Today’s surprising call-up of Tony Campana certainly sounded like it was a precursor to another move. And the move might be a surprising one, though it’s been rumored here before.

The Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo is reporting that that the Red Sox, who’ve been in the market for an outfielder after losing Jacoby Ellsbury for a hearty chunk of time (and Carl Crawford has been out as well, though he’s expected back soon), are closing in on a deal for Marlon Byrd.

No word yet on what the Cubs are hoping to get in return, but it might not be much more than salary relief at this point. Byrd is an exceptional defender in center, but he looks lost at the plate. He makes $6.5 million this year in the final year of his three-year contract with the Cubs. Maybe the Cubs can send along a couple million and pick up a low-level, mediocre prospect. Or maybe they’re picking up reliever Michael Bowden, whom the Red Sox designated for assignment last week.

I’ll update this post as more details become available.

Minor Update: If Byrd is dealt, no, I don’t expect Brett Jackson to take over in center field immediately. The Cubs are still likely going to want him to get more time at AAA. June/July still seems the likely time table. Until then, Campana could get some start, as well as guys like Mather, Johnson, and Sappelt.

UPDATE: Apparently Bruce Levine is saying (via Sahadev Sharma) that he thinks the deal gets done today, and the Cubs get a left-handed reliever and a minor leaguer.

  • Ryan

    Can we send Soto with him too?

  • nkniacc13

    I hope we get Bowden back since the DFA’d him. That helps the bullpen maybe?

  • Mrp

    I think it is a huge win if we can get Bowden at this point. I was mentally prepared to get a bag of balls in return.

  • Ben

    Why didn’t they trade him in Spring Training when he did not have negative value? I know it is easy to 2nd guess but it was pretty clear he was not in the future plans.

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  • Brian

    Byrd going to Boston does’nt make a lot of sense from the Sox side of things, but hey, I am all for it if it means we don’t have to watch him continue to look lost at the plate….

  • nkniacc13

    I think it does in a way. Hes a player that can play all 3 OF postions he has played in the AL before. He maybe stuggling now but if you look at the who they are playing right now in the OF its not much better

  • nkniacc13

    Maybe Brett this is what you were saying when the Red Soxs DFA’d Bowden the Cubs could tell Bos that they’d trade for him but that Bos would need to throw in something else of the Cubs could get him for nothing?

    • Brett

      Possible, but Bowden would still have to make it through the entire AL (and Astros) on waivers before Cubs could get him. Not sure he would. Rays need bullpen help. Of course, the Cubs could use that as leverage, too.

  • Cub Gone Wild

    Bye Bye Byrdie … sorry to see you go… sorry to see you go.. hope you don’t come back again

  • nkniacc13

    I wonder if the Cubs will have to make another roster move after this deal to have Wells pitch tommorrow

  • Da_Cubs

    Updated 11:22am CDT – According to Bruce Levine (ESPN 1000), the trade is in the process of being finalized. According to Levine, the Cubs could receive a left-handed reliever, likely Justin Thomas, and a minor league outfielder

    • Brett

      Beggars can’t be choosers, but Thomas doesn’t even seem interesting as a LOOGY.

      • Kyle

        If Goldstein is right and the prospect is nothing special, then this was a pure salary dump.

        • Brett

          And I’d be fine with that, assuming there’s a fair chunk of salary dumped. If the Cubs eat $3+ million AND get nothing worth discussing back, I’ll be a bit perturbed.

          • Kyle

            I’d like to know where the money is going. Did another $5 million just go into the mysterious gap between last year’s total baseball budget and this year’s?

            • Hansman1982

              If by mysterious gap you mean cash reserves. Probably

              • Kyle

                I seriously doubt the Cubs are just sititng on an 8-figure cash reserve.

                • Hansman1982

                  God I hope they are. If they have 250m in revenue a $15m reserve is still only 3ish weeks of expenses. If I had to guess they probably have around a months worth on opening day.

            • Brett

              I’m sure that whatever is “saved” and not directly used probably goes into paying down the debt (which, yes, I know is essentially in the Ricketts’ pockets, but long-term, that helps the Cubs).

              • hansman1982

                There are a lot of good ways to spend money – not always in the talent on the field. They also have a multi-hundred-million dollar renovation they will need to spend on in the next few years. I understand when people can’t see the forest for the trees but we were told all offseason to be patient.

