Cubs center fielder Marlon Byrd is drawing interest from two National League teams, Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times reports. The Cubs offered Byrd to the Nationals for pitching and the Braves are also discussing the 34-year-old.
GM Jed Hoyer has said he won’t be surprised if the Cubs make a move leading up to Opening Day. The team currently appears to be listening to offers for Byrd rather than shopping him, according to Wittenmyer.
Byrd posted a .276/.324/.395 line in 482 plate appearances in 2011, his second season in Chicago. He earns $6.5MM in 2012 and hits free agency next winter. The Fielding Bible Volume III describes Byrd as a reliable if unspectacular center fielder who makes up for an ordinary throwing arm with good reads and a quick release.
If the Cubs traded Byrd, Reed Johnson and Joe Mather could get more playing time in the short-term. Top prospect Brett Jackson is “ready to play here for sure," in the opinion of manager Dale Sveum. Jackson figures to be an option for the Cubs at some point in 2012, even if he needs some more minor league seasoning.