This is, perhaps, the most August trade in years. And it makes a fair amount of sense.
Byrd is a hacker. Hack hack hack. Strikes out five times for every time he walks. But he also has power. His home/road splits over the last two years suggest that his dingers aren't just a product of Philadelphia and Cincinnati. He's now tied for the home run lead on the Giants, which is swell, but his .286 OBP leaves a ton to be desired.
It's not like Mike Trout is walking through that door, though, and considering that Byrd started the year hitting .169/.188/.273 for the entire month of April, he's done well to become relevant again. Since May 1, he's hit .255/.312/.496, and his defense is somewhere between acceptable and fair enough.
You know what that makes him? An older Michael Morse who actually belongs in the outfield. Does that description appeal to you? Considering the alternative is more Justin Maxwell, I'll take it. Byrd will likely have a team option at $8 million next year that will almost certainly be declined, but he fits the Giants' roster right now.Edit: That team option is assuming he doesn't average 3.9 plate appearances for the rest of the year, which would make it a vesting option. Which is to say, please come back soon, Hunter Pence.
The Giants gave up an intriguing, but very raw, bullpen arm in Johnson, who has averaged well over a strikeout per inning in his minor league career. With that, though, he's also walked far too many better (4.9 per nine innings), which makes him the perfect kind of raffle ticket for a couple weeks of Byrd.
It's not pure molten deadline hotness, but it's sensible. Let's hope that Byrd is more Joe Carter, less Ricky Ledee, and get the dude to Pittsburgh as quickly as possible.