2:23pm: The deal remains probable but timing issues remain, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (via Twitter). The Cubs are likely to pay most of Byrd's remaining $6.5MM salary and Red Sox pitcher Michael Bowden is in play.
2:19pm: The structure of Byrd's deal could help the Red Sox' payroll for luxury tax purposes, writes Alex Speier of WEEI.com. If the Cubs sent $5.5MM to Boston to offset the outfielder's salary, then it would actually decrease the Red Sox' payroll number that sum would be subtracted from Byrd's $5MM average annual salary.
The veteran is set to earn $6.5MM in the final year of a three-year, $15MM deal.
1:34pm: Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine acknowledged to reporters that the club's talks with the Cubs are advanced, writes Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald. “The talks have been good talks, from what I gather,” Valentine said. “Ben [Cherington] will try to get as good a player as he can get.”
12:17pm: The Cubs have been actively attempting to trade Byrd according to WEEI.com's Rob Bradford. A trade with the Red Sox is not final, but Bradford hears that it is "probable." Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports (on Twitter) that Boston has looked at other outfield options as well.
10:59am: The Red Sox are close to acquiring Marlon Byrd from the Cubs, reports Nick Cafardo of The Boston Globe. Boston has been actively exploring the outfield market following Jacoby Ellsbury's shoulder injury.
Byrd, 34, has just three singles and one walk in 47 plate appearances this season, resulting in a .070/.149/.070 batting line. He hit .276/.324/.395 in 482 plate appearances last season while missing time with multiple fractures after taking a pitch to the face, an injury that occurred in Fenway Park. Byrd is in the final season of his three-year, $15MM contract and will earn $6.5MM this year. He is not in Chicago's lineup this afternoon.
Ellsbury's subluxed his right shoulder last week and there is still not timetable for his return. Carl Crawford is also on the shelf with wrist and elbow problems, leaving the Red Sox with an outfield of Jason Repko, Ryan Sweeney, Cody Ross, and Darnell McDonald. Byrd has played center field exclusively during his time with the Cubs, though he has experience in all three outfield spots.
If completed, this will be the first real trade between the two teams since Theo Epstein left the Red Sox to take over as Chicago's president of baseball operations. The two sides did work out the compensation package for Epstein, however.