Weeks ago, the Phillies picked up on a minor league contract a physically declining outfielder and frequent enemy of theirs in Jeff Francoeur, a free agent with fewer and fewer options as the years go by.
With the Winter Meetings well underway, the rumor mill is spinning out of control, and Joel Sherman of the New York Post is saying that part of the reason Francoeur took a deal with the Phillies is because there was a good chance he would see daylight in a Major League outfield (He is likely tired of the fiendish trickery of minor league teams).
At 30 years old, Francoeur, who was once baseball's hottest young stud, has been downgraded to minor league duty during each of the past two seasons by the Giants and Padres. In 2014, he didn't even make the Indians roster out of Spring Training.
Byrd, however, is enjoying a minor resurgence in the later part of his career at 37. He hit .291 in 2013 for the Mets and Pirates, with 24 HR and 88 RBI. The Phillies picked him up on a criticized two-year deal rather abruptly last offseason, and he hit .264 for them while logging the second most strikeouts in all of baseball (185), behind only Ryan Howard.
Teams have already been linked to Byrd as lineups look for offense injections league-wide. There was a lot of overplayed talk about the Mariners seeking Byrd's bat early on, but despite rumors of his trade interest, no teams have been named as top candidates for Byrd yet.
And if Charlie Manuel wants to tinker with Francoeur's swing to make him a more valuable trade commodity for a rebuilding team, by all means.