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.”

  • ottocub

    If Byrd stays, how does this sound for a rebuilding year (and money saving) 2012 Starting line-up?

    C : Geo Soto (or Castillo if they can find a trade)
    1B : Bryan LaHair
    2B : Darwin Barney
    3B : Aramis Ramirez
    SS : Starlin Castro
    LF : Marlon Byrd
    CF : Brett Jackson
    RF : Tyler Colvin

    The OF bench could include Soriano and Campana. The IF bench can include DeWitt, maybe Baker, and LeMahieu.

    They won’t win the division with this line-up (unless they get 2 or 3 outstanding starting pitchers in the free-agent market, and win SanFran style). But, to me, this seems like a decently competitive re-building year line-up that would give a lot of young players the opportunity to prove themselves. And it would give the new GM some salary to play with in 2013 when Ramirez, Byrd, and Dempster’s contracts are up.

    • Brett

      With the stated intention of rebuilding and saving cash for the year, I could absolutely be into that lineup (though I’d argue that they might as well let Ramirez go, too). It won’t win anything, but that might be the case anyway.

      • hansman1982

        agree, I would give the OD 3b job to the winner of the ST battle between DJLM/Flaherty

        Also go into spring with only Garza and Dempster having set jobs in the rotation

      • ottocub

        I think it is important, even in a re-building year, to keep a vet at one of the two corner infield positions. Peña seems the better choice as a mentor/clubhouse guy, and at first base he can save a young infield a lot of errors. But there are a couple reasons Ramirez might be a better choice: the Cubs don’t have a replacement in their system who can hit for the same average and drive in runs like Ramirez can; and Ramirez is already under contract for 2012. So unless the Cubs can get something for him in trade I think they be best off keeping him next year as they rebuild.

        I agree with Hansman that the only set starters should be Garza and Dempster, unless the Cubs pick another starter up in a winter trade.

        • MichiganGoat

          Pena is only hitting .150ish with RISP, there no amount of “clubhouse guy” that over shadows that level of suckitude with RISP. Basically if we bring him back we are saying here is 10M to be a swell guy in the clubhouse but pathetic with the bat.

          • ottocub

            Agree totally, MichiganGoat.

            If the Cubs decide to keep a veteran in the infield next year, that’s another reason to choose Ramirez instead of Peña.

            As much as I groan when I see Ramirez’s apparent lack of hustle and apathetic attitude, he is still one of the best offensive third-basemen in the NL based on statistics alone.

  • CubFan Paul

    Byrd will be more valuable at the trade deadline next year than this offseason ..there’s no reason to believe he won’t rebound from this horrible RISP year ..and at $6.5million and Soriano’s rumored exit/buyout/release no new GM will get rid of Byrd/a vetern this offseason unless the new GM is Jesus & he works miracles on the roster that rival blood into wine, 1st borns dying and surviving a crucifixion

    2012 Outfield prediction: Byrd, B-Jax, &Colvin/Michael Cuddyer or Kubel (I dont think Minnesota keeps both)
    Backups: Colvin, Reed the Steed with his bad back & Campana

    • Brett

      “Byrd will be more valuable at the trade deadline next year than this offseason.”

      That’s not necessarily true for a variety of reasons. First, a season’s worth of Byrd is worth more than a half season. But, more to the point I believe you’re making (players are more valuable at the trade deadline because the competitors have shaken themselves out, injuries have happened, and teams sometimes pay more midseason to keep themselves in the race), Byrd could come out of the gate unproductive, or worse, unhealthy.

      We can’t assume he’ll be more valuable at some unknown future time. If the right offer comes along, the Cubs have to pull the trigger now. If it doesn’t, then you’re right – the Cubs, if they’re fortunate, should still be able to move him mid-season.

