The Phillies trade Marlon Byrd to the Reds for pitcher Ben Lively

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Ken Rosenthal reports that Marlon Byrd has been traded by the Phillies to the Cincinnati Reds. Rosenthal says that pitcher Ben Lively one of players headed to Philadelphia.

As we noted the other day, these two teams had a Byrd trade in place that “fell apart” recently, but now it’s obviously back together. Part of it may be because Philly is going to send Cincy some cash in the deal.

Byrd is owed $8 million in the final year of his contract and is coming off a season in which he hit .264 with 25 homers and a .757 OPS in 154 games. His plate discipline and defense has degraded tremendously, however.

Lively turns 23 in March. He was a fourth round pick of the Reds in 2013 out of the University of Central Florida. He’s 13-11 with a 2.58 ERA in 39 starts across two minor league seasons. He’s not a top prospect — he walks a tad too many batters — but he does have the potential to be a mid-level big league starter.

The big question here is what the heck the Reds’ plan is. Why pick up an end-of-career bat with some power potential like Byrd after dealing Mat Latos and Alfredo Simon? If you’re gonna make a run, why not do it with those two pitchers? If you’re not, why acquire Byrd?

Nationals to reinstate Max Scherzer on Thursday

Max Scherzer
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Some good news for the Nationals today: All-Star hurler Max Scherzer is due back from the injured list this week, this time (hopefully) for good. He’s slated to start during Thursday’s series finale against the Pirates.

It’s been a long road back for the right-hander, who earned his seventh consecutive All-Star designation after heading into the break with a 2.30 ERA, 5.6 fWAR, and a league-leading 7.56 SO/BB rate. An untimely back injury forced him to the injured list in the days leading up to the All-Star Game, however, and he hasn’t returned in any kind of part-time or full-time capacity since.

While Scherzer was originally expected to pitch for the Nationals sometime during their weekend series versus the Brewers, manager Dave Martinez elected to push back his return date by a few days. It’s not clear whether he felt some lingering pain during his 64-pitch simulated start on Saturday or whether the Nationals simply want to play it safe with their ace, but either way, the club apparently feels like Scherzer will be back to full strength before the end of the week.

If so, his return would be a significant asset to the Nationals, who could use a sub-3.00 ERA, 5.0-fWAR starter to help bolster their standing in the NL East. Still, there’s no guarantee that the veteran righty is ready to shoulder a full-time role in Washington’s rotation, nor is it certain that he’ll be able to match his results from the first half of the season. In one start between IL stints last month, he dealt five innings of three-run, two-walk, eight-strikeout ball in an 8-7 loss to the Rockies.