Saturday, April 21, 2012

Free of a Byrd

Today was a historic day for Chicago baseball. You don't get to see something like this too often, and when it happens it's hard to believe what you're watching. But the seemingly impossible happened today: the Cubs found a suitor for Marlon Byrd.

Byrd seemed like a nice guy, and it's easy to come down too hard on a guy based on a small sample size like Byrd's 2012 campaign. Still: Byrd was so bad over that small sample size. Look at it yourself!

Good for an OPS+ of -36!

Reportedly, good value for Byrd after putting up those stats would have been "a dead body dressed in a baseball uniform to resemble a baseball-playing man," but Theo Epstein apparently has incriminating pictures of Red Sox GM Ben Cherington and was able to get a halfway decent return. Michael Bowden was a prospect with some heat on him a couple of years ago who never managed to crack the Red Sox rotation, splitting time between AAA and the majors & transitioning to reliever full-time last year. It would be a surprise if the Cubs didn't at least attempt to stretch him back out. At 24 years old, he fits the mold of faded-prospect-reclamation-project that the Cubs have been using to fill the back end of the rotation.

More importantly, this sets the stage for Brett Jackson to come up whenever he's ready. Unfortunately, that doesn't seem like it's going to be as soon as one might have hoped -- his numbers are below his minor league averages and he's struggled with strikeouts at AAA dating back to last year. Still, this signals that the Cubs are ready to move into the transitional phase of this season; there's no worry about waiting for Byrd to rebuild his value while Jackson is toiling away in AAA. When they're ready, the prospects will play. After a week like the one the Cubs just had, that's a relief.

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