The Boston Red Sox are set to acquire Marlon Byrd from the Chicago Cubs to help cope with the injury to Jacoby Ellsbury, according to Nick Carfardo of the Boston Globe The Cubs center fielder is hitting just .070/.149/.070 in 47 at bats this season and Chicago has been eager to move hit to make room for top prospect Brett Jackson. Byrd has been a solid all around player for Chicago since signing his 3 year $15M deal before the 2010, but this is the final year of that deal and with the new CBA, the Cubs are unlikely to receive compensation when Byrd leaves at the seasons’ end. Ellsbury’s injury gives make the Red Sox the perfect destination for the Byrd and Chicago is wise for trying to get something of value out of him before it is too late.
If he can return to form, Byrd would represent an upgrade for Boston until Ellsbury and Carl Crawford can return from injury. He is a career .278/.337/.416 hitter, good for a 97 wRC+ and he has also been an above average fielder in center. He would likely replace Jason Repko as the regular centerfielder in Ellsbury’s absence. Repko is a capable defender, but he has hit just .224/.294/.346 for a wRC+ of just 74 on his career. After the Red Sox get Ellsbury and Crawford back the team, Byrd will give the team better outfield depth and reduce the team’s need for players like Jason Repko and Darnell McDonald
There is no word yet on the Compensation the Red Sox would give up to bring Byrd to Boston, but given his struggles it is hard to image the Red Sox giving up significant value. Cubs GM Theo Epstein knows the Red Sox farm system extremely well and he may feel more comfortable trading for a player he had a hand in developing. The trade will be the first deal between Epstein’s Cubs and his former team since the two sides agreed on compensation for the GM’s departure.
I touched on Byrd and some of the other options available to Boston earlier in the week and at that time Byrd appeared to be among the better possibilities open to the team. Boston is betting on Byrd’s ability to recover from his early season struggles, but unless the cost turns out to be a top 10 prospect, the gamble is probably a good one. Boston has few quality options available right now and the addition depth will serve them well throughout the season.