Briefly, what you need to know:
Here is the value Marlon Byrd provides the Mets beyond 2013: NOTHING. He will be a free agent, and 36 next year. Re-signing him makes little sense.
Every at-bat he takes is one not taken by one of the other current Mets who might help in 2014.
Now, the Mets elected not to deal Hairston for anything that wasn’t another team’s Top-3 prospect. I have no idea why: this system is in need of many things.
Here’s a short list of things, off the top of my head, well short of a top-3 prospect that the Mets don’t have for 2014 in sufficient supply:
1. A center fielder likely to provide an OPS better than .600.
2. A few bullpen arms.
3. A corner outfielder likely to provide an OPS better than .700. If Cesar Puello isn’t that guy, two corner outfielders likely to provide an OPS better than .700.
4. A backup catcher to Travis d’Arnaud capable of respectable MLB production. If d’Arnaud’s injuries don’t allow him to catch regularly next season, two such catchers.
5. A first baseman, with apologies to Josh Satin, likely to provide even league average offense at the position, either as a fallback for Ike Davis, or to replace Ike Davis.
(Note: Lucas Duda technically can fill role 3. if you ignore defense, otherwise role 5. But not both.)
6. A backup shortstop to Ruben Tejada, or if Tejada cannot arrest his decline, a starting shortstop of any kind.
And so on.
Incidentally, Sandy Alderson, when explaining why he elected not to deal Hairston last summer, said what he’d been offered was only duplicating what he already had in his system.
The thing is, even duplicating what you already have is a better idea than ending up with nothing. And there’s no draft pick to be had here by letting Byrd sign elsewhere, nor was there with Hairston.
The options are: whatever you can get for Byrd. Or nothing.
Pretty obvious, right?
Let’s hope the Mets get it right this time.