Cubs Give Fans the Byrd

UPDATE #2: Rob Neyer and didn't cut my article to shreds. Neat.

UPDATE: 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 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 , 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)


Well..I suppose that Byrd is the lesser of 3 evils? Byrd Ankiel Podsednik Meh...I'm going to have to wait to make judgement on this.

Coco Crisp would have been cheaper. And it's not like Marlon Byrd is going to blow Coco Crisp away in the offensive production department. Meh, whatever.

Cubs Give Fans the Byrd Backloaded deal as usual. What are the odds on a no trade clause?

ha, I'm changing the headline

naww. i don't see byrd wrangling a NTC on this one.

I didn't expect a NTC. I was just saying... Wittenmeyer has the terms: "Byrd's contract backloaded, putting just 3M on '10 payroll (plus 5.5, 6.5)"

I understand the logic of backloading contracts, but it would be so awesome to frontload a few of these. I really think Hendry just always assumes the current year will be his last so he won't have to deal with the end of the contracts.

Submitted by 10man on Thu, 12/31/2009 - 1:12pm. naww. i don't see byrd wrangling a NTC on this one. ===================== 10man: As a Article XX MLB FA who signed after the conclusion of the MLB Free-Agency Filing Period, Byrd will (at the very least) get an automatic "no trade" through 6-15-2010. (Same goes for Grabow, BTW).

good catch, AZPhil

Meh. This is not a 2010 contending team as it stands today. If they went after Granderson, I would be impressed. I do realized we painted ourselves into a corner with bad contracts and little to offer compared to other teams (Damn you Arti!). Color me jaded. yes, I have the goos about Dero. I'll get over it...eventually

Wittenmeyer tweets: cst_cubs: Byrd's contract backloaded, putting just 3M on '10 payroll (plus 5.5, 6.5)

Well we have Fukudome's platoon partner. Now... who plays center?

Now... who plays center? --- Slamin' Sammy Fuld

Well done Rob and Co.

I credit QuietMan's headline...

I think the outstanding content you provide had this place on Neyer's radar long ago.

Wow Rob congrats on officially making the "big time". Please don't forget all the little people.

well maybe the "mid time". now if Rob G. had been quoted by Carrie Muskat, that would be big time indeed LOL

Hendry needs to be fired before he does any more long term damage. Cubs need a GM who can shop Hendry's big contracts at the trade deadline and next winter.

Sort of a repost from the previous thread, and the only reason I am doing it is because as soon as finished writing I realized Rob would be posting a new Byrd thread. The only other option in the free agent market for lead-off CF was Pods, and that it is one washed up player, I think. I've always been a big believer in a plate setting lineup and I can't say this one qualifies. But I don't see any answers out there. I'd be interested in seeing how many great leadoff men are developed within a team's system. That would be a great stat to see. I looked up two, Jimmy Rollins and Tim Raines, and sure enough they were both in their parent team's minor league system when they came up. Bob Dernier was traded to the Cubs but he had a .288 (!) OBP the year before he was traded to us. In 412 PAs for the Phillies! As much as Hendry is pissing me off lately, it's unfair to ask him to pull a rabbit of his hat like that. It IS fair to ask him where the position players are, but it's also fair to say there are indications that Tim Wilkens and company are starting to show some progress. The draft choices have not panned out but a lot of the rest seems to be doing okay. Hendry rolled the dice with Soriano and Fukodome and Bradley in the hopes of getting us cranky fans a pennant. I really don't hate the guy for that. The dice didn't roll his way, or our way. FUCK! Let's hang the bastard. Manny Trillo has done a nice job of getting everyone on the Hate Hendry bandwagon (Hendry has provided plenty of assistance, I realize), but I'm not really quite there yet. I am close because I think he may be part of the old school scouts vs. Moneyball but I think Hendry is pragmatic enough not to believe completely in his own shit. You can't, if you're running a big organization like the Cubs. I really can't hate this signing. Byrd will cover the center fine and will hit well enough. Now, the season is up to Starlin Castro. I'm fine with that. I love dropping sarcasm at any moments in a post and knowing that there are smart people who can parse it all out, btw. Happy New Years to the smartest baseball posters on earth. I know about 3000% more about the game I love than I did before I hit this site.

