San Francisco also receives cash as righty Johnson heads to Cincy
By John McGonigal
PITTSBURGH -- On the same day outfielder Hunter Pence hit the 15-day disabled list, the Giants made a move to inject offensive production in his absence, acquiring Marlon Byrd from the Reds for Double-A pitcher Stephen Johnson.
Byrd, who was hitting .237/.286/.448 with 19 home runs and 42 RBIs for Cincinnati this season, is expected to join the team and play in Friday's game against the Pirates. Giants manager Bruce Bochy said Byrd will likely play in left field, moving Nori Aoki -- a more viable defensive option -- to right.
Giants general manager Bobby Evans said the club was already looking into "a number of options," but Pence's injury sped up their timetable to acquire a bat.
The Giants' outfield took a hit even before Pence suffered his left oblique strain. Angel Pagan was placed on the disabled list Aug. 11 with right patella tendinitis, and Aoki, out with a concussion, just came off the disabled list Thursday.
That made Byrd's acquisition make sense, at least to Bochy.
"With us banged up, it's fair to say we could use some help and experience," Bochy said, "and he's going to supply that for us."
Experience is something Byrd has plenty of. This will be the ninth team he has played for in his 14-year Major League career.
He also knows how to make an impact with teams from the get-go. Byrd was traded from the Mets to the Pirates in August 2013 and helped push Pittsburgh into the playoffs.
With the Giants entering Thursday night's game just two games out of first place in the National League West standings, Byrd could provide a similar influence.
"He's been in stretch runs, so he knows what it's all about," Bochy said. "And I think he's excited to have a chance to get there."
Along with Byrd, San Francisco received cash from the Reds, presumably to offset the cost of Byrd's contract.
Byrd will make $8 million this year and has a vesting option for $8 million next season. If Byrd does not receive 550 plate appearances this season -- he has 388 thus far -- then that vesting option will become a team option.
For Byrd's services, Cincinnati picked up Johnson, a 24-year-old right-hander. While he is not ranked among San Francisco's top 30 prospects by MLB.com, Johnson is 3-0 with a 3.41 ERA in 44 relief appearances for Double-A Richmond this season.
John McGonigal is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.