The Reds have traded pitching prospect Ben Lively to the Phillies for Marlon Byrd and $4 million, which is noteworthy for us for a couple reasons:
-P- I'll always have fond memories of Byrd as a key late-acquisition who helped the 2013 Bucs make the playoffs for the first time in two decades, so I'll happily root for him, even if he's playing in the NL Central. Unless he's playing for the Pirates, of course.
-P- This doesn't make a ton of sense for the Reds. Sure, they were looking for a left fielder, and while Byrd has mostly played right field recently, he should be fine in left, too. (He's said he hopes it will be "like riding a bike," which it probably will be.) But Lively is a pretty good pitching prospect. He probably won't be a top-of-the-rotation starter, and he's probably moved quickly so far in part because of a deceptive delivery that might or might not work in the big leagues, but he held his own in Double-A in his first full professional season.
The Reds obviously know Lively better than anyone, but he doesn't seem like the sort of player a team in the Reds' position should give up for a stopgap, even if they do have a fair number of right-handed pitching prospects. Trading someone like Lively for someone like Byrd seems reasonable for a contender, but I'm not sure how reasonable it is for Cincinnati. The Reds are in the midst of an offseason in which they've traded Mat Latos and Alfredo Simon in preparation for what could be a big pitcher exodus after this season. They don't look like contenders, and Marlon Byrd won't save them. They probably had to give up someone like Lively in part because the Phillies gave them $4 million to pay Byrd's salary, too. It can't be much fun to root for the Reds right now.
So that's fun. Happy New Year, everybody!