Byrd Flies To Boston

The Deal
The Red Sox acquired veteran righthander Paul Byrd from the Indians in exchange for outfielder Mickey Hall, the club’s slow-to-develop second-round pick from 2003.
The Big Leaguer
Byrd, 37, went 7-10, 4.53 in 22 starts for the Indians, providing the same league-average innings he does seemingly every season. He doesn’t strike out many batters (56 in 131 innings), but neither does he walk many (just 24, or 1.6 per nine innings). For his career, Byrd has gone 104-91, 4.37 with 886 strikeouts (4.9 per nine) and 380 walks (2.1 per nine) in 1,614 innings. In the final year of what turned out to be a three-year, $21.5 million deal with Cleveland, Byrd throws just about everything but the kitchen sink at opposing batters, mixing mid-80s fastballs with his strong changeup, curveball and slider.
The Young Player
A 23-year-old lefthanded batter, Hall never has hit higher than .246 in any
full-season stop outside of the notorious hitter’s haven in high Class
A Lancaster. But he did manage to slug 13 home runs and compile a .224
isolated power figure in a half season with Double-A Portland last
year, so at least that’s
something. Hall’s swing is sound and he’s long been projected to grow into solid power, but a lack of contact has held him back.
A good athlete, he has slightly above-average speed and arm strength. (He’s split time between right and center field in 2008.) As noted, Boston made Hall its second-round selection in 2003, making him the lone high school player taken in the top 16 rounds in general manager Theo Epstein’s first year at the helm.
Quick Take
With Clay Buchholz struggling mightily (2-8, 6.32 in 14 starts) and Tim Wakefield on the DL, getting Byrd at practically no cost was a wise move for the Red Sox. Renting the righthander for two months costs them approximately $2 million—a sum they’ll easily recoup if they qualify for the playoffs. In fact, the most surprising aspect of the trade was that Byrd was not claimed by another AL contender with waiver priority over Boston.

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