Yesterday, Buster Olney of ESPN tweeted that the Chicago Cubs are “looking for bullpen help”. This morning, Nick Carfado of the Boston Globe reported that Cubs center fielder Marlon Byrd’s name is “being mentioned more and more as we reach the end of spring training”. The Washington Nationals, Philadelphia Phillies and Atlanta Braves have all been tied to Byrd this spring.
The Cubs desire for additional bullpen arms stems from their lack of depth behind closer Carlos Marmol and setup man Kerry Wood. Now that former late-inning reliever Jeff Samardzija has been moved to the starting rotation, Chicago’s options behind Wood and Marmol are fairly uninspiring.
Byrd has had his name floated in trade rumors for much of the offseason, but things started heating up last week when Cubs manager Dale Sveum indicated that center field prospect Brett Jackson is “ready to play” at the major league level. The Cubs are going through a rebuilding period, and Byrd doesn’t figure to factor into the club’s next winning squad. For this reason, many speculated the veteran could be dealt before the start of the regular season.
Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports later came out and rained on these rumors, noting that the teams involved, the Phillies, Braves and Nationals, aren’t interested in taking on salary. At the time, Rosenthal also didn’t get the sense that the Cubs were interested in eating much of Byrd’s tab in order to facilitate a deal.
However, Carfado chimed in this morning that Chicago may be willing to take on some of Byrd’s $6.5 million salary in order to move him.
When Byrd trade rumors surfaced earlier this week, reports had the Cubs requesting pitching in exchange for their center fielder. This seems to line up with Olney’s report of the club’s interest in acquiring relievers.
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