By Harry Page-Salisbury
Special to 710Sports.com
The Mariners are woefully lacking in power, that much is certain. Slugging only .374 this year, Seattle is 12th out of 15 American League teams, and their OPS (on-base plus slugging percentage) ranks even worse at 14th (.674).
With the Phillies likely out of the playoff picture, soon-to-be free agent outfielder Marlon Byrd would be a viable trade target for the M’s. (AP)
One way the Mariners can boost their lineup’s pop is in the trade market, and as Fangraphs managing editor Dave Cameron suggested to 710 ESPN Seattle’s “Brock and Danny,” Phillies outfielder Marlon Byrd could be a solution.
A career .279 hitter with an OPS of .762, Byrd is hitting .269 this year with eight home runs already — the same amount of homers hit by the Mariners usual starting outfield of Dustin Ackley, James Jones and Michael Saunders. Byrd also has 17 doubles, only two fewer than the outfield trio has combined for.
Byrd is an appealing trade target not only because he would be the Mariners’ second-leading home run hitter upon joining (Kyle Seager leads with nine), but also because he fits the mold of a powerful outfielder that the team lacks.
While discussing the importance of adding a bat, Cameron identified the outfield as the make or break group for the Mariners’ season.
“The driver of this team is the outfield. The Mariners outfield has the potential to be one of the worst in baseball,” said Cameron. “If your outfield is Ackley, Jones and Saunders, that’s weaker than almost any contender in baseball. I think the Mariners need outfielders.”
Cameron pointed to Philadelphia as a willing trade partner because they’re unlikely to be in contention come fall, and Byrd’s $8 million contract is up after this season.