The plan hasn't worked out quite as planned, for either Paul Byrd or the Red Sox.
Byrd's idea was that for the first time in his 13-year big league career he would spare his family from picking up and moving, spurning free agent offers this offseason with the notion that a team might be interested in signing the 38-year-old pitcher sometime near the conclusion of the school year.
And if a team did jump in and see the value of inking Byrd prior to Tuesday's draft, the Red Sox would be awarded what would have likely been the 50th overall pick since the righty hurler was offered arbitration by the Sox after being classified as a 'Type B' free agent.
But when Byrd did have his agent, Bo McKinnis, let it be known to teams about three weeks ago that he was ready, willing and able to jump back into the major league fray, the silence was deafening... and, from the pitcher's point of view, certainly unexpected.
"I thought I would have been picked up in two weeks because I finished off year so well last year and it's such a game of what have you done for me lately," said Byrd from his Atlanta-area home. "I know I haven't had the best last couple of years, but I still feel like I can really, really help somebody out. I feel like I can bring a lot to the table, with my veteran presence and stuff like that. I felt like if I went to a team that plays good defense, because I'm going to put the ball in play, I felt like I could really help somebody out. But I haven't had somebody interested and that has really surprised me."
Byrd said he had talked to Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein about a month ago to offer an update, but as the draft drew closer both sides came to understand that the reality of a major league deal being signed prior to Tuesday wasn't likely.
Byrd's hope of hooking on with a team hasn't faded one bit, as he continues to work out by throwing to nearby college catchers. But he also doesn't have a single regret when it comes to looking back at how it all unfolded.
After finishing the 2008 season with a combined 11-12 mark and 4.60 ERA between Cleveland and Boston, Byrd understands he could be either playing with one of the organizations that offered him deals in the offseason, or perhaps earning what would have been the money settled on if he accepted arbitration fro the Red Sox.
But after moving more than 55 times as a pro ballplayer, Byrd understood there had to be a process. So he talked with his wife, had the family take a vote, and ultimately settled into his current path, with the understanding that it could lead him to coach traveling team youth baseball the rest of the summer, or eventually back to a major league mound.
"This was the first year that my family could not come with me, and that is why I elected to stay home," said Byrd, who pointed out that his 11- and 12-year-old sons had switched schools, so the family couldn't pull them out and finish the year with a traveling tutor like previous seasons. "I don't know if that gets misinterperted and people start thinking my heart wasn't in it and I'm just trying to do the Roger Clemens thing. But that isn't the case at all.
"Our family has always made a vow to stick together. It broke my heart because I love playing baseball, but I love my family, too. My agent said, 'Hey, everybody needs pitching. Maybe not in April because everybody is excited about their guys. But by the end of May, beginning of June everybody is looking for pitching. So I really didn't think nobody would be interested. If I fell flat on my face last year, it would be something. But I finished up strong, so I put my name out there, but nobody was interested."
So until that call comes, Byrd will continue to throw, coach, spread the live lessons documented in his book, 'Free Byrd', at a various college speaking engagements, and perhaps even start another literary project.
"I'm enjoying it," he said, "it's been fun. But I would love to play again."