Bob Dernier was traded to the Cubs but he had a .288 (!) OBP the year before he was traded to us. In 412 PAs for the Phillies!
because the Cubs lucked out 25 years ago, doesn't make this a good move.... I don't particularly hate this move, it's a pretty cheap contract for the Cubs to absorb if they need to and he should at worse, a good albeit expensive 4th OFer if he's not booed out of Wrigley or throws a hissy fit about getting benched that is. Just hope they don't have too much faith if a better option comes available.

My argument (it's NYE so I almost wrote argrument) wasn't that Dernier was an example of how a guy can have a better year than the year before. I think Byrd probably had his career year last year and he'll do the typical Hendry swan song. I just didn't see anything on the lead-off end of things to think we could get help in the OF and lead off. My point about Dernier is that it is rare that good lead off men, I THINK but have no solid stats to prove it, are mostly home grown. And that Dernier was kind of an exception to that, maybe because he had a really crap ass year the year before. I mean, 288 obp is pitiful. I actually preferred Ankiel just from a possible upside standpoint but overall I like the overall comments here that sort of all have this consensus of "meh" going on. I think 2010 is gonna be all about "meh", so I'm pretty indifferent at this point on this and any other move Hendry makes this year unless he's got another Ramirez type trade under his rather ample belt. And I think those days are behind him for whatever reason.

Marlon Byrd. Okay.

Coco Crisp would have been cheaper. --- Think of all the cool writeups I would have had to do on shoulder surgery if they had signed Covelli Crisp

Byrd in the 5 spot? Let's hope Soto 2008 shows up this season. Also, what are the odds Fukudome leads off? His splts are better than Theriot's in this spot. Obviously not a running threat, but is anyone on this team a threat on the bases?

You're on crack if you think Sori will not be in 5 spot.

He hit in the 6th spot last season and Pinellia has been quoted multiple times in the off-season saying that Soriano has found his home in the 6 spot. Don't tell me I'm on crack...have you been under a rock for 6 months. Maybe it was his .220 batting average, I'm not sure?

Didn't mean to be harsh. But Bradley is gone, I can't imagine Soto or Byrd hitting in front of Sori.

What's wrong with being on crack? You kids don't know how to have fun anymore.

Soriano has a long track record and the only spots he's hit well in are 1st and 5th. You can look it up. On the other hand, while Byrd has always been a middle of the order guy with a .905 career OPS hitting 4th--.845 hitting 3rd--and .827 hitting 3rd, he's been a dud hitting 5th. Lou will be bucking the stats if he doesn't hit Soriano fifth.

Lou is bucking the stats by not batting Soriano leadoff. Let's leave those batting position splits alone, please. They are roughly meaningless. The fact that Byrd has a career .697 OPS batting 5th and a career .845 OPS batting 6th should not affect where Lou decides to bat him with the Cubs.

There are 34 reasons why Soriano can't bat leadoff anymore. And 18 million reasons why he should bat fifth.

I should've stopped reading when you wrote that Byrd has always been a middle of the order guy.

He has knucklehead. Look it up.

Actually, Byrd has more games started and at bats as a leadoff hitter than any other spot in the lineup. Then it's 6th, 5th, and 4th. Significantly worse numbers hitting 5th than 4th or 6th.

Well it's settled then. Everyone welcome our new cleanup hitter, Marlon Byrd.

