FanPost

The 100 Greatest Royals of All-Time - #89 Paul Byrd

The 89th Greatest Royal is Paul Byrd


Paul spent almost two decades portraying Dr. Frasier Crane on "Cheers" and "Frasier"

Royals Review Remembers Paul Byrd

Paul Byrd is a native of Louisville, Kentucky and attended St. Xavier in Louisville before going on to pitch at Louisiana State University. There, he was part of the 1991 College World Series champions. That June, he was selected in the fourth round of the draft by the Cleveland Indians. After five seasons in the minor leagues, the Indians dealt him to the New York Mets in a trade involving Jeromy Burnitz.

Paul Byrd was pretty much a replacement-level pitcher for the first seven years of his major league career. He bounced around the NL East from New York to Atlanta to Philadelphia, only once making twenty starts in a season. In his one full healthy season, he was an All-Star, but won just four games after the All-Star break and ended with a 4.60 ERA. In 2001, his injuries and ineffectiveness got him exiled to the Siberia of baseball - Kansas City.

The Royals acquired the thirty-year old Byrd in a mid-season trade for oft-injured reliever Jose Santiago. He had gone just 2-10 with a 6.69 ERA with Philadelphia since his 1999 All-Star season, so there was little reason to think he'd be much of an improvement over the existing rotation of Jeff Suppan, Chad Durbin, Chris George, and Kris Wilson.

But he did pitch well, giving the Royals quality starts in eight of his fifteen starts. He finished 6-6 with a 4.05 ERA, and if you take out a six run, one inning appearance in Houston, his ERA drops to 3.51. Most impressive was his pair of consecutive one run complete games in July on the road in Seattle and Chicago.

His strong finish to 2001 gave Byrd a leg-up on a rotation spot in 2002. He had an awful spring training, but manager Tony Muser stuck with him, mostly because the other options were not appealing. He rewarded the manager's faith by giving the Royals victories in his first four starts, all quality starts, capped off by a complete game shutout against Detroit. By Memorial Day, Byrd was 8-2 with a 2.88 ERA with quality starts in eight of his eleven appearances. He had also developed a cult following with some fans donning beaks and wings to form the "Byrd's Nest".

Byrd was a free agent at the end of the season, and was a sought-after commodity for contenders at the trade deadline. The Braves, Giants, Cardinals, Mariners, Mets, Blue Jays, Red Sox, Reds were all rumored to be interested. Some of the trade rumors included:

    * Byrd to Cincinnati for P Dustin Moseley

    * Byrd to New York Mets in a three way trade with P Aaron Heilman to Toronto and 2B Orlando Hudson to Kansas City

    * Byrd to Atlanta for 2B Marcus Giles

But in the end, no deal was made.

"I can tell you we explored every avenue," Baird says. "We tried to be creative. We tried all sorts of things. But the bottom line is, we weren't going to just trade Paul Byrd without getting an impact player who could help us opening day next year.

"Could we have gotten low-level prospects? Yes. Could we have gotten a couple of backup infielders? Yes. But the value that Paul Byrd brings to the ballclub, the value that Paul Byrd brings to the fans, I was not going to do that."

Byrd's performance tapered off after his great start, but he still managed to finish tenth in the league in wins with seventeen. It was made all the more impressive considering the Royals ended up losing 100 games that year. He led the league in complete games with seven, led the league in WHIP (walks plus hits per inning pitched), was second in the league in fewest walks per nine innings, and finished second in innings pitched.

During the season, Byrd indicated he might be willing to sign an extension with the Royals for less than market value.

"If my market value is, say, around $6 million, I'd take a third off of that and start there...Put some light incentives on it on a three-year deal and go from there,"

However, Allard Baird was not authorized to give Byrd a contract extension, and was instead ordered to trim the $47 million payroll. Byrd signed a two year $10 million deal with the Atlanta Braves, but made just nineteen starts in two seasons due to injuries.

In the end, all the Royals received for losing Paul Byrd was a free agent compensatory pick in the 2003 June Amateur draft, which they used to select Mitch Maier.

The acquisition of Paul Byrd was probably the best trade in Allard Baird regime. Unfortunately, his failure to trade the pitcher was one of many bungles during his stay that caused the Royals to become perennial 100 game losers.

This FanPost was written by a member of the Royals Review community. It does not necessarily reflect the views of the editors and writers of this site.

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join Royals Review

You must be a member of Royals Review to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Royals Review. You should read them.

Join Royals Review

You must be a member of Royals Review to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Royals Review. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9351_tracker