The Boston Red Sox have found their outfielder as they’ve announced a trade with the Chicago Cubs for veteran Marlon Byrd. The Cubs will take on most of Byrd’s salary while the Red Sox send Michael Bowden and a player to be named later to Chicago. Boston had been in the market for an outfielder because of injuries to starters Carl Crawford and Jacoby Ellsbury.
Boston entered the season with the expectation that they’d be without Crawford. However, when Ellsbury sustained his shoulder injury earlier this month, the Red Sox outfield depth was tested. Boston ultimately decided an acquisition was necessary and was able to reach an agreement with the Cubs for the versatile Byrd.
The Red Sox will only pay Byrd around the minimum of $400,000, with the Cubs picking up the rest of his $6.5 million salary for 2012. Byrd, who’s set to become a free agent following the season, has a career line of .278/.337/.416. Last season for the Cubs Byrd posted an OPS of .719 over his 446 at-bats.
Bowden, a former first round pick, has spent parts of the last four seasons with the Red Sox. The right-hander has been primarily used as a reliever during his time in Boston, though he was a starter for much of his minor league career. Over his 39 appearances with the Red Sox spanning 59 1/3 innings, Bowden has maintained and ERA and WHIP of 5.61 and 1.584.
Chicago is in clear rebuilding mode, and Byrd has reportedly been available for much of the spring. While the Cubs have top center field prospect Brett Jackson waiting in the wings at Triple-A, the youngster is not expected to be called up to immediately replace Byrd. Instead, the Cubs are expected to use recently recalled outfielder Tony Campana along with Reed Johnson and Joe Mather to man center field for the time being.