Fangraphs sort of likes the Byrd acquistion (they like the deal but not the player?) Jack of all trades, master of none, thy name is Marlon Byrd. To be fair, he’s been a bit above average the last few years, but the Cubs are signing him for his age 32-34 seasons, so they should be building some regression into his past performances. Projecting him as a +2 win player going forward is fair. $5 million a year, even on a three year deal, is a good contract for the Cubs. He fills a hole and should provide a solid performance at a cost of less than $3 million per win. Even in this kind of market, that’s a move worth making. Byrd is not a star, but he’s good enough at everything to be a useful role player, and the price was right for the Cubs.

one more thought... With Byrd signed for 3 years, it reminded me that Fukudome has only 2 years left. I suspect it's doubtful that Fukudome will get re-signed by the Cubs after his contract is done unless he puts up some really stellar seasons in the next two years (I'm not holding my breath for that to happen). So if Byrd isn't a complete bust, he could move to RF at that point unless a Wilken prospect or two (Brett Jackson, Ty Colvin) actually work out and pushes Byrd to the bench by then.

this is troublesome, Capt. Wrongway Phil Rogers gives the Byrd acquisition his stamp of approval (and gets in his last backhand slap at MB). Byrd can help. He's a professional player and a worthwhile part. He's not Granderson, but the more relevant issue is that he's not Milton Bradley, either.

"this is troublesome, Capt. Wrongway Phil Rogers gives the Byrd acquisition his stamp of approval" Shit.

Keith Law takes a stance in the opposite direction. I don't have an espn insider subscription. But if someone else does, maybe they can fill us in.

Frankly, this was a lazy column by Keith Law. He's just unimpressed with Jim Hendry. Thinks he made another lame move. To make a long story short, he doesn't think Byrd plays CF well enough to start there on a pennant contender and he doesn't think his hitting ON THE ROAD is good enough to play LF or RF. To illustrate his point all he gives us is this
(Byrd posted a) .290/.339/.415 line in 516 road PA over that time, a line that won't cut it in left or right field.
But just for the record, the overall averages for all outfielders in the National League are similar to Byrd's road averages.....he was much better at home of course. 2009 average OPS by position. These include both home and road stats. LF .773 RF .767 CF .764

How is this team a pennant contender? We are two middle of the rotation guys, a high OBP 8 and an average OPS 4 from contending, imo. And probably a set up guy 2010 is going to suck

Well, I did some straight line projections of how many runs the Cubs would have scored if their starters had been healthy and able to play 154 games and even with the down years most of them had the Cubs would have scored enough runs to pythagorean to a 91 win season with one game left to play.

If we get the Bill James projection for Byrd in 2010 (14 HRs .279/.340/.438/.778) and average CF defense, he'll be worth 3-5 million a year. I think that's optimistic, though. I also think Reed Johnson would've been just as good and will age better than Byrd at 6'0 245 (5 inches shorter than Zambrano and only 10 pounds lighter, according to both their profiles).

Johnson had back surgery. I see the Byrd has not played alot in most seasons. Is this due to his play or injury or both?

Byrd has spent a decent amount of time in the minors since breaking into the majors. I think his 2008 stint was just rehab, but he was assigned to the minors for chunks or more of every season from 1999-2007, including at least 100 ab's in the minors each season from 2004-2007. 2009 was his only full year as a pro in the majors. (and 2008 if you don't include the rehab stint)

I'd rather have Fuku in center and Jake Fox in right than Byrd, or at least their bats in the line-up. These moves just aren't making much sense. I'll hop on the Hendry is done bandwagon. Like, fire him tomorrow. Byrd will be ok for the money, no offense to him. I won't boo him. He's not getting Soriano or Fukudome type money. "Theriot, Fukudome, Lee, Ramirez, Byrd, Soriano, Soto, Baker or Fontenot" This line-up sucks. Unless they don't next year.

If Soriano and Soto can produce similarly to 2008, A-Ram is healthy, Lee stays productive, and the rest basically just do what we can reasonably expect out of them, that will be an decent lineup with little room for injuries, etc. Cubs prospects are going to have to be productive in order for the Cubs to win the division though--meaning either they have to produce for the Cubs or they have to be valuable enough to rope in some more talent in trades to improve the rotation, 2B, or a spot where we've suffered an injury. Somehow I'm less excited about the season now that Byrd has signed even though very little has changed. That lineup plus our somewhat weakened rotation and question mark bullpen just makes me a little pessimistic, I guess.

