Many of you have seen the ongoing debate as to whether or not Marlon Byrd is a viable CF, whether or not Hendry overpaid for Byrd, and whether or not Fuld should be playing CF instead of Byrd. I realize it has been somewhat annoying for some of you-so my apologies for continuing it in threads. Per several recommendations, we can debate it in this post. If you don't want to see/hear any more-you don't have to participate or enter this post/thread!
Here are the CAREER stats for the starting CFs in MLB. Note that I have left out a few of them because they have less than a full season under their belt, and truthfully, if I included them, they would strengthen my stance b/c their career numbers (albeit a small sample size) are worse than Byrd's. Marlon Byrd's career stats are as follows:
There are, by my count, 13 starting CFers with better career numbers than Byrd. They are as follows:
Cameron: .250/.340/.448/.788; Granderson: .273/.345/.485/.830; Wells: .281/.330/.473/.803; And Jones: .257/.338/.488/.827; Rios: .281/.330/.445/.775; Sizemore: .275/.366/.484/.850; Span: .300/.386/.414/.800; Hunter: .274/.330/.472/.802; McLouth: .259/.342/.451/.792; Ross: .265/.323/.483/.806; McCutchen .285/.362/.465/.827; Kemp .299/.346/.483/.829; Rowand .280/.379/.448/.787
There are, by my count, 9 starting CFers with worse career numbers than Byrd. They are as follows:
Adam Jones .267/.314/.418/.732; R. Davis .278/.334/.386/.720; Gutierrez .271/.323/.416/.740; G. Matthews .258/.333/.407/.740; Morgan .298/.357/.390/.747; Bourn .263/.327/.350/.677; Rasmus .253/.318/.418/.736; C. Young .237/.308/.442/.750; Fowler .257/.350/.389/.739
Finally, there are 4 starting CFers in the same ballpark as Byrd:
Upton .266/.352/.409/.761; Ankiel .253/.312/.454/.765; Victorino .282/.345/.425/.770; Hairston .252/.305/.454/.759
This, to me, would say Byrd is a viable starting CFer. Pretty much around league average. That said, the other question that was raised was whether or not he is WORTH the $5M that he is paid per year. Note that a majority of the starting CFers with better numbers than Byrd are paid more based on 2010 salaries, let alone the average of their deals: Cameron $7.75M, Granderson $5.5M, Wells, $15.7M, Hunter $18.5M, Rios $10.2M, Sizemore $5.8M, and Rowand $13.6m. If you were to throw in the salaries of all 13, I'm pretty confident it would average out to well over the $5M that Byrd is getting paid, which makes his contract appear to be in line with his production.
Looking further at the CF free agent class this past offseason, there were other options out there. The three options better than Byrd (from a production standpoint) were Johnny Damon (.288/.355/.438/.793 and $8M), Mike Cameron (.250/.340/.448/.788 and $7.75M), and Andrew Jones (.257/.338/.488/.827 and $500k). Jones was a big question mark. Not sure Damon or Cameron is worth the extra money for the extra production. Rick Ankiel (.253/.312/.454/.765 and $2.75M 1 yr) and Reed Johnson (.283/.344/.412/.756 and $800k 1 yr) were available and produce about the same as Byrd, but both are injury risks and Johnson would have to platoon. Other options with lesser production than Byrd include Podsednik (.278/.342/.382/.723 and $1.65M) or Coco Crisp (.277/.331/.407/.738 and $5M). None of these choices stand out to me as better than Byrd.
Finally, some have claimed that Fuld should be given the starting CF job because he can "get on base, play defense and run the bases." I don't think that 103 plate appearances guarantees that he will produce as well, let alone better than, Byrd. And for the record, his UZR in CF (albeit small sample size) is worse than Byrds. Based on all of this information, I think Byrd is a viable CFer and he is NOT overpaid for what he produces. He may be leaving a hitters park in Arlington, but Wrigley is actually an even better hitter's park than Arlington, so Byrd should be able to continue to produce at or better than his career averages.