perhaps Cole Hamels, on the way. The trade of Byrd was likely an easier one for GM Ruben Amaro Jr. and the front office, as he was not a part of the "core" that won them the 2008 World Series championship and was just brought on to the club last year.
Byrd, 36, enjoyed one of the best seasons of his career in 2014, hitting a career-high 25 home runs and hitting a slash line of .264/.312/.445 with 55 extra-base hits. Byrd posted a 109 weighted runs created plus last season, which means that his offensive production in terms of creating runs was nine percent better than the rest of the league, as adjusted to league and park factors.
According to defensive metrics, Byrd's defense in right field was above-average, as he was worth six defensive runs saved, while posting a 3.5 ultimate zone rating per 150 games. Byrd will likely play left with the Reds, which will move Skip Schumaker to a "super utility" position.
Reds' left fielders in 2014 posted a .233/.288/.339 line, so Byrd will serve as an immediate upgrade to the position. The Reds have been busy retooling their club this offseason, trading away Mat Latos and Alfredo Simon, but getting some higher-level prospects in return, some that could make a good contribution at the big league level. The Reds might just be able to contend for a Wild Card in 2015.
The Phillies will be receiving Ben Lively in return for Byrd. Lively, who was the Reds' 2014 Minor League Player of the Year, went 13-7 with a 3.04 ERA and a 171/52 strikeout to walk ratio in 151 innings pitched between High Single-A Bakersfield and Double-A Pensacola. Lively was drafted in the 4th round of the 2013 MLB Draft out of the University of Central Florida.