Over the course of the first ten games of the 2012 MLB season, the Chicago Cubs are off to a 3-7 start which can easily be attributed to poor relief pitching and inconsistent offensive production. Through nine games, the Boston Red Sox are 4-5 and have lost one of their most important and productive players, outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury, for an indeterminate period of time.
Ellsbury, for now, is on the 15-day disabled list, but most reports suggest his time away from Fenway Park could be much longer.
In order to stay competitive in the early going of the 2012 MLB campaign, the Red Sox and Cubs could work a trade which is mutually beneficial, sending outfield help to the Red Sox in return for a strong relief pitcher which could help shore up the middle of the Cubs bullpen which has struggled so mightily.
Cubs center fielder Marlon Byrd (on the back-end of a three year deal) is on the de-facto trade block for the Cubs– especially with top prospect Brett Jackson waiting in the wings at AAA Iowa– and could be a nice short-term fill-in option for the Red Sox. Byrd still has some power and plays a rangy center field– an attribute which is essential in order to be successful at Fenway.
The Red Sox middle relief corps has a few guys which could draw interest from Theo Epstein and the Cubs front office– Matt Albers and Franklin Morales. Adding another left-handed arm to the Cubs bullpen would be a luxury for Dale Sveum when the starting pitching does have rougher days, as has been the case through two starts for both Paul Maholm and Chris Volstad.
On paper, a one-up trade between Boston and Chicago, with the Cubs sending Marlon Byrd to the Red Sox for either Albers or Morales makes sense, but will either party be willing to make a move this early in the season?
If Theo Epstein is true to his word, it’s reasonable to assume he will be.
While Cubs fans will continue to remain patient with losing to some extent while the new leadership group works its plan, Epstein isn’t going to resign himself to a losing season in 2012. And, obviously, the ties between the Cubs and Red Sox organizations could make a trade workable between management groups that are highly familiar with one another.
Brett Jackson will eventually be playing center field everyday at Wrigley, why not sooner than later?
The Red Sox need a quality center fielder to fill-in for Jacoby Ellsbury, Marlon Byrd could be that guy.
The Cubs need bullpen help desperately. The Red Sox have a couple of guys that could fill the gaps.
On paper, this trade works.
Maybe Theo Epstein and Ben Cherington will see it the same way.