One of the first-ever posts I wrote on The Ghost of Moonlight Graham last December was that the New York Mets should trade for Eric Byrnes. At the time—and I still believe this—the Mets needed a player likes Byrnes.
Byrnes is a gritty, hard-nosed gamer who is great for any team’s clubhouse. I thought the Mets could use a personality like Byrnes to help bring their team together. Now, a little over a year later, he was released by the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Any team was free to sign the 33-year-old.
Since Arizona is paying Byrnes’ salary in 2010 ($11 million), any team could have had Byrnes for the league minimum. The team that is hoping Byrnes’ hard-nosed attitude helps them next season is the Seattle Mariners.
The Mariners signed Byrnes yesterday to a one-year deal. If Byrnes makes the team out of spring training, he will serve as a backup outfielder along with Ryan Langerhans and Michael Saunders.
There is also the possibility that, if the Mariners don’t add another outfielder this offseason, Byrnes and Langerhans could form a platoon in left field for Seattle. I am guessing the Mariners don’t want Milton Bradley in left field too often.
This is a good, low-risk signing by the Mariners. Remember, this is a guy who just two years ago finished 11th in the National League MVP voting with a .286 average, 21 home runs, and 50 stolen bases in 160 games.
Byrnes will be entering his 11th season in the majors and has a career .260 average with 109 home runs, 128 stolen bases, and a .763 OPS with the Oakland A’s, Colorado Rockies, Baltimore Orioles, and Diamondbacks.
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