                • Kyle

                  If the Wrigley Field renovations are being paid for by cutting baseball expenditures, then I don’t blame the Cubs, but that makes the long-term future a lot less bright.

                  “Patient” is sometimes just code for “don’t hold us responsible for the results.”

                • FromFenwayPahk

                  I might not get all the business stuff right, but I think baseball ops cash and business ops cash don’t comingle this way, hansman. The metrics these guys hold to would get too noisy and feedback-y.

                  They can’t monitor their own successes or failures that way. It is too hard to say you’ll replace a traded player’s on-field production with new seating. That wouldn’t be depending on patience within the organization. It would be obfuscation.

                  I also believe the Ricketts hired people who want to be held “responsible” … a little credit for a job well done feels good.

                  • hansman1982

                    An extra $5M in cash reserves on the baseball side at the end of the season means that for next year’s budget you can move that $5M to the business side (or the renovation column) for the 2013 budget. I don’t think the comingle throughout the season but year over year it will make a difference.

                    • FromFenwayPahk

                      I follow you now. I have two blind spots here. One: I am counting on the Red Sox taking on ALL of Byrd’s remaining salary. Two: I have that savings in Byrd salary being spent before June 2012. Wait. Those blind spots are just rosey translucent discs. Sorry.

  • nkniacc13

    Dang was hoping that it would be Justin Thomas and Bowden

  • Njriv

    I’m glad I saw Byrd’s most likely final game as a Cub in person. He was a great guy, had a great work ethic, always hustled and is a great fielder. He had a good year in ’10, too bad he could never get back into it last year after getting hit in the face and had a slow start to the beginning of this year.

  • Jarrod C

    I think the Cubs are stupid for making this deal now. Byrd’s numbers are atrocious (obviously) and I don’t think he’s going to be batting .070 the rest of the season. He is still solid defensively, and he’ll be improving very quickly in my opinion. He’s a veteran and he will be back up to his usual self sooner rather than later (remember Aramis’ slow start yet great season a few years ago). Right now, Byrd’s numbers drive down his value. If the Cubs were to wait until he gets back on his feet, his value will skyrocket compared to what it’s at right now. However, the Sox and any other teams may not still be interested a month or two from now. So this may be our only chance. But if it is, I don’t think we should deal him. He is a liability right now whether we keep him or not. But if he improves (and he can’t get much worse), then he’ll either be of value to us, or to someone else. So the deal right now confuses me a little.

    Also, last time he played at Fenway, he broke his face. I think he may be a little scared in that batter’s box for a few weeks if he does get traded to Boston… Just sayin.

    • CastrotoBarneytoLaHair

      “he broke his face”

      After reading through your serious post, I was not expecting that. Whether you meant to or not, it made me laugh…

    • drew

      Byrds trade value isnt gonna be based on 40-something PA’s this year. At $6.5mil and over 4000 PA’s in his career, he could go 20 for his next 20 without his value being effected all that much.

  • rcleven

    Report from Boston media 6/20/2012

    “Since late April Byrd has been tearing up the ALE batting 451 & slugging at a 783 clip.”

  • Cheryl

    If Theo and Hoyer are in the clubhouse then there may be a surprising trade coming. What about Soto? Could he be involved? Not to Boston, but S.F. was interested in him at one time. Then, there may be some movement on Garza.

    • rcleven

      Sure hope we get some of SF hitters.

    • DocPeterWimsey

      Again, the situation with Soto is entirely different than with Byrd.  Now, keep in mind that the sample sizes are still too small to mean diddly-squat for anybody.  However, Byrd has been failing to get any extra base hits: and it’s gotten to the point where that is improbable.  We do have some evidence that there is something wrong with his swing.

      Soto has the number of extra-base hits that we expect.  His singles rate is exceptionally low: but the rate at which guys get singles is by far the biggest “luck” factor in batting.  Soto has had a lot of hard hit outs: just as Clevenger isn’t going to keep getting grounders to go through, Soto is not going to keep hitting them at people.

  • Matt3

    WHOA.. I don’t care what his value is at this moment, this could open up an outfield spot

  • nkniacc13

    SF was interesed when Posey went down last year I haven’t heard of any interest this year

  • Cbp

    At least if Byrd catches fire at the plate it will not be against us. Until we play him later in the season

  • Segal27

    Get that scrub out of here! I want Brett Jackson now!!!

