The Cleveland Indians have added another "veteran presence" to the team in the form of Marlon Byrd, who they signed to a minor league deal on Thursday. Byrd, 38, has still retained his power stroke in recent years despite his age, hitting 23 home runs last season. According to Paul Hoynes, Byrd is already in camp getting a physical, so presumably he will be joining the team in the coming days.
Indians confirm that they've signed Marlon Byrd to minor league deal.— paul hoynes (@hoynsie) March 17, 2016
Bryd in camp getting physical.— paul hoynes (@hoynsie) March 17, 2016
If Byrd sticks on the roster, it will likely be as a strict platoon option. He slashed .271/.324/.496 last season against lefties in his time split between the Cincinnati Reds and San Francisco Giants, which would make him a good fit to bat alongside Lonnie Chisenhall in right field.
Byrd is essentially the same type of player as Collin Cowgill, who the Indians signed to a small major league deal earlier this offseason. Cowgill's poor showing in spring so far (2-25, 1 HR, 6 SO) could have lead to the Indians looking elsewhere for a right-handed platoon partner.
Last year, Byrd spent the majority of his time in left field where he was worth one defensive run saved and a -8.0 UZR/150.
All #championship jokes aside, it's hard to be upset at any minor league signing, and Byrd could turn out to be a steal if he can hit double-digit home runs from the right side of the plate this season. Or he doesn't and the Indians lose absolutely nothing in the process.