Well, Fuku was just awful in CF, it was his lack of range that was the main problem. Byrd at least has almost an average UZR range rating, whereas Fukudome was a -15 last year. So that's an improvement, even if Byrd is slightly below average at the position overall. Offensively, even with a drop in production, Byrd is probably still a better hitter than Fukudome, but that's because Fukudome is so inconsistent and hasn't hit for power. What gets me about the deal, without picking on Byrd, is that this is something like Hendry's 11th CF since he took over. He failed on Corey Patterson, Juan Pierre, Alfonso Soriano, Jacque Jones, Felix Pie, Jim Edmonds, Reed Johnson, Kosuke Fukudome, and he's giving up on Sam Fuld and Tyler Colvin with the 3 year Byrd deal (rightfully so, since Fuld and Colvin haven't shown any reason to think they can be big league starters). It bothers me that Hendry clearly has a problem evaluating talent, and that gives me major doubts about Byrd's ability to lock down the position for 3 seasons.

I would agree that this position is turning into a bit of a revolving door of suck, but I don't think Jim Edmonds was a fail - .937 OPS as a Cub. Ironically, the other CF that has been solid was another mid-season pick-up not re-signed - Kenny Lofton, who hit .327 / .381 / .471 in 56 games in 2003.

I was thinking the term "failure" is more of not finding a long term solution at the position. Even if Byrd gives us nice production for the salary, I don't really think he's the long term solution, a 32 year old with Tony Gwynn's body. I hope he doesn't relax and start packing on the pounds now that he's got a 3 year deal. If so, maybe we could sell his contract to the Bears, they're always in need of a fullback. Joe Sheehan's last article at BP.

I can see why Hendry would have an interest in a 4th OF like Spillboroghs. Our bench right now (Hill, Fontenot/Baker, Blanco, Fuld and Hoffpauir) could use a bit of work.

Cubs should start talking to Lee soon about him waving NTC by trade deadline. Then do what ever they can do to get Gonzalez from SD.

I don't see this team needing a somewhat better, lefty first basemen in order to push them over the top. If they are getting guys to waive NTCs, they might as well put everything on sale for high ceiling prospects and cheap young players.

Hope Fukudome can take the racists comments coming out of the right field stands.

LOL....He managed his first year somehow, especially early in the season, when they were xtra ruff on the poor guy. I'll never forget that huge swarm of black dudes that came to the park just to boo Todd Hundley. Sigh. Those were the days.

It's really funny how none of you brain scientists point out the fact that Hundley flipped off the fans and still lasted longer than any of the black boo targets at Wrigley and never 'had' to be traded.

Ummm. What? okay? You not getting the joke somehow? Yo mamma pissin you off?

Fuku probably won't be able to understand the racist comments anyway unless he has his handy translator with him in RF.

Great article, it got some laughs out of me. I was actually expecting them to give him more so this is a nice surprise.

Actually, 3/5.5/6.5 is better than 6.5/5.5/3, as they can ship him off with $3M to another team after season #2, or maybe only $1M or $2M if he doesn't suck. If he's a complete waste of flesh and air (see Gaithright, Joey), then they're out $15M no matter what the structure of the three years was. I'd have preferred a straight 12/2 deal, but that was not going to happen.

It's official the window for this team is nearly over. Byrd seals the fate of Hendry...after multiple mistakes (Fukudome, Bradley, Soriano) mixed with a few good moves..(ramirez, Soto, Lee, Lily). The pitching staff is mediocre, the bullpen unstable and hitting unreliable. The division is weak but the Cardinals are going to be tough to beat unless the middle of the order reverts back to 2008...I'm a cubs fan hopeful as usual but not blind to see the serious flaws and downturn we have in store after this year.

I have one word. Castro. I'm joking of course, but I am looking to Spring Training Trip #4 (in a row) if only to see the kid play a bit and see if there is anything at all to the hype. And, of course, to see if I can spot AZ Phil in the stands somewhere. I'm assuming he'll be wearing a white hat.

