Thursday, December 31, 2009

Breaking News: Cubs Sign Marlon Byrd (Updated)

On the one year anniversary of the day the Cubs traded Mark DeRosa to the Indians, Jim Hendry makes his biggest move of the offseason (so far) once again. The Cubs have inked Marlon Byrd to a 3 year $15 million dollar deal according to

Byrd will be reunited with Rudy Jaramillo, who was his hitting coach in Texas. The Cubs plan to move Kosuke Fukudome to right field and plug Byrd in center.

Here is the official press release.

According to Bruce Levine, the Cubs are still looking to add a 4th outfielder and a bullpen arm. They are looking at Ryan Spillborghs for that backup outfielder's role, and the Cubs have talked with the Blue Jays about bullpen pitchers. Levine mentioned Jason Frasor as one guy on the Cubs' radar.

Jim Hendry said the Cubs "explored every avenue" as far as center field. Hendry said that this move really helps "our overall defensive situation".

Gordon Wittenmyer tweets that Byrd's contract is backloaded, just $3M on '10 payroll, plus 5.5 in '11 and 6.5 in 2012.

Steve Stone was on 670 the Score to talk about the move:

  • Stoney called this move "former Ranger part 3". Jim is batting .500 with former Rangers (Mark DeRosa work out well, Milton Bradley did not).
  • The Cubs still have a problem when you take a look at their team because they still don't have left handed difference makers.
  • The team still doesn't have a real lead-off hitter. Ryan Theriot could be a decent lead-off man if he goes back to his old solid hitting without trying to drive the ball.
  • Steve is not sure if the lineup fits together particularly well, but it could be enough to win the NL Central if the Cardinals don't bring Matt Holliday back.
  • Stone thinks Jim has done some great things like the trades for Aramis Ramirez and Derrek Lee. Bringing in Ted Lilly, and bringing in DeRosa were both great moves.
  • Now it's going to be a question of "Can you win without spending much money?"
  • St. Louis is the only team in the division that Steve thinks can compete with the Cubs.
  • The Cubs have not developed position players, and that's why they have to go out and spend so much money on guys like Bradley, Soriano, and Kosuke.
  • Steve thinks Rudy Jaramillo can do wonders, calling him the "unsung Dave Duncan of the hitting world". The things that he cannot bring with him are the temperatures, the lineup, and the hitters ballpark.

More info on Byrd:

  • Outfielder
  • Bats and Throws Right handed
  • Drafted by the Phillies in the 10th round of the 1999 draft
  • MLB Debut for Phillies on Sept. 8, 2002
  • Has played for Phillies ('02-'05), Nationals ('05-'06), and Rangers ('07-'09).
  • Batted .283 with .329 OBP and .808 OBS in 2009 for Texas. He hit 20 homers and had 89 RBIs.
  • Career .279 hitter with .329 OBP in his 8 seasons.
  • Can play all three outfield positions.
  • 32 years old

Updated 3pm CT

Phil Rogers joined the Danny Mac Show on 670 today:

  • Marlon Byrd was described as "middle aged".
  • Rogers thinks this makes sense because the Cubs were very patient with seeing what happened elsewhere.
  • Phil doesn't think the Cubs were that crazy about Marlon Byrd. If they were crazy about him, they'd have had this deal done a few weeks back.
  • 1-2 years would have been better for the Cubs, 3 is "taking a big risk".
  • Jim Hendry is throwing money at a problem once again to try to fix it.
  • He strikes out too much, he doesn't hit for much of an average, but he does play good defense.
  • Dan and Mac think the Cubs are moving to quickly once again.
  • There are lots of similarities between Byrd and Bradley. Both guys are older, the Cubs were the first team to give both of them a multi-year deal, both strike out a lot, both even have the same initials "M.B.". They were both resurrected in Texas under Jaramillo.
  • Rogers thinks Rudy could be a difference maker.
  • Byrd is not a very good base runner, so he will fit in with the Cubs.
  • Phil agrees that Theriot is the best lead-off man spot.
  • The Cubs are increasing the load on Theriot because they spent this money on someone who cannot lead-off.
  • The guys don't understand why Jim hurried to sign Byrd, but Phil thinks the Cubs have been patient, but they weren't excited by any other options.
  • Rogers guesses that there was another team that moved in on Marlon to trigger this.
  • It will be interesting to see how the Cubs operate the next 2-3 years.
  • The last 2-3 years under the Tribune "it was like nobody was watching the cash register."
  • A Cub fan could be disappointing that a new ownership hasn't done much yet.
  • If Rogers could make a few moves to improve this clubs, he would like to rip a few years off the calender to give this team more flexibility. The number 1 thing he would do at any cost is to dump Carlos Zambrano.

More later...

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