Mets 101's Seven in Seven series returns in 2014 as our gift to you. Each week, the Mets 101 staff will begin a countdown of something related to the New York Mets ( i.e. best third baseman, worst defeat, etc.). We will begin our countdown on Tuesdays with the number seven and work all the way to number one. Inspired by the current free agent market, this week’s countdown looks at the best Mets signings under $1 Million since 2000. Today we continue the countdown with outfielder Marlon Byrd.
#3 – OF Marlon Byrd
It looked like Marlon Byrd's MLB career was over, when on June 25, 2012, the veteran outfielder tested positive for a banned substance and was suspended for 50 games as a first-time offender. Having been released by the Boston Red Sox just about two weeks before, it seemed that would be the last we'd see of the 34-year old.The following winter however, once the suspension had been served in full, the New York Mets came calling. Cash conscious and searching for offensive help, the Mets signed Byrd to a no-risk minor-league contract on February 1. Upon earning a roster spot out of Spring Training, the Mets signed Byrd to a one-year, $700K contract.
Byrd did not disappoint, hitting .285 with 21 homers and 71 RBI through 117 games. In need of what was sure to be a hefty payraise in the upcoming offseason and with the Mets out of contention, GM Sandy Alderson cashed in on his reclamation project sending Byrd and catcher John Buck to Pittsburgh for relief pitcher Vic Black and minor league prospect Dilson Herrera. Byrd continued to hit for the Buccos, finishing the year with a .280 average, 24 homers and 88 RBI.
Upon hitting the open free agent market, Byrd was quickly scooped up by one of his former teams, the Philadelphia Phillies. On November 15, Byrd inked a two-year, $16 Million deal with the Phils, with a vesting option for 2016, putting him under contract until age 38. A remarkable story of someone who got a second chance and made good, time will tell if he can stay clean the rest of the way.
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