      • CubFan Paul

        agreed, thats what I was getting at but didnt say, but I dont see good enough offer for a guy with only 30rbi, thats why I think he’ll be back and hopefully rebounds with a 60-80rbi season

      • JulioZuleta

        Keep in mind that as of right now, Marlon Byrd projects as a type A. That said, if next season is another 30 RBI year, he will lose that status, but as of now, I think you can ask for a prospect that is of equal value to a 1st round compensation round pick

  • Spencer

    Every time I see that picture of Byrd I wonder how he isn’t jacking 40 homers a season.

    • CubFan Paul

      we all do ..if he doesn’t want to be anything more than a bench warmer after next year i expect him to work on/change his swing/try didn’t roids this offseason because his .401 SLG% is embarassing to have Guns that big

    • Bails17

      Just look at his swing…he gets very little out of his lower half and he has very little to no load at all.  It is a singles swing on a man built to hit for power.  He does hit SOME HR’s and extra base hits because he is so strong in his upper body.

      • HotRuta

        So where’s our world-class hitting coach when you really need him? Now’s the time to experiment …


    I would like a 2012 lineup that reflects a total youth movement.  So, no Soto; no A-Ram; no Dempster; etc.  Hopefully a GM who is a good talent evaluator will ID the proper players to keep and develop, and we eventually see a payoff from all the money invested in the draft.  I don’t want to see the Cubs hang on to players too long and then pay for it by getting less in trades.

  • 1060Ivy

    The Cubs need to rebuild but giving up before a season begins with as much money as the Cubs have coming off the books with a new GM at the helm is not quite the way to retain its fan base.

    No, this squad is not a couple of pieces away from competing but that roster represents a race between the Astros and Cubs to see which team can lose 100 games sooner.

    No way does Ricketts give the green light to it unless he wants to see even more empty seats in Wrigley for years to come.

    • CubFan Paul

      100% agreed ..this isn’t kansas city

  • RY

    Wow really marlon, as great as you have played this year im sure a ton of teams will be begging for your services. ottocub, i like that lineup but in a true rebuild, aram will be long gone, but that is money saved to throw at pitching; cj wilson looks better and better with every start!

  • baseballet

    Larry, I agree that the 2012 lineup should reflect a total youth movement. The Cubs should have tried to move Ramirez, Pena and Byrd before the trade deadline when their value was high. But it seems that the Cubs are determined to hold onto their older, productive players to avoid losing 100 next season.
    The Cubs need to keep their eyes on the prize. The goal should not be to avoid finishing last next season, but rather to win the World Series in three seasons. You don’t achieve that by letting old players (who won’t be part of the team in two years) hold onto their roster spots.
    The Cubs should have traded anyone who doesn’t project to be part of a World Series team down the road in return for some prospects who might. We all like Byrd and Pena because they’re great guys and good for clubhouse psyche. But we need to keep our eyes on the prize and get a core group of young players in place.

  • ricosanto

    I hope they can trade him, BUT would you pay 6.5 mill for 28 rbi. I know he was hurt
    and he is a hustling, good clubhouse guy but he is not even close to anykind of run producer.He had 1/2 of a good year since he has been here.

    • amoo22

      28 rbis batting 3rd and 4th and 5th a lot…. so sad

  • Cheryl

    And what about LaHair? If he continues like he is now there will have to be room for him. Rather than have the cubs go after a marquis first baseman I’d prefer they concentrate on the best pitching available. LaHair may be better in fielding than most people think. If it takes Vogelbach or one of the other first basemen they drafted four years to make the majors, have LaHair play first.

    • willis

      Too small of a sample size thus far but I have liked what I have seen from him. He needs as many ABs as anyone these next 2-3 weeks. Why the hell pay $10 million or so for a guy to hit .220 (pena) when you can have LaHair do exactly the same, maybe better, for nowhere near that cost?

      I say that in a “rebuilding” sense and a “we ain’t going after Fielder” sense. Obviously my first choice would be Fielder or Pujols manning 1B for years to come, but I don’t feel as if Ricketts will green light that big of a move. I don’t buy Pena. Nice guy, good defender, but not worth the money.

