Byrd trade gives Pirates better option


The Pittsburgh Pirates’ offense has been limping for a long time, and they’ve finally been able to do something to address it.

Time will tell if outfielder Marlon Byrd will help the team through the last month of the season and the postseason. This much is clear: His track record makes him a better option than most of the players the Pirates have been running out to play right field this season.

The need became more acute when left fielder Starling Marte went on the disabled list with a hand injury. That meant the Pirates were choosing both corner outfielders from a dubious grab bag that included the likes of Andrew Lambo, Felix Pie and Josh Harrison.

Is that any way to compete for a division title?

Obviously not, so general manager Neal Huntington pulled the trigger on a deal that sent B-grade prospect Dilson Herrera and a player yet to be named to the New York Mets.

The Pirates also get backup catcher John Buck, but that’s strictly an insurance policy. The team was concerned about having only inexperienced Tony Sanchez behind Russell Martin, who is probably already carrying too heavy a load.

Byrd is a good player, but he has flaws. That’s why he’s been on seven different teams in a little more than 10 years.

He has 21 home runs this year, which is somewhat misleading. Nearly one-fifth of his career homer total has come this season.

In three years, Herrera may be the National League rookie of the year. That remains to be seen. Rumors are the player who hasn’t been named yet will be a prospect as well.

There’s always a risk in trading prospects. Some work out, others become Tim Alderson and never achieve their considerable potential.

Right here and right now, the Pirates needed another bat to try and win the National League Central. Perhaps there’s still another deal out there. The Pirates could still use more help, and Huntington will continue to work the phones.

There’s another deadline on Saturday, when the post-season rosters have to be set.

After 20 years of losing, it’s a nice change of pace to acquire players for the stretch run instead of sending away veterans to contenders.

One more time

Just one more terrible preseason game until the Steelers get down to real business.

This will be the worst of the bunch since most of the starters will be held out. It’s the last chance for the staff to see new players, then make roster cuts they probably could have made in the first week of camp.

But the good news is they’ll get all of this out of the way and start playing for real when Tennessee visits Heinz Field on Sept. 8.

Mehno can be reached at