Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times reported yesterday that, with the emergence of top prospect Brett Jackson, the Cubs may be ready to part with veteran center fielder Marlon Byrd. According to varying reports, the Cubs are either shopping Byrd or simply listening to offers for the veteran outfielder. So far this spring the Washington Nationals and Atlanta Braves have been the teams most interested in Byrd.
Before optioning Jackson, who enters the 2012 season ranked Baseball America’s 32nd best prospect, Cubs manager Dale Sveum admitted that the 23-year-old is “ready to play” in Chicago “for sure”. Sveum added that he expects Jackson to join the Cubs before rosters expand in September.
This coupled with Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer’s statement that he “wouldn’t be surprised” if the Cubs made a move before Opening Day has many wondering if Byrd will be the one traded.
The Nationals could use a center fielder as well as outfield depth, both needs Byrd would fill. The Braves have been seeking outfield depth as well.
One source told Wittenmyer that the Cubs are actively shopping Byrd. Another said the team is actually only listening to offers on their veteran outfielder. Both reports have the Cubs requesting pitching in exchange for Byrd.
Byrd has spent the past two seasons in Chicago. Over that span, the 34-year-old has hit at a clip of .286/.337/.414 while solely manning center field. Last season for the Cubs, Byrd managed an OPS of .719 with 33 extra base hits and 51 runs scored over his 446 at-bats.
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