“I’ve talked to Sandy, I told him thank you for the opportunity at the beginning of the year and thank you for the opportunity to play for a winner,” Byrd said of his conversation with the Mets general manager. “I told him, ‘If you want me back, I would love to come back,’.”
Byrd repeated to Ackert the same sentiments he shared with us when we interviewed him, and that he is very grateful to the Mets organization for taking a chance on him. “I just needed someone to take a chance on me,” Byrd said.
Surprisingly, Byrd had a great comeback season after hitting rock bottom and serving a 50-game suspension for using performance enhancing drugs in 2012. Byrd immediately apologized when the results came back positive and served out his suspension while focusing on a strength and conditioning program with a return to the game clearly in his sights.
He batted .291/.336/.531 this season with a career-high 24 home runs, 35 doubles, 79 runs scored and and 88 RBI for the bargain price of $1 million dollars.
Jon Heyman of CBS Sports called Byrd one of the best free agent signings of last offseason.
He is clearly deserving of the NL Comeback Player of the Year award, but it’s very likely that Francisco Liriano will get the nod.
“No questions asked, I loved my time there,” Byrd said. “I loved the staff, I loved the players, I loved the city. There is not one negative thing I could say about the organization.”
I wouldn’t mind having Byrd back as long as it’s in a utility outfield role. It would be illogical to think that at 37, he’d be able to repeat the numbers he put up in 2013. I would expect a 20% regression which would still be fine from a fourth or fifth outfielder and a bat of the bench.
Overall, I thought Byrd was a great presence in the clubhouse and served as a good mentor for some of our younger players. He was certainly one of Sandy Alderson’s best major league additions as GM.