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Monday, January 18, 2010

Eric Byrnes Wants to Play in SF

Spring Training reporting dates are exactly one month away, and most teams are putting their final touches on their rosters, while the remaining free agents start to accept lower offers than what they were seeking when the offseason began (see Adam LaRoche) to ensure they'll be employed in 2010.

One player who just became a free-agent after being released by the Diamondbacks is Northern California native Eric Byrnes. I think Sabean would be open to adding another outfielder on his terms, and I could definitely see Byrnes fitting into Sabeans plan. Not too mention Byrnes has made it crystal clear that he would love to be a Giant, he lives in the area during he offseason and has an outstanding relationship with the Giants flagship radio station, KNBR 680. Baseball wise,Byrnes is coming off of a couple injury plagued seasons for the D-Backs, as he's hit just .214 with 14 home runs, 54 RBI and a measly .655 OPS in '08-'09 combined. A broken hand cost him 2 1/2 months in '09, and when he returned, the D-Backs were out of contention and playing younger players like Gerardo Parra. I don't think all of Byrnes struggles over the last 2 seasons can be attributed solely to injury, because when he was healthy, he didn't look very good either. That said, he's just 2 seasons removed from a 26 homer, 50 stolen base season, and at age 33, he's still probably got a rebound and few good years left in him. The good thing about his situation, is that any team that might want to add him, only has to pay him the league minimum, as he'll collect 11 million from the D-Backs in 2010. Because of that, he's no somewhat intriguing for a lot of teams.

As far as the Giants are concerned, they still could be in the market for another outfielder, even after adding Aubrey Huff and penciling in Mark DeRosa for left field. As they sit now, they have Aaron Rowand, Mark DeRosa and Nate Schieholtz starting across the outfield. Schierholtz is the one guy who they could potentialy replace if someone like Xavier Nady or Jermaine Dye (just because I know Sabean would be interested in him at the right price) fall onto their lap in the waning moments of the offseason, but Byrnes wouldn't fit that bill. Where Bynres does fit is in the 4th outfield role. The Giants will have Eugenio Velez, Andres Torres and Jon Bowker all battling it out for the 4th and possibly 5th outfield spots and Byrnes could joining the battle. I like Velez as a utility guy, and think Torres and Bowker are more than serviceable AAA outfielders who can come up and fill in at times in the big leagues, but none of these guys have, the term Brian Sabean uses so often, "much of a track record". Eric Byrnes has a track record and a pretty good one to boot. I would see the logic in offering Byrnes on a minor league invite, and having him battle it out with the guys I mentioned for a bench spot. Byrnes has the flexibility to play all 3 outfield positions well and outside of Torres in center field, I think he's better defensively than those 3 guys. Since he's so interested in playing here, and would probably gladly except a minor league invite, I don't see why Sabean wouldn't want him in camp with the Giants next month. It would be a scenario in which the Giants would add some insurance for Nate Schierholtz in right, while still allowing Nate to be the everyday right fielder. Byrnes could also spell Rowand in center, and when he's on he'd probably be the Giants best leadoff option when he plays.

So, all in all, bringing in Eric Byrnes on a spring training invite, allowing him a chance to make the team, really could end up a steal much like the Juan Uribe signing was last spring. If he continues to struggle like he's done the last 2 years, then you let him go and it costs you absolutely nothing. Even in that case he'd still give you a nice clubhouse presence and a positive influence on the younger players during spring training. If he makes the team, and regains some of that '06-'07 form, then the Giants get themselves a heckuva 4th outfielder for the league minimum, who could spell Nate Schierholtz vs. left-handed pitching. Heck, if he regained his 2007 form, he'd probably be the teams best outfielder. Not a bad gamble if you ask me.
The Giants Baseball Blog


  • At 5:03 PM, Blogger Kellia Ramares said…

    I'd love to see Byrnesie in SF but Sabean had chances at him in prio years --EB had said he's be willing to be Barry Bonds' backup--and Sabean passed him up.

  • At 10:37 PM, Anonymous hitnrun said…

    Byrnes is a great interview on KNBR, and his price will be to Neukom/Sabean's liking, and he is another low risk no brainer move. I still would rather see another bat in the lineup just in case Huff does not come thru, and Nady would be good, but I think the Giants will get outbid by another team for his services as they seem to be shopping bargain basement this year. Byrnes would probably replace Torres, Bowker or Velez on the roster.

  • At 2:29 AM, Blogger Trevor Cole said…

    I don't mind the ragging on the Giants at all in the comment section, but the foul, four letter words that are unnecessary will always be removed.

  • At 12:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Whats going to happen to those vets like Ben Sheets and Erik Bedard? Those are big name guys and they can't find a job? I don't get it.

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  • At 8:22 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Nice to finally get back to a SFG board, as most of the comments from their fans are legitimate, thoughtful and well presented----unlike so many other sports sites. Trevor Cole, you make a very sound case for inviting Byrnes to spring training and I agree with it; the SFG should give him a look.

    One small, but important request of you, if you are the "blogger en force" on this site.....PLEASE.....check your posting BEFORE you submit it! Incorrect spelling, grammar, syntax and punctuation are just as important as the message that you are trying to get across to the reader. Just trying to get through your post was painful! Little things like these ARE important and too often over-looked in online communications.

    No, I'm not an expert on the English language or a teacher, but I do think that you owe it to the readers to NOT have to struggle so fiercely to understand your simple point. If you have reached this far in your online experience, you should be aware of the online site aid that is available to facilitate a free flowing and conversant posting career.

    I do realize that time is of the essence in getting posts submitted, but the suggestion can only help you in getting your future posts understood and attain a larger following.

    Thanks, for allowing me a forum.....just some good-natured constructive criticism and I hope you won't take offense to my posting.

    Good Luck, man! Now, let's get Byrnes an invite to camp in Scottsdale, eh?

    Sincerely, Q


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