The Phillies to sign Marlon Byrd to a two-year, $16 million deal

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The Mike and Ike Show on 94WIP in Philly is reporting that the Phillies will sign Marlon Byrd Ken Rosenthal has confirmed the deal. Adam Rubin of ESPN New York.com reports that the deal is for two years, $16 million.

Byrd, who is 35, hit .291/.336/.511 with 24 homers and 88 RBI for the Mets and Pirates. His right-handed power is scarce on the market and, after last season, when many teams passed, he may be a more attractive target than most people’s gut may tell them. Sure, Granderson, Choo, Cruz and some others will be better, but they’ll also cost more. Corey Hart has health questions. Raul Ibanez is ancient. Carlos Beltran probably wants to go to a winner and is increasingly becoming immobile. And remember: the Phillies gave nearly 300 plate appearances to Delmon Young last year, so this is a sharp upgrade.

Byrd will be returning to the franchise which drafted him in 1999 and for whom he played in the majors from 2002 through the early part of 2005. $16 million is a lot of money, but we’re in a world where a lot of players will be making a lot more money than we might expect them to. The real key isn’t the money: it’s whether spending the money prevents the Phillies from doing other things they want to do.

Masahiro Tanaka to throw off a mound this weekend

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Earlier this month Yankees starter Masahiro Tanaka strained both of his hamstrings while running the bases in an interleague game against the Mets and was sent to the 10-day DL. Today it was announced that the beginning of the end of most DL stints for pitchers — throwing off of a mound — is in Tanaka’s immediate future.

Tanaka is scheduled to throw off a mound Sunday, which will be his first real (well, fake real) pitching action since the June 9th injury. Assuming the session goes well, Tanaka is expected to return to the Yankees’ starting rotation sometime in early-to-mid July. With the All-Star break coming the week of July 16, it would not be hard to imagine the Yankees giving him a few extra days to get right.

Tanaka is 7-2 with a 4.58 ERA and a K/BB ratio of 73/19 in 72.2 innings on the season.