Marlon Byrd Rumors
Happy New Year everyone! Here are some links to close out 2009..
- MLB.com's Marty Noble isn't buying into the talk suggesting that Jason Bay won't be able to hit home runs in Citi Field.
- Cubs GM Jim Hendry will come to regret signing Marlon Byrd, writes Keith Law of ESPN. Law says that while Byrd could play everyday for a non-contender, he's not worthy of being the everyday center fielder for a team with playoff aspirations.
- Roch Kubatko of MASNSports.com wishes Danys Baez good luck with the Phillies, his sixth major league club. Although he hopes that Baez will find success with the 2008 World Champions, Kubatko says that they might come to regret the contract they gave him.
Some links on the last day of a year we'll remember for Joe Mauer, Albert Pujols and the World Series Champion New York Yankees...
- Tigers catcher Gerald Laird and his younger brother Brandon Laird, a prospect in the Yankees farm system, were arrested following a brawl at the Celtics-Suns NBA game in Phoenix, Arizona, according to the Associated Press. Gerald lives in Arizona during the offseason while Brandon played in the Arizona Fall League this past year.
- Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle reports (via his newly minted Twitter account) that Chan Ho Park's name has come up in the Giants' front office.
- Alex Speier of WEEI.com hears that Jason Bay was indeed interested in joining the Mets. The two sides didn't go longer than a day without talking once negotiations got started. An interesting note: Speier hears that the Mets never offered Bay a guaranteed five-year deal.
- Dave Cameron of FanGraphs considers Marlon Byrd an average player, but likes the Cubs' decision to sign him.
- Cameron tweets that the Mariners are "kicking the tires" on Francisco Liriano.
- Mike Lowell's thumb surgery was a success, according to Rob Bradford of WEEI.com. Lowell appears to be available, but health concerns may prevent the Red Sox from dealing the third baseman and some of his $12MM salary (the D'Backs face a similar challenge with Chris Snyder).
- Just because Lowell's still in Boston doesn't mean the Red Sox won't consider other third basemen. Adrian Beltre is one option and R.J. Anderson of FanGraphs doesn't think $10-15MM is an unfair asking price for the Scott Boras client.
- Justin Duchscherer tells Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle that he returned to the A's because he's comfortable in Oakland and appreciates the club's support through his struggles with depression. Slusser also has details on the incentives in the righty's contract.
- Joe Pawlikowski of River Ave. Blues wants the Yankees to stay away from free agent outfielder Marlon Byrd.
- Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette says the Pirates' failure to sign Dominican prospect Miguel Angel Sano was one of the club's low points this year. As Kovacevic says, "not every signing can be an absolute steal."
The Cubs signed Marlon Byrd to a three-year $15MM deal today. The 32-year-old will play center field and push Kosuke Fukudome to right. Ken Rosenthal tweeted that the Cubs were nearing a deal with Byrd and Carrie Muskat followed up with the contract's length and value before Gordon Wittenmyer reported the specifics: the Cubs will pay Byrd just $3MM in 2010, $5.5MM in 2011 and $6.5MM in 2012.
A number of teams had been connected to Byrd, including the Braves. He had expressed interest in returning to the Rangers, but wanted a multi-year deal. As a Type B free agent, Byrd nets the Rangers a supplementary rounder in next year's draft.
Byrd, 32, hit .283/.329/.479 in 599 plate appearances with the Rangers last year, hitting a career-high 20 homers. He played mostly in center field, where his defense was below average, according to UZR/150. However, the sample size (889 innings) is limited, and UZR did like Byrd's defense in left.
8:30pm: A report from ChicagoBreakingSports.com notes that recent acquisition Carlos Silva will likely fill the role of long reliever for the club, making Contreras an unlikely fit in Chicago. Furthermore, the 38-year-old will likely attract better offers from teams that see him as a starter.
As for Spilborghs, a major league source told Troy Renck of the Denver Post that reports of the Cubs' interest in him are overstated. Renck's gut feeling tells him that the Rockies' asking price will be too high to get a deal done.
3:27pm: With plenty of holes remaining throughout their roster, the Chicago Cubs are looking at free agents and trade options at a variety of positions, according to Bruce Levine of ESPNChicago.com. Let's check out a few highlights from Levine's latest article....
- The Cubs have talked to Jose Contreras' agent, Jaime Torres, about possibly signing the right-hander. Contreras would provide some versatility for the club, who could use him out of the bullpen, or as a possible 4th or 5th starter.
- According to major league sources, the Cubs and Rockies have had discussions about a trade that could send Ryan Spilborghs to Chicago. If such a deal were to occur, Spilborghs would take over as the Cubs' fourth outfielder, a role Reed Johnson held last year.
