Marlon Byrd poses during Chicago Cubs photo day in Mesa, Arizona. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Marlon Byrd is, from all reports, a good guy, and he always hustles on the field and is always smiling... nice to see someone happy to be playing baseball.
But since he was hit in the head by Alfredo Aceves in Boston last May, he hasn't hit well. This year, he was off to a horrible start, going just 3-for-43.
The Red Sox acquired outfielder Marlon Byrd from the Cubs in exchange for right-hander Michael Bowden and a player to be named, with Chicago taking on nearly all of Byrd’s salary, according to an industry source. The move helps the Sox to address their injury-ravaged outfield.
Byrd, 34, is in the last year of a three-year, $15 million deal and is earning $6.5 million this season. He is off to a dismal 3-for-43 start this year, having managed just three singles and three walks this season en route to a .070 average, .149 OBP and .219 OPS. For his career, however, he is a .278/.337/.416/.753 hitter, and in 2011, he hit .276/.324/.395/.719 in 199 games.
Earlier reports had the Cubs either shedding salary and getting lesser prospects, or eating most of the contract and getting Bowden (and a PTBNL).
This is a better deal, I think, even eating the contract; Bowden was the Red Sox' first pick (47th overall) in the 2005 draft and has had some limited success in the major leagues. He's made two major league starts, but thrown mostly in relief the last three years. He made two relief appearances for the Red Sox this season covering three innings. Career-wise, he has a 5.61 ERA in the major leagues, a 1.58 WHIP, and has struck out 7.3 per nine innings while walking 3.5 per nine.
At age 25, he definitely has upside, and though no roster moves have yet been announced, I'd think that this might spell the end of Shawn Camp in the Cubs' bullpen -- seems to me that having a 25-year-old guy with upside is better than having a 36-year-old retread.
Bowden is a Chicago-area native who played his high school ball at Waubonsie Valley in Aurora, so he's also coming home.
I wish Marlon Byrd luck in Boston -- he did play well in 2010, making the All-Star team, and also always giving maximum effort every day on the field. It's too bad that being beaned could be hastening the end of his career.