Assuming the Chicago Cubs are able to move Milton Bradley, the plan is to slide Kosuke Fukudome back to right field, and fill the void in center field via free agency or a trade. Enter a couple meh rumors:
Free agent Marlon Byrd is certain to draw their interest.
Rudy Jaramillo, the Cubs’ new hitting coach, is a huge fan of Byrd’s from their three seasons together with the Rangers, according to major-league sources.
Byrd, 32, is seeking a multi-year contract after batting .283 for the Rangers last season with a career-high 20 homers and 89 RBIs.
Mike Cameron, 36, is another center fielder who could intrigue the Cubs. Cameron batted .250 with 24 homer and 70 RBIs for the Brewers last season, and his .795 OPS was nearly as high as Byrd’s .808. FOX Sports on MSN.
Cameron is likely to cost a great deal less than Byrd, but is just as likely to produce, and will play as good as or better defense than Byrd. All of that means that if the Cubs sign either of these guys, it will be Byrd. To a multi-year deal, when no other team was really bidding, and then he’ll regress like crazy. Because that’s what the Cubs do best.
Jim Hendry has been hot on Marlon Byrd’s trail before – even before he was a Ranger. Byrd has put together three straight solid offensive years, which not so coincidentally came in his three years in Texas. In case you were wondering, yes he does dominate at home: his career OPS+ at the Ballpark at Arlington is 133 (100 is average, 133 is very good), while his overall career OPS+ is just 99. That’s not good.
Mike Cameron, on the other hand, has hit consistently everywhere he’s played. He hasn’t had quite the recent seasons that Byrd has had, but he’s been more than solid – Cameron has not had an OPS+ under 100 in a decade. He’s also a three time Gold Glover.
Obviously, Cameron should be the choice here (if one of them must be), as he’ll come much cheaper and is more likely to not disappoint. So, again, expect to see Marlon Byrd in Cubbie Blue in 2010.