Amidst the last three weeks of trade rumors, one Chicago Cubs player’s name has fallen by the wayside: Marlon Byrd.
Recall that, earlier this year, Byrd’s name routinely popped up in trade rumors. As a relatively productive, inexpensive, quality guy who is under contract through 2012, Byrd made sense for a number of teams looking to add an outfielder.
And then he got hit in the face.
Naturally, the rumors died down as Byrd rehabbed. But then, Byrd came back as productive as ever, and the rumors never picked back up. Why?
I’ve speculated that it could be that, although the Cubs want to open up two spots in the outfield (for Tyler Colvin and Brett Jackson), they’d prefer to do so by dealing Kosuke Fukudome (done) and Alfonso Soriano (unlikely). If they could move those two, the Cubs might prefer to hang onto Byrd, despite his obvious value in this market. Byrd could serve as a mentor to the other two players in 2012 (and, theoretically, would himself remain a productive player worth keeping).
But, as the trade deadline approaches, maybe the Cubs will be forced to rethink their position. Byrd could almost certainly net a solid prospect or two from the teams who missed out on Carlos Beltran and miss out on Hunter Pence or BJ Upton. Behind those two, he would be the best outfielder available on the market by my quick calculation (unless Carlos Quentin is, in fact, available).
As if sensing that the rumors about him had died down, Byrd joked (?) at Fukudome’s farewell press conference: “Take me, too.”
Whether he was kidding or not, and as much as I love Byrd as a player, the Cubs should strongly consider taking him up on the request.