Lukewarm Stove: Cubs May Be Shopping Marlon Byrd, Working on Adrian Gonzalez Deal

As a reminder, the purpose of the Lukewarm Stove is to bring you all relevant/interesting rumors, no matter how tenuously related to the Cubs or how unlikely. And with that solid setup, we break a couple rumors.

First, a source indicates that the Cubs may be readying to shop center fielder Marlon Byrd. Moving Byrd makes some sense for the Cubs who are looking to clear both salary and a spot in the outfield for youngsters Brett Jackson and Brandon Guyer. Byrd’s contract runs through 2012, and his salary escalates to $5.5 million next year, and $6.5 million 2012. He’s also one of the few Cubs under contract who can be freely traded, and is coming off a solid year at the plate (and excellent in the field). The Braves have been mentioned as a possible destination in exchange for “young pitching.”

Second, the Cubs continue to work with the Padres on a possible Adrian Gonzalez deal, and have been discussing involving a third team, possibly the Rangers. Josh Vitters would almost certainly be included in the deal, but the two sides are having trouble finding common ground on the other pieces without including a third team.

If the Red Sox land Justin Upton, who’s been made available by the D-backs, they will bow out of the Adrian Gonzalez sweepstakes, says the source. That would make the Cubs the leading contenders.

Of course, Gonzalez’s recently-cut shoulder makes a trade that much more dicey. Jayson Stark has this to say:

Even if Adrian Gonzalez had no health questions, it was probably only about a 50-50 shot that the Padres were going to trade him this winter. But Gonzalez’s recent surgery to “clean up” the labrum area in his right shoulder downgrades those odds considerably — at least for now.

Gonzalez told the San Diego media corps this week that he should be ready to play by the end of spring training. But other clubs are hearing talk that he won’t even swing a bat until March. So that’s not what you’d call a great incentive for teams to charge in there in the next few weeks and trade three big-time prospects for this man.

“I think that complicates this for them [the Padres],” said one front-office man. “And it’s got to be a concern for any team. They can always keep him and trade him at the deadline if they’re out of it. But suppose he starts slow. & Then it gets even harder for them to get a real return.”

But if the clubs floating this talk think it means they have a shot to get Gonzalez on a discount, uh, good luck. You can expect the Padres to argue that this wasn’t a serious injury or a serious surgery, that Gonzalez was healthy enough to start every game after July 3 and that, given the kind of dollars he’ll be chasing next winter, it’s a stretch to question either his health or his motivation as heads into the biggest season of his life.

Nevertheless, we’d bet this won’t be the last time you hear about Adrian Gonzalez’s labrum between now and his first multi-homer game.

It is certainly rare that team’s trade a bounty for players who are recovering from surgery (question whether we can call this “major” surgery), but plenty of diligence can be done on the success of the surgery, the rehab plans, and the player’s eagerness to return. To the later data point, given that Gonzalez could cash in big time with a good 2011, I’m thinking the motivation will be there.

Brett Taylor is the editor and lead writer at Bleacher Nation, and can also be found as Bleacher Nation on Twitter and on Facebook.

21 responses to “Lukewarm Stove: Cubs May Be Shopping Marlon Byrd, Working on Adrian Gonzalez Deal”

  1. Kenny L.

    Three-team deals make things very complicated and less likely to happen.

    Like the Byrd trade rumor, though.

    1. pfk

      Yes, it does sound intriguing but its also about things other than the numbers a guy puts up. Byrd is the one Cub who will run through a wall to win a game. The “chemistry” factor cannot be overlooked. And if there is one clubhouse in baseball without chemistry, its the Cubs. It’s tempting on the Byrd thing but Jackson and the others are a long way from ready and I think Byrd gives so much leadership, I’d hate to see him go.

      1. Serio

        This is like the DeRosa trade. Cub fans are still crying about it, but you know what….The Cubs got Chris Archer in that deal. The 2011 Cubs are rebuilding why keep Byrd PFK? Trade Byrd free up some money and see what you can get.

        1. pfk

          I hear ya. Its tempting. But Byrd brings something to the table no other Cub does – leadership. Yes, the Cubs got Archer but that deal was 2 years ago and Archer still hasn’t thrown a pitch in the bigs. And actually, I think getting rid of DeRosa may have been the single biggest contributor to the Cubs not repeating in 2009. It zapped them for leadership and covering for Ramirez and others. I’m all for rebuilding this year and next. If they can do it keeping Byrd I think it would be best. Then, with guys like Jackson and Guyer having one more year to get ready, they could unload him at the end of 2011. Hey, if they get rid of him for some great talent, then OK – provided they come up with an on-field leader. Guess I’m open to all possibilities. I’ve just talked myself out of my own position on the matter!

