Scouting the Trade Market: Tim Byrdak

Series Preview: Tampa Bay Rays
Phil Hughes and the need to pitch downhill
(From Flickr user slgckgc via Creative Commons license.)

The Yankees don’t have too many needs as the deadline approaches, but we’ve heard time and again that they seek left-handed pitching. Specifically, they’d like a lefty reliever to go with, or perhaps replace, Boone Logan. Many teams seek similar help, and it complicates the market. No one wants to pay that much for a guy who comes in to face just one or two batters, but no team wants to be left without such a guy. Most of the time, that means few are available. This year is no different, though there’s an intriguing name pitching across town: Tim Byrdak. Via MLB Trade Rumors, the Mets will look to move him this month, so let’s size him up.

The Pros

  • He has absolutely mowed down lefties this year, striking out 19 of 55 he has faced (13.50 per nine, or 35% of all lefties faced). He has walked only three of those 55, thanks to a 67 percent strike rate. In other words, he’s probably not going to go all Logan and walk the guys he’s charged with retiring. The rate doesn’t hold up through his entire career, but he still has struck out more than a lefty per inning (26 percent) since 2005.
  • He’s struck out nine of 40 righties he’s faced (9 IP), good for a 23 percent rate. He’s not great against them, as he’s walked six (one intentional), but he can hold his own if he needs to face a righty sandwiched between two lefties.
  • He has held inherited runners at bay this season, allowing just five of 27 to score. That’s huge for a LOOGY, since he’ll often enter a game with men on in a big spot.
  • Speaking of big spots, he’s faced 17 men in high leverage situations this year and has allowed just three hits. He has walked three, though one was intentional, while striking out six. He’s also struck out 13 of the 32 men he’s faced with runners in scoring position, and 18 of 51 with men on base.
  • Most importantly, he throws with his left arm and is potentially better than Logan. That seems to be the main criteria for the Yankees this deadline.

The Cons

  • The rates listed above are in the small sample that is 2011. His walk rate against righties for his career is over 6.00, and it’s still around 6 when you take out the intentional walks. In other words, he could turn into a pumpkin real quickly.
  • Another reason to dislike is his 1.34 WHIP against lefties this year. It’s great that he’s sitting plenty down via the strikeout, but the ones who make contact are faring very well. Maybe his .387 BABIP against lefties is a fluke and will come down, or maybe it’s a sign that he’s fooling some of them but not others.
  • While he’s stranded runners aplenty this year, his career rate is a pretty standard 33 percent. If he’s going to regress back to his career average, it’s going to mean a lot of inherited runners scoring in the second half.
  • Similarly, his career performance in high leverage situations is fairly pedestrian. That 1.67 WHIP, which includes a 6.00 BB/9 rate, does not look pretty.

If the Yankees do attempt to acquire Byrdak, they have to do so with the hope that a change of leagues — he hasn’t pitched in the AL since 2007 — helps him keep going with the high strikeout rate. It’s really all he offers. If that rate regresses, he’s of even less use. So while they’d be essentially bidding on a prayer with Byrdak, they’d also have to expect the worst, since that’s the nature of relievers. That means not parting ways with anything of remotely significant value. But since he’s a lefty and has a high strikeout rate, there is probably a team willing to up the bidding on him. I just hope the Yankees don’t bite. Given the state of the bullpen I wouldn’t mind seeing Byrdak added, but only at the right price. If it costs them anything from their top 15 or so prospects, it’s probably too much.

Series Preview: Tampa Bay Rays
Phil Hughes and the need to pitch downhill
  • jsbrendog

    deja vu

  • Drew

    So to sum up the article, you’d want Tim Byrdak for free basically but he’s not worth giving up anything for. Gotcha, and I agree.

    •!/Clay_Bellinger Clay Bellinger

      I with you guys on that too.

  • Jerome S.

    Logan hitting the batter on the first pitch last night was such a face-palm moment. He does just enough. I almost wish he’d blow a big 8-run lead (Reds’d) or something just so that Girardi sees how terrible he is.

    • CS Yankee

      Girardi can’t see him thru the meat-tray.

  • MannyGeee

    another lefty from the Mets, huh. I think we’ve seen this movie before, yeah?

    I think I agree with the concencus, as long as the Yankees do not offer anything of value for him, I am all for it.

    • Ted Nelson

      “another lefty from the Mets, huh. I think we’ve seen this movie before, yeah?”

      That’s like looking at the possibility of trading for Elvis Andrus and saying last time the Yankees for a Rangers’ SS it was A-Rod! Who cares?

  • Matt :: Sec110

    -He’s a Met.

    And not because they are the redhead stepchild of NY baseball, it just seems that they rarely seem to trade with each other…a past RAB article I believe.

    • CS Yankee

      that, plus throw in the ruckus played by Cash on how they mistreat or abuse their players and…nothing will go down.

    • Ted Nelson

      “it just seems that they rarely seem to trade with each other…a past RAB article I believe.”

      I don’t really buy this. There are other teams the Yankees haven’t made any real moves with in years, and that doesn’t mean they’re avoiding trading with the Yankees.

  • zs190

    Meh, Byrdak is pretty much same as all the LOOGY’s that have been DFA’ed (Clay Rapada, JC Romero, Jerry Blevins, etc) and the Yankees passed on all of them so I can’t see them excited about Byrdak at all.

    Yet we constantly hear they are looking for a left-handed reliever. I wonder if they are waiting for a LHP that’s not just a LOOGY, like a Scott Downs/Sean Marshall type. (not saying any of those are available)

    • zs190

      or dare I say, Damaso Marte?

  • Dan

    Wait, didn’t we see this post yesterday? It’s deja vu all over again.

  • Jorge

    My reaction when seing Byrdak come in to face the Yankees last weekend: “wow, that is a scrubby looking middle reliever.”

    No goateed, scrubby-looking middle relievers. I don’t want no scrubs. They don’t get no love from me.

  • Jorge

    I also dreamt I got a push update on my phone from Tim Dierkes saying that the Yankees released Marte last night.

  • Phife Dawg

    He’s got an awesome mustache. Trade for him.


  • Slappy White

    I keep checking in from time to time hoping Sergio Mitre has been released….we do need a second (really we need a first) lefty though

  • JobaWockeeZ

    xFIP is 2.85 so it’s not an NL or CitiField wonder. I’d give up Brackman in the top 15 though but that’s it.

    • Cris Pengiuci

      Wow, I think Brackman is a lot to give up for this guy. Not that I care if we give up Brackman, I just think someone would give us back more than an average LOOGY for him.

  • JohnC

    Marte actually threw a bullpen session yesterday in Tampa. He might actually be back next month if ther are no setbacks