Veteran pitcher Paul Byrd is 38 years old and believes he still has a little left in his old right arm. He also hates spending so much time away from his family during baseball season.
He finished the 2008 season with the Red Sox as a serviceable option at the back-end of the rotation. A free agent, he claims there have been some nice offers, but that he's tired of being away from home for so long.
"I got some really nice offers. That's what made it hard," Byrd said. "Nice offers from very competitive, big-time teams that just need someone to fill in at the back end of their rotation. I also got an offer or two from small-market teams that said they wanted me to come in and be their No. 1 or 2 guy.
"That doesn't appeal to me. I wouldn't mind being in a grandfather role, teaching other people. But I was one game away from the World Series two years in a row (with the Indians in '07 and the Red Sox in '08).
On the flip side, apparently his kids haven't been playing their favorite sports in school because the Byrds pull them out of school and hire private educators. Also, his wife, Kym, has put her career on hold. This is all done so that they can spend more time together as a family.
So, instead of going through all that, the plan this season is going to be for Byrd to hang around home and stay in pitching shape. All the while the Byrd family will get to lead a "normal" life. Then, as the pennant race approaches, Byrd is hoping a World Series contender -- preferably one close to his Georgia home -- will have the need for one extra starting pitcher.
This isn't quite the Roger Clemens plan. There won't be a bidding war, nor will there be special treatment requested or an incredible amount of fanfare. Byrd just wants the best of both worlds: A solid family life, while still getting to the World Series.
Of course, this is also quite a stretch. I understand that teams get desperate for help down the stretch, but this is a guy who has never really been much above average in his best moments. He's 38 and he'll have to work his way into game shape after he's signed -- not to mention the way he's narrowed his list of potential teams geographically. While wanting to spend more time with his family is admirable, it doesn't seem like the wisest decision for his professional career.