  • Chris

    The Cubs should never go into a full rebuild in my opinion, not with the money they have. I really like the idea of going after CJ Wilson. Him, paired with Garza make a nice 1-2. Dempster is still a very viable 3 or 4 and Wells, Cashner and any other prospects or potential FA can battle for the remaining 2 spots. That all being said, if they did get Wilson then they need to get some bats. To go into a rebuild mode while Garza and Wilson (if they could get him) are in their prime years would be a waste. I’m all for infusing some youth into this team, just not everywhere. i think a couple of key bats along with the youth in certain spots could be very successful. Been reading this site for quite awhile and really like what you all have to say.

  • philoe beddoe

    LaHair deserves a chance…yes he will be 29 next season…yes he played in the PCL…but look at his career and it’s odd he didn’t get more of a shot…

    2008 .250 3HRs in 120 plus ABs for SEA at age 25…yes not very impressive, but with his next 3 years in minors, very odd he didn’t get another chance

    2009 .883 OPS 26 HRS .289 AVG
    2010 .942 OPS 25 HRS .308 AVG
    2011 1.070 OPS 38 HRS .331 AVG
    keep in mind they only get around 450 or so ABs in the minors….I am all for giving this guy a shot at 1B…I say equal to or better than Pena for 440,000 as opposed to 10 mil…spend on pitching

    • Brett

      It’s either odd that he didn’t get more of a shot, or telling.

      • philoe beddoe

        I agree, but I don’t know what would tell them he couldn’t produce when his numbers were that good…I could see if he came up and was overmatched…or maybe they are banking on him being just a PCL sensation..

        maybe I am just drinking the kool aid with this guy, but nobody has ever produced those numbers at Iowa…

        if you platooned him with a right handed hitter…I think you would get 30 HRs out of the position next year…at a cheap cost

  • Dean

    Marlon Byrd has very little trade value. He’s had a bad year in terms of run production and he turns 35 next season. Also, he has declined each of the last two years and there’s no reason to believe there will be any improvement in 2012.

    If you think there would be some return, ask yourself this question: what would you be willing to give up from the Cubs’ roster to get Marlon Byrd?

    • Brett

      Well put. I do think Byrd can return something of value, though, to a team with medium-ish playoff aspirations, and a short-term need in CF. He’ll still play good defense, and hit moderately well next year for a fair price.

      • EQ76

        He’s also relatively cheap… yes his lack of run production hurts.. he’s also a .300 hitter who could improve those run prod. numbers in a better lineup.  I think we can get a moderate prospect or two.. we could also package Byrd for a better deal…  how about Marmol & Byrd traded in a package?

    • awesome

      Soriano, yessssss.

  • alsecord

    I’m ready to take the abuse, so here goes. I want big Z back next year, he may not be an ace type any longer but a solid #2, has a passion and fire for the game(unlike Q-ball), and by trading him the Cubs will eat the majority of his salary. Jim Hendry, Uncle Lou and Q-ball are/were not the disiplinarian types to keep Z in line, all the veterans ran all over them collecting their pay and not caring, unlike Z. A new GM, a new manager, a new pitching coach and a different code of conduct, I believe, will eliminate his erratic behavior. Sometimes the best trades are the ones you don’t make.

    • EQ76

      aslecord – I think you’re half crazy, half right.  From a team aspect, he acted like a baby for the hundredth time and apparently the clubhouse is sick of him..

      having said that, the media hates big Z, and has for quite some time.. I can’t stand the pompous media’s view on him being such a problem.. he’s a dude with ability who’s shown more emotion and desire than most of the organization the past decade.. I will always applaud Z’s fire and zeal and think those who question it are idiots..

      having said that, I believe Z’s burned that bridge down to the ground.

  • Toosh

    Whatever on the field production the Cubs MIGHT get from Zambrano next season is not worth the distractions they WOULD get. He has to go.

    • 1060Ivy

      The 2012 Cubs may have more distractions than wins.