Byrd shouldn't seal the fate of Hendry. The fate of Hendry should have been sealed years ago with the lack of homegrown position players under his watch. He's been so bad for so long it's as if many Cub fans I know think the GM has two jobs: sign free agents and rip off other teams in trades. Obviously, neither would be necessary if he did the most important part of his job with even minimal success.

I agree, sort of. Maybe it's time to start the Wilken debate. A GM's job is to hire talent underneath. Wilken seems like a good hire. Call me crazy. He has zero count in the majors for us, so I guess the craziness starts there. But it is funny that fans drive the process so much that we run guys out of town just when they start hitting their stride. Happens all the time. I say, let Hendry swallow his own cum and hope that there is somebody underneath. The scouting system has obviously improved, if the so-called experts are correct. This Hendry hate machine is pretty boring.

You need to pay attention. I started the Teflon Tim debate last year. I never understood the Teflon Jim comments. EVERYTHING sticks to that guy. He willingly takes the blame. But Tim Wilken? Nobody but me sees an empty suit.

Dude. You want me to pay attention? To this shit? I have a job. You pay attention, I respond once in awhile if you're fucking lucky. And if that pisses you off, I'll buy you a beer during spring training and you'll look into my eyes and see I love sports but I don't cream in my pants if things go wrong.

Wilkin is the guy making the farm system work again. I think it's misplaced aggression. The farm's been widely viewed to be shit-tastic for a while and it's finally being built up to respectability again. I don't know how Wilkin can be the cause of the team's problems right now

Agreed. Wilken's had a few suspect first round picks, but he drafts depth well. Fleita's much more of a problem in my mind. Whether it's him or Jumbo, the Cubs player development system is sub-par. Far too many "can't miss" prospects have not only missed, they've been nowhere close.

I can only assume you mean Jimbo. I like that they're leading the charge in Korea, but I always wonder how all these great players from DR seem to dodge the Cubs. I know Sosa is Dominican, so that should be enough for me, but I agree that I don't see as much talent from Latin America as it seems we should. I'm glad we've got a plan for athleticism. Draft only CF and SS and they'll fit anywhere. I'm sure we'll need to draft some pure power as well but it's nice to see real positional prospects.

Whoops, yeah, Jimbo. Sorry. Although the moniker fits him well too, I think.

The Cubs top four positional prospects: 2 from US 1 from DR 1 from KR And three of them are up the middle players. What exactly are you asking for?

1 from KR --- One from the planet Krypton?

Hendry has always been a GM who has blinders onto the world. He telegraphs his moves and he doesn't multi-task. He focuses on one target at a time and is pretty much incapable of dealing with anything else. This isn't new, this is the way he has always operated. I commented about it during the Dusty years. He loves fringe talent and the only saving grace was Zell opening the check book to sign the biggest free agent in the last 20-30 years in Soriano. Now were back signing scrubs, and making wishes on the magic baseball lamp while we pray for guys like Milton to not be crazy and for midnight to not strike on Byrd. Yes thats right we are back to the 80's and 90's of finding lighting in a bottle, only were doing it with a 140 million. A fucking hate the lightning in the bottle method, and if this team isn't at the top of the division by July 30th, then the owner needs to ask everyone to waive their no-trade clauses and pump some life into a dead farm system and do an actual rebuilding of the franchise. Again much like the big free agent signing, is something this team hasn't done for decades. Just slap a bandaid on it call it fixed, move onto the next season and do some praying. Its a method that has served this franchise well for the past 100 years. Its got us 5,6,7 or so championships. No wait its a big fat zero. Byrd is just a continuation of a 100 years of making dumb ass decisions.

"A big fat zero" That's Manny Trillo's fault. Not OUR Manny Trillo, but THE Manny Trillo. Kicked the ball so manny times...

Uh oh. warning: cal_days_in_month() []: invalid date. in /home/thecubre/public_html/sites/all/modules/archive/archive.module on line 106.

Y2k, ten years late.

heh, that was the joke I was going to use. I disabled the archives for the time being, most likely there's an upgrade to that module that I need to install.