  • FromFenwayPahk

    Still no Crawford for the Sox. Maybe Jacoby is hurt worse than they’re letting on, too. And yesterday his replacement’s replacement, Repko, went pretty hard into the left field wall; bad enough that you could see the pain in Repko’s next at bat 25 minutes later.
    The Sox may be desperate enough to take on Byrd’s salary. Now, the fun question is how will the Cubs re-deploy 5 million in salary?

    • nkniacc13

      first of all until we find out how much the Cubs eat we don’t know how much the Cubs saved. Maybe if Soler ever gets residency that’s where the $ saved goes besides the debt

  • ty

    Mike Leake of Arz State will be hard to beat today. An all around good athlete that I saw develop here in Tempe. A little blip in his career when he stuffed 9 tee shirts in his pants at our local Macy store. Reporters found out that was a habit throughout his college yrs also. Anyhow he apparently has banked his millions and just trying to be frugal.

  • ottoCub

    Plenty of shots of the Cubs dugout during the game, but no sign of Byrd.

  • gratefulled


  • Norm

    Trading Byrd before May is a pleasant surprise. Tony Campana might get his one shot.

  • The Dude Abides

    Any mention how Theo plans to replace his 2 RBI’s YTD? DeJesus doesn’t have any RBI’s this year maybe he can pick up the slack.

    • drew

      1st off, he drove in a run in the 2nd inning today.

      2nd, and more importantly, RBI are a horrendous indicator of production; Votto batting leadoff wouldnt have very many RBI’s w Byrd, Soto, and the pitcher batting in front of him.

      • hansman1982

        I have always wondered why an AL team doesn’t shift their lineup by 2 spots. So you would effectively have your order as 3-4-5-6-7-8-9-1-2. This way, your two best hitters get an extra 40-50 at bats a season and it only really effects the 1st and 2nd innings.

        • DocPeterWimsey

          If you look at good AL teams, then you’ll see that this is close to what they are doing, at least relative to what many “old-school” managers would be doing with the same personnel.

          But drew‘s point holds: RBI are a team stat, not an individual stat: if you leave your team, then you don’t take your RBI with you and you don’t take your lack of RBI with you, either.  If the guys in front of you have good OBP, then you’ll wind up with RBI.

          • Jay Anderson Jr

            I believe the Yankees do this by batting Granderson leadoff. Damn, I hate the Cubs didn’t come through on that trade for him. Might be Hendry’s biggest failure.

            • DocPeterWimsey

              Jeter leads off for the Yanks, typically with Swisher batting 2nd.  Granderson’s walk rate is not high enough for the Yanks to bat him leadoff: he tends to bat 5th or 6th.  (Of course, with Cano, Teix and ARod in the lineup, the Yanks #6 guy could be a lot of teams #4 guy.)  When Gardner is healthy, then he bats 9th.  Most “old-school” managers would bat him leadoff: he’s like Campana, but with the ability to get on base.  However, he doesn’t have any pop (typicaly 5 HR a year), and the Yanks want more power at the top of their order.

              The Sox are similar: they’ve gone with Els leading off, with #9 hitters that most NL managers would lead off.  (Bobby V. wanted to do that, until management instructed him otherwise!)

              Regarding the Cubs acquiring Granderson, Hendry did not drop any balls there.  The Cubs had nothing comparable to what the Yankees gave the Tigers for Granderson.

              • Corey

                Just wanted to point out that the Yankees typically have had Granderson in the #2 spot since about mid-season last year. Swisher usually bats 6th.

    • rcleven

      Lead off hitters score em they really don’t knock em in.

      • DocPeterWimsey

        A leadoff guy with a lot of RBI is diagnostic of a good offense: you get that if the bottom-of-the-order guys have high OBPs.  (It helps if the manager is not afraid to bat a guy with some power in the leadoff spot, too.)

        • ferrets_bueller

          Or an AL team. If you’re an NL leadoff guy with a decent amount of RBI, you’ve got a great lineup. AL leadoff guys are much more likely to drive guys in.

  • drew

    Edit: Apologies, I misunderstood your post. I should read more carefully!

  • Sven-Erik312

    If this is for real, I’d hate to see him go. With him or without him, though, it looks like it’s gonna be a long season…

  • nkniacc13

    Be interesting to see what the Cubs get and what they pay Boston to take Byrd.

  • nkniacc13

    Bobby V was quoted as saying talks are in advanced stage. Anyone know how many more days the Red Sox have to trade Bowden before their 10 days are up/