Byrd Now In Center

Marlon Byrd has signed a 3 year $15M dollar deal with the Chicago Cubs. The deal still gives Jim Hendry some flexibility this winter because it is backloaded and only pays the center fielder $3M in 2010.

The deal is already drawing criticism. This is the second year in a row that Jim Hendry gave a 3 year deal to a Texas outfielder coming off a career season. The Ballpark in Arlington is well known to be a hitter’s park and may have inflated Byrd’s numbers over the past couple of years as shown in his home/away splits.

Also, it appears that Hendry has overbid, basically, himself. There was interest from other clubs in regards to Byrd but no details on their offers have been reveiled yet. However, it is not expected that Byrd received any other 3 year proposals.

The value of the contract is what makes it OK in my eyes. $15M is not the worst thing in the world and his defense will improve when he can focus on one position all year. He will get some playing time in left when Soriano inevitably gets hurt again (probably making his trademark skip when he catches routine flyballs). Cubs fans just shouldn’t expect too much out of Marlon. He isn’t supposed to ‘save’ the Cubs or hit 4th like Milton Bradley was. Do expect high energy and some RBIs though.

Only time will tell if this contract was worth it, but maybe the small ’10 salary will give the Cubs enough room to still bring in Orlando Hudson. The team could still use another arm as well. The Cubs are at least trying to keep pace with the Cardinals who now appear likely to re-sign Matt Holliday to a huge deal.

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