Pittsburgh is searching for offense to take some of the pressure off a pitching staff that has carried the team for long stretches during the first five months of the season. The Pirates lead the majors with a 3.21 ERA, though there have been signs of wear and tear this month. Pittsburgh is 11-12 in August and has seen a 4-game lead over St. Louis two weeks ago turn into a virtual tie.
Byrd has been red hot since the All-Star break, hitting .311 with 11 doubles, three triples, six home runs and 20 RBIs in his last 38 games. His presence should help an offense that is batting just .244 on the year, including an abysmal .223 with runners in scoring position, the second-lowest average in baseball.
Ironically, it was Marlon Byrd T-shirt night on Tuesday in New York as the Mets hosted the Philadelphia Phillies.
The 19-year-old Herrera is hitting .265 with 11 home runs and 56 RBI for Class A West Virginia. He played in the All-Star Futures Game last month at Citi Field. The Mets assigned Herrera to their Class A Savannah farm club and he will participate in the South Atlantic League playoffs.
Mets General Manager Sandy Alderson said he did not regret waiting until late August to trade Byrd rather than at the non-waiver deadline.
"At the end of July, it was a 29-team market. Now, it was a one-team market,'' Alderson said. "We felt we got a better package now than in July.''
Regardless of when the deal was done, Pittsburgh general manager Neal Huntington was happy with it.
"The cost wasn't cheap because we gave up a good prospect and the second player is also going to be a good piece,'' Huntington said. "But our goal is to push this club forward and play deep into October, just not get there.''
Both teams made a series of roster moves in tandem with the trade.
The Mets selected the contract of outfielder Matt den Dekker from Triple-A Las Vegas and also recalled catcher Anthony Recker and left-hander Robert Carson from Las Vegas. Ace pitcher Matt Harvey on the 15-day disabled list with a tear in his right elbow.
The Pirates cleared spots on the 40-man roster by designating infielder/outfielder Russ Canzler for assignment and recalling right-hander Kyle McPherson from Triple-A Indianapolis and placing him on the 60-day disabled list. McPherson underwent ligament reconstruction surgery on his right elbow July 10.
Pittsburgh will make corresponding 25-man roster moves Wednesday.