There’s a fairly brilliant article over at MLBTradeRumors.com featuring the Astros’ former lefty reliever, Tim Byrdak, who now pitches for the Mets. In the article (which you should read in full,) Byrdak talks about following every minute whiff of a story involving a left-handed reliever.
For those of us who follow trade rumors, it’s sometimes easy to forget that there are some people who are very interested in these rumors: The players themselves.
When one lefty gets signed, it can have a dramatic influence on other lefties. The difference between a major league signing and a minor league invite are major – they are, literally, the difference between getting a job offer and getting an offer for a job interview.
Byrdak, who pitched pretty well for the Astros over three years, wound up in New York. But the way he tells it, it sounds like a cyclone, spinning you around and around with no idea where you’re going to land until you wake up the next morning and take stock of your surroundings.
Excerpts below, but you should read the entire article.
“I thought we’d have more of an opportunity to secure a big-league job,” Byrdak continued. “So you have to keep watching the wire, MLB Trade Rumors, all these sites to see who is going where, who has interest in guys. So it became a pretty valuable tool for me to keep an eye on other lefties that were still on the market, and how that market was developing.”
What may seem like a minor post to a reader about a team’s interest in a middle reliever is seismic to someone like Byrdak, and he found it hard to avoid getting frustrated by some of the things he read.
“There were a couple [of times],” Byrdak said. “You would hear from a couple of different teams, and you thought you’d be starting the negotiation process. People have asked me, ‘How come I don’t play for the White Sox’ [Byrdak is from nearby Oak Forest, IL], and I tell them, ‘Well, you know, they’ve never offered me a job.”
“I read somewhere, Chad Durbin said the same thing, that you’ve got to take what was out there,” Byrdak said. “There wasn’t a big-league job out there for us to get. I’m a guy who usually is coming into camp – you’re in shape – but it’s about getting your arm strength, getting everything together without the pressure. It was different this year. You have to compete, put up zeroes as early and often as you can.”