Is it just my misimpression or is the majority of AN down on Eric Byrnes? I've always thought he's been overvalued and have found it hard to forgive him for not touching the plate, a play that seemed completely in keeping with his erratic character. And yet this year I'm growing to see his value to the team much more.
The A's have finally seemed to realize that Eric isn't a full-time player; he's a reserve outfielder who mashes lefties, can play left and center (yes, with glove perpetually shaking and, yes, with the ball never quite finding the webbing), and can even pinch run. He's a good presence, full of real energy, willing to crash into or go through a wall for the team.
This kind of player has real value on a 25-man roster. And Byrnes has shown this value during the streak. He hit Buehrle both times, lacing a double on Saturday. The White Sox were avoiding him by the end of the series; they pulled pitchers for him and Kielty. He mashed a home run against Chacin (who was really on that night), and if you're like me, with Harden on the hill you thought that was the ballgame. And against the Giants in the Saturday game of the series here he made two signature catches (read: not as spectacular as they seem, but still pretty damn good).
I'm not so high on trading him as I once was. I think he fills his role well. And I think the role has a place in our success.