Bleh....Marlon Byrd another prime candidate for an epic failure in waiting. He might, just might.....barely get above 40 RBI if were lucky. Hendry needs to read my book on not paying for scrub players coming off career years with no history of backing up those stats. Well thats pretty much the entire book right there.

BTW, Rob, nice! An ESPN link is always cool. Does this mean we can't use the F word anymore?

Does this mean we can't use the F word anymore? --- FESPN?

Let's just all get it off our chest. F*** ESPN. Seriously, it's way cooler than getting a Phil Rogers endorsement. That would totally suck and I'd have to find a new baseball forum.

Oh, and, um, CashCall? You can stop hounding Rob now -- his ship has come in.

Congratulations on Rob Neyer's clean quote and link to TCR!

for those TCR readers experiencing 16 degree weather in 2010 in chicago... Happy New Year

Byrd will likely start the season in center but I predict he will be the DeRosa of the outfield, playing the bulk of his games in right. By June 1st I predict the lineup to look like this: Fuld cf Theriot ss Lee 1b Ramirez 3b Byrd/Fukudome rf Soriano lf Soto c Fontenot/Baker 2b I think the Cubs realize that Fuld will give them good defensive play, high obp and speed from the leadoff spot. Byrd will play plenty, spelling all three outfielders. In fact, I think their late inning defense will be Byrd in left, Fuld in center and Fukudome in right...

I am a Sam Fuld fan, if only because he's a stats head who slams his head into the bricks. SERIOULSY:: If Hendry lets Fuld out of the system, I will become a fan of the team that lets him in. This is actually my Hendry Test. Fuld? Or not.

I am actually a big Fuld fan as well, just for his take no prisoners defense. I do have concerns about his durability though.

As much as everyone love's Fuld's defense, here's an interesting stat. His career fielding percentage in 27 games in CF and 8 games RF in the majors is 1.000. In 30 games in LF in the majors his fielding percentage is .962. His career minor league numbers include fielding percentages of .985 in 242 games CF, .972 in 31 games in RF, and .933 in 11 games in LF.

I am not a Fuld fan, i don't understand why people want him starting. The only thing that pegs my interest in him is his batting eye, everything else looks like Ryan Theriot. In fact they could be clones of each other for all i know. What gets me scratching my head is the Cubs need to spend big money on flash in the pan players like Bradley and now Byrd who come off career years at age 31 or 32 with no history of being able to repeat it. A guy like Sam Fuld could very likely match a Bradley season or a Byrd season and save you spending alot of money. The question always comes to what do you think reality is closer to? Are you going to bet on the high end estimate of the flash in the pan players repeating something they have never done before? Or do you let an unproven player play who will probably have just as a shitty of a season as Bradley for 300k? Its the risk/reward system of who you think is worth the money to spend on, and what they can give back in return. Spending 30 million on a guy who averages 50ish RBI a year is something you can pay Sam Fuld to do for you for 300k. Its all about spending money wisely. Bradley and Byrd go completly against that rule.

While I'm not crazy about the Byrd signing, nor Hendry thinking Byrd is an RBI guy, his career average with RISP is better than Bradley's. Bradley's career line with RISP: .259/.385/.419 Byrd's career line with RISP: .285/.357/.441 So it looks like Byrd makes more contact with a smidge more power than Bradley, who continues to look for a walk with runners in scoring position, something we saw throughout last season. I don't really think Byrd's power numbers translate that well to hitting 5th, but 6th or 7th shouldn't be so bad, unless his production comes to a complete halt.

What gets me scratching my head is the Cubs need to spend big money on flash in the pan players like Bradley and now Byrd who come off career years at age 31 or 32 with no history of being able to repeat it.
I'm not sure Hendry has a single idea in his head that doesn't come from his staff. If you recall he has repeatedly said he doesn't have any long term plans for the Cubs. So, when his staff recommends someone, he goes with it. In the examples you give, Gerald Perry was the hitting coach for the A's in 2006 when none other than Milton Bradley was there. Perry was the prime impetus for bringing MB to the Cubs. And, coming off the season the Cubs hitters had in 2008, he had a lot of credibility with Hendry who had considered going after Bradley in the past. Of course, when Bradley quickly flamed out and the rest of the team wasn't hitting well either, it got him fired. Now with Byrd we have a similar situation. Rudy Jaramillo highly...HIGHLY....recommended him to fill the center field hole and bat somewhere in the middle of the order. Both were with the Rangers last year. RJ not only vouches for Byrd's ability to hit but also thinks he's one of the best centerfielders in major league baseball. How could Hendry pass him up?!

