M’s Sign Eric Byrnes
Okay, so, we finally know who the right-handed hitting outfielder is going to be – Eric Byrnes. I wrote up Byrnes last week, when he was DFA’d by the Diamondbacks, so the full take is over there. Short version – I like this.
Since Arizona is on the hook for his remaining salary, this is a league minimum deal. The Mariners have no obligation to keep Byrnes if he’s not healthy in spring training, or he looks old, or whatever. It’s a no-risk flyer on a guy who was a pretty darn good player a couple of years ago. His last two years have been terrible, but if he’s healthy, there should still be some juice left in the tank. If he and Langerhans split the LF time (with Bradley playing out there occasionally), the M’s should have a terrific defensive combo that could hit at something resembling a league average rate. And the platoon will cost them $900,000.
One quick note of caution, though – if you look at Byrnes ridiculously low BABIPs the last few years and think “it’s bad luck”, well, maybe, but not all of it is. Byrnes is historically awful at hitting infield flies. He hits enough pop-ups that the moon has taken out a restraining order against him. Pop-ups, of course, are easy to catch and never turn into hits. So you should expect Byrnes to run a below average BABIP. He’ll regress some, most likely, but don’t expect him to come anywhere near .300.