The Cleveland Indians made a solid depth signing Wednesday afternoon, picking up veteran outfielder Marlon Byrd on a minor league contract.
The 38-year-old spent last year with the Cincinnati Reds and San Francisco Giants hitting 23 home runs and driving in 73 runs while hitting for a mediocre .247 average. His defense has never been elite, and certainly will not be improving with age, so it’s highly likely he will see time as the designated hitter, assuming he gets time with the big club at some point during the season.
For the Indians, Byrd provides depth and veteran experience to a depleted outfield. Star left fielder Michael Brantley will miss at least a month at the start of the season, and starting center fielder Abraham Almonte was suspended for 80 games for the use Boldenone. Lonnie Chisenhall is projected to start in right field, but the Indians really lack true depth in the outfield. Rajai Davis and Collin Cowgill will likely fill the voids on opening day, but having a power bat like Marlon Byrd is a luxury for the Indians if they do end up needing it.
There’s not a great chance that Marlon Byrd makes the opening day roster, mainly because he has already missed a solid portion of spring training. With the Indians aiming for a postseason berth, having depth is a necessity down the stretch. While Marlon Byrd may not see a ton of time in the major leagues, he could be a clutch option for a fairly young Indians down during crunch time.