Whispers of a potential deal began early on Saturday and picked up when it was reported that the two sides were close to a deal. The deal will be announced once the Red Sox finish their Saturday tilt against the New York Yankees.
In exchange for Byrd, the Cubs will acquire pitcher Michael Bowden. Bowden is a local product and will likely get an opportunity to stick quickly in the Cubs’ poor bullpen.
Bowden was designated for assignment recently by the Red Sox, after spending a good chunk of time as one of their bigger prospects in Boston’s system. The Cubs will also acquire a player-to-be-named later in the deal, while paying a good chunk of the remaining $6.5 million on Byrd’s contract.
As for Byrd, he heads to Boston and will immediately start in an outfield that has been decimated by injury. He hasn’t hit well this season, but is still a very good fielder out there and a classy veteran.
The big question now is what comes next for the Chicago Cubs. Having sent Ryan Dempster to the disabled list, they called up Tony Campana to hold down centerfield on Saturday. That leaves them with just four starters.
Bowden is coming in as a reliever, and Randy Wells is still in Iowa. I’m assuming that we’ll see a callup of Wells very soon, if not some other move.
This move also doesn’t mean that Brett Jackson is coming up anytime soon. The Cubs will likely continue on the same timetable they were rolling with, meaning that it will be Campana, Reed Johnson, and possibly Joe Mather getting time out there in center, assuming Campana is going to play regularly now that he’s up.
This isn’t the last move the Cubs are going to make this weekend, even if it’s something as simple as bringing up Wells. Stay tuned.