- Marlon Byrd and Scott Podsednik remain the top two candidates for the Cubs' center field opening.
- Kiko Calero is another bullpen arm the team is considering.
The Braves have Nate McLouth, Melky Cabrera, Jordan Schafer, Jason Heyward and Matt Diaz under team control next year, but they could still go after an outfielder.
ESPN.com's Jayson Stark says the Braves saved about $9MM by dealing Javier Vazquez. Jason Bay is too pricey for them, but Johnny Damon and Xavier Nady could be fits. As an alternative to free agency, Stark suggests the Braves could deal an outfielder for a bat (he mentions Dan Uggla as a possible trade target).
Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports says the Braves and Yankees both say Bay and Matt Holliday are too expensive. Both teams are interested in Mark DeRosa, and Rosenthal says we shouldn't rule out Marlon Byrd for either club. The Braves would prefer to sign a right-handed hitter like DeRosa or Byrd, but could still bring back lefty-hitting first baseman Adam LaRoche.
After finally trading Milton Bradley, the Cubs are in position to move forward and address the rest of their offseason priorities. Let's round up some Cubs-related links....
- Jon Heyman tweets that before the Cubs traded Bradley, their choices for center fielders were Marlon Byrd, Rick Ankiel, Melky Cabrera, and Scott Podsednik.
- A center fielder and a setup man are two of the Cubs' most pressing needs, according to Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times. There is mutual interest between Marlon Byrd and the Cubs, and the team could also be one of two finalists for Matt Capps (the other being the Nationals).
- Wittenmyer also points out that, of the $9MM coming to Chicago in the Bradley-Carlos Silva swap, $5.5MM will be applied this season, giving the team a little more flexibility for 2010 salaries.
- Erik Manning of Fangraphs wonders if moving Bradley is actually addition by subtraction for the Cubs.
- Yesterday we heard via a FOX Sports report that the Cubs might look into acquiring Brett Gardner or Melky Cabrera from the Yankees. LoHud.com's Chad Jennings examines the Yankees' perspective of such a move, arguing that the world champions' center field depth is a necessity, rather than a luxury.
Oh, the weather outside is frightful, but these links are so delightful...
- Don't count on Erik Bedard signing anytime soon, says Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times. Until teams get a better handle on when he will be healthy enough to pitch again, you won't see money being thrown his way. When he does sign, Baker expects his deal to be heavily loaded with incentives - even more so than the contract given to Rich Harden by the Rangers.
- With Brad Lidge and J.C. Romero recovering from elbow surgeries, the Phillies are turning their attention to the bullpen, writes Todd Zolecki of MLB.com. While common sense dictates that GM Ruben Amaro would sign two relievers to fill the void, he says that the team might just ink one and let their younger pitchers take the remaining jobs. Zolecki floats the names of three potential free agent targets: Bob Howry, Miguel Batista, and Kiko Calero, adding that the club has liked Howry and Batista in the past.
- The Cubs are in need of a center fielder after the trade of Milton Bradley, but they are not leaning towards any particular candidate, according to Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports. According to sources, Marlon Byrd and Scott Podsednik are the strongest options on the open market. However, the duo writes that GM Jim Hendry may also look into striking a deal with the Yankees for Brett Gardner or Melky Cabrera if they become available.
- Speaking of Bradley, Steve Henson of Yahoo Sports says that the Mariners will come to regret dealing for the troubled outfielder.
Saturday morning links. Not quite as good as cartoons, but we'll do our best...
- Paul Hagen of The Philadelphia Daily News says that Phillies' management "tacitly acknowledged that [Jimmy Rollins' next contract] could turn into a contentious issue." The club picked up J-Roll's 2011 option yesterday
- Orioles' president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail said he'll probably "let the market percolate" from now on, according to MLB.com's Alden Gonzalez. In English, that means he'll let the hot stove play out and see what arises.
- Blue Jays' GM Alex Anthopoulos chatted with fans yesterday, discussing everything from the Roy Halladay trade to Travis Snider trade rumors to what it's like being a GM. I highly recommend checking it out.
- Bernie Miklasz of The St. Louis Post Dispatch says that Matt Holliday should learn from Johnny Damon, who essentially priced his way out of New York with his contract demands.
- Evan Grant of The Dallas Morning News writes that Marlon Byrd signing with the Cubs appears "to be the next domino to fall."
- Curious about what the current 2010 draft order currently looks like? Well here it is. There's only three Type-A free agents left unsigned: Holliday, Jason Bay, and Jose Valverde.
- Earlier today we heard that the Nationals are going after Jon Garland. Now, free agent outfielder Randy Winn is on their radar as well, according to Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.
