The Chicago Cubs now officially and actually have a hole in their outfield following the trade of right fielder Milton Bradley. But who’s worried, what with so many quality free agent options?

Marlon Byrd and Scott Podsednik are the strongest options among free agents, sources say. Rick Ankiel, who had a difficult 2009 season with St. Louis, is a less likely option.

Byrd is coming off a career year in which he batted .283 with 20 home runs and 89 RBIs for the Rangers. Byrd, 32, has the added value of being able to play all three outfield positions.

The Cubs like the fact that Byrd is a true center fielder and hits for more power than Podsednik. However, Podsednik has three factors in his favor: He bats left-handed, hits leadoff and would be a less expensive alternative to the right-handed Byrd. FOX Sports.

Oh. Well. Now that you mention it, those don’t sound particularly attractive at all. All three are deeply flawed: Byrd hasn’t hit anywhere in his career outside of Arlington, Podsednik can’t actually play defense, and Ankiel was unbelievably awful last year.

Isn’t there another way!?!?!

Chicago GM Jim Hendry may also consider trades.

Ah ha!

One of the Yankees’ young outfielders — Melky Cabrera or Brett Gardner — could become available this offseason, depending upon how their roster evolves.

The Cubs have asked the Nationals about Nyjer Morgan, one source said, but Washington officials want to keep him.

So the best option – Morgan – isn’t really an option at all? Swell.

As for Cabrera, he’s never hit very well, but is still full of potential. He’s just 24, and he can play adequately all over the outfield. Brett Gardner is a slightly younger Sam Fuld. The best thing he’s got going for him is that he won’t make much in salary for a few years. But then again, neither will Fuld.

It sure is great that the Cubs didn’t make a serious play for Curtis Granderson.

  • Aisle 424

    Two words at the trade deadline: Carl. Crawford.

    • Ace

      The irony, you’ll note, is that, overall, Crawford isn’t that much better than Granderson. Just sayin’.

  • Kevin Gallo

    I like Gardner just because of his speed and his ability to play defense. I have a feeling feeling if given a chance to play every he would make a really good leadoff make. He is rated 80 out of 80 in speed acording to american scouting. I dont know what Fuld is rated. I would love to see them give Fuld a shot, but if they dont I think gardner is a good choice for leadoff and I dont think will cost too much in trade. Carl Crawford is going to cost a arm and a leg.

    • Ace

      Speed is only useful if the guy can actually get on base (Joey Gathright) and can actually field/throw the ball (Juan Pierre), so I tend not to concern myself with speed, alone, too much. But that’s a good point – I didn’t realize how fast Gardner was.

  • Aisle 424

    I am less enamored with the Cubs farm system than many people, so I am willing to trade guys with upside in order to get a proven outfielder who will still only be 29 in 2011. I was not so gung-ho on trading the whole farm system for Granderson, who is at this point a glorified platoon player.

    I’d like Fuld to be given a shot because if he surprises everyone, they don’t have to go out and trade for anybody to fill that role. If he fails, we’ll know he’s failed and I doubt the season will be made or broken by the fortunes of Sam Fuld being in center for a couple of months.

    • Ace

      It’s a risk, though. Fuld, alone, won’t make or break the season, but he could jack things up if he truly is just a AAAA player. But that said, I’m with you on two fronts: the free agent options do nothing for me, and I have no problem selling high on the farm system (I may have been the only Cubs fan in the universe who was willing to entertain including Starlin Castro in a deal for Curtis Granderson).