Marlon Byrd has had a fairly successful time as a Chicago Cub. After a couple surprisingly good years in Texas (where many players put up surprisingly good numbers), the Cubs gave Marlon Byrd a healthy three-year, $15 million deal before the 2010 season.
Byrd’s number did not fall particularly hard, and his defense may have even improved in his two years with the Cubs. Byrd has been a positive influence in the clubhouse (one out-of-character incident notwithstanding), and is a fan favorite. Ultimately, the Marlon Byrd deal has proved one of Jim Hendry’s better moves.
That said, Byrd is owed $6.5 million next year, just turned 34, and is currently manning a position most believe is ticketed for the Cubs’ top prospect, Brett Jackson. Further, Byrd’s production with runners on base this year has been as bad as ever.
With Jackson on the cusp of ML-readiness, there’s a fair chance the Cubs could look to trade Byrd in the offseason. And Byrd knows it.
Yet, even with the knowledge that the Cubs might look to dump him, he’s still thinking about what’s best for the Cubs.
“It’s a business,” Byrd said recently when asked about his future with the Cubs. “I want them to do what’s best for the organization. If it’s best for the organization to move me and bring back another piece because of my trade value, then [do it]. But if they’re just trying to get rid of me and get nothing back, I don’t see that helping the organization.”
Still, it doesn’t sound like Byrd actually wants to leave.
“A new regime is coming and they may think differently and maybe they want to bring their guy in,” he said. “You never know, but I think my name in baseball is good enough. I play hard, and whoever [is hired] … you know I’m giving 100 percent.”
No one will ever question Byrd’s heart or effort – and, for the most part, his defense in center field and offensive numbers (aside from the production issues this year) are solid. If Byrd is dealt this Winter, it will have a great deal less to do with Byrd’s ability than the Cubs’ need to restructure their roster.
Of course, if the Cubs are looking for a role model for those young players with whom they’d like to restructure, you couldn’t find much better than Byrd. If Alfonso Soriano is dealt, there will be at least one spot for Jackson already, and dealing Byrd may prove unnecessary.
That said, if he is dealt, Byrd has only one word of caution.
“Just make sure you bring in a piece to make this organization better,” Byrd said, “because I want it to be better than it was before I got here.”
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