5:19pm: Carrie Muskat says that while Byrd is the Cubs first choice among free agent outfielders, they haven't ruled out bringing Reed Johnson back. Muskat also notes that Byrd and Bradley have the same agent.
4:23pm: The Cubs are considering Rick Ankiel, Reed Johnson and Scott Podsednik, according to MLB.com's Carrie Muskat.
3:38pm: The Cubs don't necessarily have to trade Bradley before signing a free agent like Byrd, according to Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune. Byrd remains the club's top choice and talks with his representatives are ongoing, but nothing is imminent. Coco Crisp is lower on the Cubs' list and he could also be a fit.
1:06pm: The Cubs are pursuing Marlon Byrd more intensely, now that Mike Cameron is off the market, according to Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports. The Cubs, who wanted Cameron, are still trying to gain payroll flexibility by trading Milton Bradley and at least some of the $21MM he'll make before the end of the 2011 season.
The Rangers stand to gain a supplementary round selection if Byrd signs with another team (though Byrd won't cost the Cubs or anyone else a pick).
A fresh batch of Twitter rumors, for those of you with extra-short attention spans...
- MLB.com's Jenifer Langosch learned that the Pirates plan to tender a contract to Matt Capps.
- Stubborn Dodgers GM Ned Colletti says he has no regrets about not offering arbitration to Randy Wolf, reports Dylan Hernandez of the L.A. Times. Hernandez also notes that the Dodgers are considering Ronnie Belliard, Craig Counsell, Juan Uribe, and Jamey Carroll as second base options. The Reds also like Carroll, says MLB.com's Mark Sheldon.
- Yahoo's Steve Henson says the Rockies are open to re-signing Jason Marquis at a reduced number (less than the $9.875MM he made in '09).
- SI's Jon Heyman believes Felix Hernandez is seeking six years and $100MM, while the Mariners are thinking four years plus an option at less than $50MM. That phrasing makes a possible divide seem larger than it is, since those last two years of the deal would be the most expensive (more than $15MM per year). At any rate, Shannon Drayer and Mike Salk learned that no numbers have been exchanged on Felix yet.
- La Velle E. Neal III of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune says White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen wants Mike Redmond to back up A.J. Pierzynski.
- MLB.com's Steve Gilbert says the Rangers may have interest in arbitration-eligible D'Backs infielder Augie Ojeda. The Rangers added Joe Inglett off waivers, but were said to still be looking at utility infield candidates.
- Morosi tweets that Rich Harden is "willing to sign a one-year deal with a lot of incentives." Will he exceed Brad Penny's $7.5MM base salary? Morosi names the Red Sox, Yankees, and Mariners as the most serious suitors.
- Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports says the Tigers have interest in Juan Pierre, and are "looking for a third team to supply the pitcher L.A. needs." Odd, since the Tigers have more bad pitching contracts than anyone. The Tigers apparently prefer to unload Carlos Guillen.
- Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette says the Pirates are not interested in bringing back Brian Giles.
- ESPN's Jayson Stark says the Red Sox "have two or three teams they could trade Mike Lowell to right now" if they'd take a similar contract back. Looking at our Bad Contract Swap Meet I don't see any obvious matches for one year and $12MM.
- There's been some tire-kicking with the Phillies and Ron Mahay, writes Andy Martino of the Philadelphia Inquirer. The Red Sox were linked to Mahay by Michael Silverman on Monday. Martino also says the Phillies met with John Smoltz's agent this morning, "but discussions remain informal."
- Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star characterizes the White Sox and Red Sox interest in Coco Crisp as "low-level," but says that's still more than the Royals have shown. Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports says the White Sox would consider Crisp, Mike Cameron, and Marlon Byrd. ESPN's Mike Salk notes that the Mariners spoke to Byrd's agent.
- Dutton also has the Red Sox eyeing Ryan Shealy on a minor league deal.
- Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports names the most asked-about Padres: Heath Bell, Kevin Kouzmanoff, and Adrian Gonzalez (in that order). He says the Padres are "not hearing anything compelling on Bell." MLB.com's Corey Brock says about eight teams inquired on Kouzmanoff. Surprised not to see Kevin Correia mentioned by Rosenthal. He'd be a great affordable option for a team like the Brewers. ESPN's Buster Olney heard from rival execs who expect the Padres to get second-line prospects for Kouzmanoff and Correia.
- The Mets appear to find a Luis Castillo deal unlikely, says Joel Sherman of the New York Post.
- ESPN's Jayson Stark says the Yankees are shopping their #1 pick in tomorrow's Rule 5 draft, which they acquired for Brian Bruney. If they don't trade the pick, Yahoo's Steve Henson says the Yankees could use it on pitcher Arquimedes Caminero.