Yesterday, I wondered openly why Chicago Cubs’ center fielder Marlon Byrd – who was once the frequent subject of trade rumors – wasn’t coming up lately as teams scramble to add a bat before the deadline.

With Carlos Beltran and now Hunter Pence off the market, why wouldn’t a team be interested in Byrd, who is playing great defense, is as productive as ever, and is under contract relatively inexpensively through 2012?

Well, it sounds like the Braves might be interested. From the Atlanta Journal Constitution:

The Braves were among a handful of teams pursuing the most-coveted hitter on the trade  market, Houston Astros All-Star outfielder Hunter Pence, but he was traded to rival Philadelphia on Friday night for a package that included the Phillies’ top hitting prospect and top pitching prospect.

The Astros’ asked for two of the Braves’ “big four” pitching prospects, a group that includes Julio Teheran, Arodys Vizcaino, Randall Delgado and lefty Mike Minor. The Braves wouldn’t include Mike Minor in a deal for three-month rental Carlos Beltran last week, and refused to part with two of those arms in a deal for Pence.

The Braves also have had discussions with the Chicago White Sox about outfielder Carlos Quentin, whose 20 homers and 62 RBIs would be team-highs for Atlanta. But the Sox are in a tight race in the American League  Central and might hang on to Quentin.

There are less-expensive corner-outfield options the Braves have considered, including San Diego’s Ryan Ludwick and Oakland’s Josh Willingham.

They’ve also discussed to varying degrees several center fielders including Astros standout Michael Bourn (though he bats left-handed), enigmatic Tampa Bay talent B.J. Upton and the Chicago Cubs’ Marlon Byrd.

You can almost undoubtedly set aside any dreams you might have about the Cubs landing one of those big four pitching prospects (unless the Cubs included more than Byrd), but given Atlanta’s need and Byrd’s value, a decent return is more than plausible. But, keep in mind, as noted in the article, the Braves do still have a number of options.

The bigger question, perhaps, is whether the Cubs would deal Byrd. Given the Kosuke Fukudome trade, and the Cubs’ open desire to be rid of Alfonso Soriano, would the Cubs really risk entering 2012 with an outfield of Tyler Colvin, Brett Jackson, and “Question Mark”?

These, however, are the kinds of deals the Cubs need to be strongly considering today and tomorrow. Teams aren’t going to come calling for the Cubs’ castoffs – they will only want valuable players, and those are the same players the Cubs might want to keep.

  • hansman1982

    Just throw in Blake “The Franchise” Dewitt and we will get all 4 of them!

  • skitsketchjeff

    Great blog. I’m glad to hear there is some interest in Byrd. I think the natural hesitation among teams with Byrd is 1.) he’s a PED poster child (as your great accompanying 2009 Sun-Times photo gawdily illustrates), 2.) he’s a single-doubles hitter, 3.) he’s an average CF in terms of range and jumps on balls, and 4.) his contract was backloaded so he’s owed another $8.5 million for the rest of this year and next. But he should be tradable to a team not needing massive power numbers and liking a veteran mentality. My hope was to have packaged Byrd with a Sean Marshall to the Yankees for Brett Jackson and a prospect, or to the Red Sox for their young No. 5 starter Michael Bowden and a prospect like Jose Iglesias. But Hendry either has no vision for the need to improve this team through speed and defense next year, or the owner isn’t allowing him to trade players like Marshall so as to leave some trade chips for a new GM to work with this off-season. I hope it’s the latter.

    • awesome

      if we get this “Brett Jackson” the Yankees have, we’ll have 2 Brett Jackson’s in the OF in 2012. ? personally I’d like to get that Brett Gardner the Yankees have.

      • Jeff

        I wouldn’t give up Sean Marshall for him.

  • Dean

    It’s unfortunate the Cubs’ minor league system is so bad they are unable to get in on any of these deals, Hunter Pence, MIchael Bourn, BJ Upton would all be a tremendous upgrade over anything the Cubs have in the outfield.

    I don’t believe for a second the Cubs can win this year…or next. However, these are all young and players who you can win with down the road. However, while the Phillies and Braves actually have prospects to trade, the Cubs’ minor league system remains incredibly limited with very few true, top-flight prospects.

    Ricketts has to gut bait with Hendry or he his going to have a mutiny on his hands.

    • Andy

      There would be no point in using any prospects to go after a guy like beltran or pence or anyone. Even if you added the best player in baseball to the Cubs they would still be bat. Save the prospects, build for the future

      • Andy

        ***still be BAD, not Bat :)

  • cubs

    The CUBS have a chance to cut bait on the veterans, call up the youngsters and let them play the rest of the year, this gives the CUBS a great look as to what you have to build on for the future, who can or cant play, Ricketts needs to tell Hendry explore every trade possibility for (Ram,Z,Soriano,Dempster,Marmol,Byrd,Soto,Pena etc) for the ones with no-trade Im sure the $$$$$$ will help change their minds

  • die hard

    trade him….Braves have deepest minor league system….Campana to center

  • Patrick

    This may seem off topic but what are the chances Carlos Pena gets traded? His name hasn’t come up a lot lately and we could get a couple decent prospects for him.

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