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Hot Stove Talk: Paul Byrd

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You gotta love cars. I was five minutes from home last night, and my alternator belt decided to give out. So Thursday evening was spent in the garage figuring out how to replace it. It definitely wasn't as fun as Hot Stove speculation would have been, that's for sure.

I'm going to take on each rumored acquisition, one at a time. First up: Paul Byrd, who seems to be the guy most likely to sign. According to Byrd's agent, the Indians are in the running for his services:


"The talks were very productive talks," said McKinnis, Byrd's agent. "Mark made it clear he'd like to get something done or move on before the winter meetings. I tend to think Paul would like to pull the trigger before the meetings as well."

Byrd was drafted by the Indians in 1991, but was traded to the Mets (for Jeromy Burnitz) before he broke into the majors. He didn't pitch more than 100 innings in a season until he was 28 (1999 with Philadelphia), a feat he didn't repeat until 2002, when he went 17-11 with the Royals. He signed a free agent deal with the Atlanta, but underwent Tommy John surgery before he could pitch for the Braves. After returning to post a 3.94 ERA in 2004, he signed a one-year deal with the Angels.

And so we come to today, where Byrd, now 35, is probably going to get a two-year deal from somebody, and if the reports are correct, the Indians would have to match what Esteban Loiaza got from the Athletics (3/$21M).

Byrd is the type of pitcher that needs a good defense behind him, given his stuff and his slight flyball tendencies. If you could call anyone a "crafty" righty, Byrd would be that guy. He has an old school windup, and tends to be easy to run on;  however, he doesn't give up many walks, mitigating that drawback a bit.

Would I give Byrd $21M? No, but I realize what the free agent market is like. There's Millwood, Burnett, then you're down to Byrd, Washburn, Rogers, and after that things get a lot worse.

In a recent article, Ken Rosenthal (does this guy sleep?) wrote about starters who could be dealt this offseason. Included are the usual suspects like Javier Vazquez, Barry Zito, and Kip Wells, but a couple pitchers really caught my eye. One was Adam Eaton, who the Padres probably won't trade now that they  re-signed Brian Giles. Miguel Batista was a closer last season, but could be put back into the rotation. The Mets could also deal Kris Benson (and his wife), although it looks like he's going to Baltimore fairly soon. So there's some other options, although it does mean parting with prospects and/or major-league players.