      Distractions may be the only thing the 2012 Cubs have to retain it’s fan base.

      Believe that Z burned his last bridge with the Cubs and Ricketts will be paying Z to win games for another team.

  • jt

    I would take another season of crazy Z over constantly running guys like Rodrigo Lopez out there every 5 days.

    We’re already paying him, and he’s still capable of putting up a winning record. Knock him down to the number 5 starter. Treat him like a rookie until he either gets fed up, or buckles down.

    • Nomar’s Left Glove

      Rodrigo Lopez is a batting cage pitching machine, but Z is an asshole. I’m not sure what treating him like a rookie would do. What are you going to do, make him wear the pink back pack and haze him? He’s a 6 foot 5 inch tall, 250+ pound professional athlete. Good luck with that. The issue has always been the fact that he’s a total douche nozzle and a huge distraction to the other players, do you think that gets better by hazing him?

  • Coach Justin

    At this point Marlon’s numbers cannot be compared to last year. As of today he’s played 50 less games and had about 200 less at bats. Also, let’s not forget the rest of the line up when it comes to RBIs. A recent slip in numbers does not show the value of this player. With 20 games left he is still capable of putting up totals that are consistant with the type of player he is and well worth the 6.5 he is owed. By the way, getting hit in the face with 90+mph pitch is not like pulling a muscle or some kind of strain. There is also a mental aspect to get over when comming back from that. His quick recovery and flawless transition back into the line up shows his love for this team and determination to help improve the organization. His work ethic, influence on younger players, and clubhouse presence would only further justify keeping Marlon Byrd around through next season. I hope the Cubs decision makers are more on my page than the “Fans” commenting on here.

    • TWC

      Ha!  Hey coach, are you Bizarro Ramy16?

      Sincerely, Cubs “fan” TWC.

      • MichiganGoat

        Wonder what happened to Ramy16?

        • Jeff

          He’s busy looking at houses, he might be moving soon you know.

  • Michael

    Ok, a few things. First, I’m almost ready to forget the whole Byrd/Catro thing, so if Soriano can be moved, keep Byrd. If both are moved, an established (not great) outfielder will be needed in the mix. Hell, Reed fits.
    Z. Like the guy, over the drama. Hope he’s moved. I’d be thrilled to get Inge. What about those rumors?
    I’d be thrilled with Inge for this reason: The Cubs shouldn’t pay what ARam can get on the market. He’d be more valuable as a free agent, as teams would start bidding on him and lessen focus on some FA’s that could be valuable, but pricy. If ARam going away does nothing but lower the price on Wilson or another guy that could help the Cubs start fresh by 5 million, it’d be more beneficial than trying to give him money to stay. Otherwise, I say let a powerless young guy man the position a while. Power can come from the outfield and…
    Lahair. Keep him. Keep him please. If Pena is worth the money he’ll get, he won’t show that value to a rebuilding team.
    Now to throw out my own idea that could bring flak. I keep up with the team, but being out of the region, I don’t see many games. So I ask, how’s the third pitch search for Marshall and Shark? IF they have that third pitch, I’m just sayin, I’d rather see durable arms get the chance to start. Cashner’s arm scares me. It’d scare ninth inning batters more.
    Also, if Wood retires (I hope he’ll wait a few years), what are the thoughts on his potential coaching ability? Not suggesting he be the next ML pitching coach, but he’s a lifer right? He clearly seems to know pitching, he’s seen the worst situations, and is certainly respected and is able to work well with others.

  • Dick

    My big problem with the Hendry years is that the Cubs almost never got anything in return when they traded veterans. We got Richie Robnett, Matthew Spencer, Jeffrey Lorick, Ronnie Morla, Jeff Gray, etc. Throw in an occasional Joey Gathright and you see why we have a 5th place team. I don’t know if you blame Hendry or the minor league scouts.

  • Toosh

    Hendry was the greatest judge of talent baseball has ever seen, so the scouts must have been to blame. And he was probably too nice of a guy to say anything.

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