          1. Serio

            I feel ya a little PFK, but i think the biggest contributor to the Cubs not repeating in 2009 was BAD baseball. DeRosa was an ok player. Cub fans(me as well at the time) thought DeRosa was like the Best cub ever…he was just ok

  2. pfk

    I wasn’t one of those that thought DeRosa was the best Cub ever but he could play about every position and play it well defensively. Plus he had a decent stick in the .280 -.290 range with some pop. And, you just knew Ramirez would get hurt and you knew Soriano would be hurt and they had no second baseman and were short in the outfield. He filled in everywhere. Now, we have Jeff Baker!! Ugh! After the Giants won the World Series they said the thing that really turned it around for them was the meeting DeRosa and Renteria called. The Cubs don’t have a Renteria or DeRosa. They have those “Lead by example” types. I would like a “get in your face” type.

  3. pfk

    With all this talk of rebuilding, who they should trade and who they should get in free agency, etc., to me the bigger question is, “Who should be making these decisions?” I’m not totally down on Hendry but I’m scared and not super confident in him either. A couple of more bad decisions now and they could be screwed for another 3-4 years – at least.

    1. Serio

      Yeah Hendry has to get this right. Hes bad & pig headded, his way or no way. And you right with this “rebuilding” going on the question is CAN he get this right. Im really not sure, has he ever had to rebuild

  4. KB

    With Byrd, the “sell high” thing comes into play.
    He’s not going to get better.
    He’s almost certainly going to regress.
    We apparently need the money we’re spending on him.
    We have young guys at his position who need playing time.
    We likely won’t contend, and need a rebuilding year.

    I think all of these factors outweigh his considerable positives as a clubhouse guy and a grinder. I’m not at all belittling those things, just saying that they won’t be that important to a team that likely won’t be in the race.

    1. Larry

      I have to agree with your ideas on Byrd. He isn’t going to get any better and he is really about the only every day player that has a movable contract. I have heard speculation that Jackson could be ready early in the season, if so moving Byrd is the only way to get him or Guyer a chance to play. No one is going to take Soriano’s contract, even if the Cubs offer to pay 75% of it.

      The Cubs have some good young talent coming through the system right now, but I am a little leery of getting too excited about it, they have a horrible record of over-hyping their talent and finding that the players turn out to be a huge bust. Pie and Patterson are just two that leap to mind.

      I would much rather see the Cubs work out a buyout with Soriano, maybe defer 25% of his money, with interest, just to get rid of him, but I doubt that will ever happen. (I’d also love to see them do it with Silva and Grawbow too.)

  5. pfk

    OK, OK, I’ve changed my mind. Get rid of Byrd, save the money, give a kids a chance. Now, changing subjects…I think Quade will be a great manager for a re-building team. I also think he is just what they need to get to a Series. He’s a bit goofy, fun, lose, never too high, never too down. The Chicago media won’t get to him as it does to others, which then gets transmitted to the dugout and makes it uptight. He’s also there with them throwing batting practice and working hard. I’ve got a good feeling about him. But then, I had a good feeling about Felix Pie and Walt “Moose” Moryn – anyone remember him?

    1. Serio

      Haha PFK i love ya! Also i like this Chris Davis idea

  6. art

    Byrd isn’t taking you to the WS with his leadership. not knocking him, just think it’s best to trade him now while he has some value. his average year at 33, hustle, and talking up players didn’t get Soriano or Aram to play better. I believe he’s being over rated by Cub fans. just my opinion.

    make room for the kids and build for 2012. try for Gonzalez and see what we have. just don’t over pay just cause he’s A. Gonzalez. energy, hustling, good baseball is leadership and contagious.

  7. umpirejim

    In there dreams this team not making any move like that. What about all this talk of putting money into scouting and player development. We still got 5 deadbeats to get rid of before we go anywhere. One of them is Hendry ! Don’t forget the Cub Convention
    in Janruary ! Ya right, If your a REAL Cub fan you go no where near that place. They be just blowing more hot smoke up your As_.

  8. CubsFanatic

    Would you guys do Byrd to the Rangers for Davis and a prospect then deal Davis and two mid level prospects or one good prospect for Adrian? I think that seems like a pretty fair deal. It replaces the 1B that Cubs and Padres would lose otherwise, and I’ve heard the Padres like Davis. Plus Byrd is back in a familiar club and I’m sure the team would welcome him back.