The Mets are hesitant to trade Marlon Byrd

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After a lost year, Marlon Byrd has exceeded all expectations this season by batting .263 with 15 home runs, 49 RBI, and an .804 OPS through 77 games  With the Mets unlikely to make a run at things, many have logically speculated that the club will attempt to sell high by the trade deadline later this month. Then again, maybe not.

During an appearance on MLB Network Radio this morning, Mets special assistant to the GM J.P. Ricciardi indicated that the team won’t move Byrd unless they are overwhelmed.

Byrd is unlikely to be a contributor on the 2014 team, so it would be silly to dismiss the possibility of a trade entirely. And teams often say things like this in order to drive up prices. But the Mets had a similar situation last year with Scott Hairston and ended up keeping him. It ultimately comes down to whether the team prefers the chance to win another couple of games with Byrd over the possibility of receiving a lower level prospect in return. Recent history suggests they may stand pat.

Mike Napoli and Rays have “mutual interest” in a deal

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Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times unloaded a lot of interesting news items about the Rays last night, including a report that the Rays might have “mutual interest” in a deal with free agent first baseman/DH Mike Napoli. The Rangers declined Napoli’s $11 million option earlier this month and owe the veteran infielder a $2.5 million buyout.

Napoli, 36, had a strange year in Texas. He turned in 29 home runs, good for 11th-most among AL hitters, but finished the year batting just .193/.285/.428 over 485 plate appearances. According to FanGraphs, his -0.5 fWAR was the worst mark of his career to date, but on the bright side, he should come cheap for a team looking to swap out their veterans come spring.

Of course, the specifics of the Rays’ offseason plan have yet to be divulged — or, by all accounts from Topkin, even decided on. The club could go the refurbishment route, changing out some of their higher-paid veterans for a mix of prospects and cheaper aging players; or they could opt for a full rebuild, which Topkin cautions against as it could have a negative effect on the financing of a new ballpark. Either way, the Rays figure to offload some of their bigger contracts this winter, and will need to decide if they want to retain Alex Colome, Chris Archer, Wilson Ramos, Evan Longoria and others before pursuing any other major free agents.