Adam Rubin of ESPN New York reports that the Pirates have acquired outfielder Marlon Byrd and catcher John Buck from the Mets. Earlier in the day it was reported that the two had been placed on waivers and claimed by an unknown team. Now we know. In return the Mets are getting minor leaguer Dilson Herrera and a player to be named later.
Byrd has been something of a revelation for the Mets this year, hitting .285/.330/.518 with 21 homers. Buck started the year incredibly strong but has since been relegated to backup catching duties as the Mets are giving Travis d’Arnaud a shot to be their everyday catcher. Neither Buck nor Byrd are under contract beyond this year. Any hopes that the Mets would hold on to them for a potentially-contending 2014 season were probably dashed with Matt Harvey’s season coming to an end and his 2014 likely being a washout.
For the Pirates, Byrd will represent an offensive infusion for the stretch run as he will likely take the everyday role from Jose Tabata in left. At least assuming he keeps up what he’s been doing. Buck will provide depth as a backup to Russell Martin. Neither guy is a game-changer, but as the season comes down to the end, every little bit helps.
Back during the 2015 playoffs the sorts of New York media types who love to find reasons to criticize players for petty reasons decided to criticize Yoenis Cespedes for playing golf the day of a playoff game. The Mets won the series with the Cubs during which the controversy, such as it was, occurred and it was soon dropped.
It was picked back up again in 2016 when Cespedes, while on the disabled list with a strained quad, was seen playing golf. Despite the fact that everyone involved said that golf did not contribute to his injury and that golf would have no impact on his injured quad, it was deemed “a bad look” by a columnist looking to get some mileage out of bashing Cespedes for having a hobby that probably half of all ballplayers share. They did it when he showed off his fancy cars too, by the way, even though just about every ballplayer has a fancy car or three. When you’re a superstar in New York — especially when you’re one with whom the media is not particularly close for various reasons — you’re going to catch hell for seemingly nothing.
Now there’s a new twist to the Cespedes golf saga. Yoenis himself says that his poor start — he’s hitting .195/.258/.354 and leads the league in strikeouts — is due to . . . not enough golf! From the New York Times:
He gave a possible reason for the poor start this weekend: not playing enough golf, a hobby beloved by many baseball players. And, yes, he is serious.
“In previous seasons, one of the things I did when I wasn’t going well was to play golf,” he said after a game on Friday in which he struck out four times but still drove in the go-ahead run in the 12th inning. “This year, I’m not playing golf.”
The story says Cespedes quit golf last summer because he worried that it was contributing to hamstring problems. He’s thinking about going back to it soon, as he thinks it’ll help his swing. Given that he’ll catch hell either way, he may as well do what he wants.