Cubs Give Fans the Byrd
UPDATE #2: Rob Neyer linked up to us and didn't cut my article to shreds. Neat.
UPDATE: Wittenmyer tweets that it's $3M for 2010, then $5.5 in 2011 and $6.5M in 2012...not terribly unreasonable and similar to DeRosa's deal from the Cubs (2.75, 4.75, 5.5M). Now only if Byrd could play as well as DeRosa did his two years with the Cubs.
The Cubs signed outfielder Marlon Byrd to a three year, $15M deal today. As one would expect with a Jim Hendry contract, it's backloaded to give the Cubs more flexibility this season. Specific terms have yet to be released.
Byrd will be penciled in to play center field and if or when he proves he can't handle that on a regular basis, he'll be a perfectly adequate 4th outfielder and the Cubs will continue their center field quest. $5M a year is actually a decent price for Byrd, but depending on the structure of the deal, the final year will probably be impossible to unload when the Cubs realize they're paying a back-up outfielder $6-$8M or whatever it ends up to be.
I gave my thoughts on Byrd earlier, but the cliff notes version is: decent offensive production for center fielder, terrifying home/road splits over the last 3 years including a major drop in power, walks way too little and at best an average center fielder.
Feel the excitement.
Assuming no more than some bullpen and bench roles to be added, I expect the Opening Day lineup will be:
Theriot, Fukudome, Lee, Ramirez, Byrd, Soriano, Soto, Baker or Fontenot
I also expect Lou to start bitching about needing a left handed bat in the lineup by March 1st. He may flip the 7 and 8 spots and if Soto has a good spring and Byrd doesn't, they could flip as well. Here's hoping Soriano and Soto get their groove back.
Happy New Years Cubs fans!!!
(Give credit to QuietMan for the brilliant headline)