Marlon Byrd parlayed a comeback season with the Pirates and New York Mets into a two-year contract agreement with the Philadelphia Phillies, a source with knowledge of the situation said Tuesday.
The deal is pending a physical. ESPNNewYork.com reported that the contract will be worth $16 million. Philadelphia’s Sportsradio94 WIP first reported the agreement.
Byrd hit .291 with 24 home runs for the Pirates and Mets this season, but is 36 years old. Two years and $16 million for a 36-year-old outfielder emphasizes the difficulty teams have in acquiring power hitters.
Byrd hit .210 with one home run in 153 plate appearances in 2012 before he tested positive for a banned substance and served a 50-game suspension. He played in the Mexican League last year before signing with the Mets on a minor league contract that paid him $700,000.
The Pirates traded minor leaguers Vic Black and Dilson Herrera to the Mets for Byrd and catcher John Buck in a waiver trade in late August. Byrd hit .318 in 30 games with the Pirates and .364 with a home run in six postseason games.
The departure of Byrd leaves the Pirates with Travis Snider, Jose Tabata and Garrett Jones as their current internal options in right field. Snider, who is out of minor league options, had a .281 on-base percentage and hit only five home runs during a season when he missed a month because of a toe injury.
Tabata hit .282 with a .342 on-base percentage but played in only 106 games and had 341 plate appearances. An oblique injury kept him out for more than a month.
The Pirates prefer not to play Jones in right field and may non-tender him at the Dec. 2 deadline. Jones is eligible for arbitration for the third time out of four and will earn a raise from his $4.5 million salary in 2013.
At some point 22-year-old Gregory Polanco, one of the Pirates’ top prospects, could be ready to reach the majors. Polanco moved from high-A Bradenton to Class AAA Indianapolis last season. Across three levels he hit a combined .285 with 12 home runs and 38 steals.
Bill Brink: firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @BrinkPG.