For some reason Fuld has problems in LF. I don't think Fuld would drive in 50 runs over a full season in the majors. He might be an OK lead off guy since he takes walks and works the count. As much as I'd love to see him succeed in the majors, I don't think he'll hit for enough power to be a starter in CF, i.e. at least 8-10 hr's a year and somewhere near 30 doubles or more.

If he goes to Oakland, will you be Old and Green?

I'm hoping the Marlins-Old and Teal

I like him too, but that seems extreme. I'm not sure he'll be an impact player in the long run.

New Muskat article... Marlon Byrd as Evangelista for his coaches, especially Slamma-Jaramillo (and vice versa). --- "You know what this will do is get my system out a little quicker and faster," Jaramillo said. "Marlon is a good teacher. I want hitters talking to one another. He provided that for us in Texas. He knew his swing and sometimes he was good at recognizing stuff that other people were doing. I wanted those guys to help each other and talk and coach each other, too." Byrd has primarily played center and credits five-time Gold Glove winner Gary Pettis with helping him improve on defense. Cubs fans will see that, Jaramillo said. "I don't know how much people saw him play center field but I guarantee he was one of the top two or three center fielders in the American League," Jaramillo said of Byrd. "Our park was a big park with big gaps and he was outstanding covering those gaps. He threw the ball well and accurately.

I hope we don't all hold Jaramillo to the Marinovich standard. Oh, silly me, that dude who lifted Houses from the bench. I meant Marinelli. No, what I mean is, I'm sick of the fucking hype. And if the Ricketts clan thinks they can snake oil us with .... oh fuck, never mind. I already hate the 2010 Cubs team and probably 2011, too. And by 2012 I'll be fucking dead, so Old and Blue will be blue, too. Fuckhead bastard motherfuckers. Ricketts: We are leveraged out so we can't really buy free agents! Stupid ass mother fuckers why did you buy the team, then? You have to take out a loan to buy the Cubs? Hey, MLB, why not ask us Cubs fans to take out loans? We'll do a lot better than this weenie ass. What bullshit. My credit is 760. What's Rickett's? 450 or so, I bet. Seriously, this shit pisses me off.

I hope we don't all hold Jaramillo to the Marinovich standard. ...and probably 2011, too. --- One Word: Sandberg

I rarely rant here. It sure felt good. My poor wife tells me I need a life.

You missed this interesting quote: "The Cubs wanted some left-handed bats, but if we can hit right-handers, what difference does it make?" Jaramillo said. Maybe he should be GM instead of hitting coach.

B-b-b-byrd, byrd, byrd, b-byrd's the word

Sorry, but that's just a stupid ass fucking comment. See above about my rant thing.

Haven't you heard about the Byrd?

I heard on mlbtraderumors that he surfs. Can anyone confirm?

Hmm..there's nothing about it in the papers...a certain..orinthological creature....I thought everyone knew about...

BA on Dawson's HoF worthiness:
The heart of the problem is Dawson's .323 career OBP, nine points below the park-adjusted league average for his time. Like Rice, his walk totals certainly don't support the notion that he was a feared hitter; his career high was just 44, and for unintentional walks, it was 39. In 1987, he drew just 25 unintentionals to go with his 49 homers. The result was a hitter who consumed outs like Babe Ruth ate hot dogs. Dawson ranks 20th all-time in outs (AB - H + CS + GIDP), and while he's in good company among Hall of Famers and would-be Hall of Famers there, he's got the lowest PA total of any of the top 30 in that category. An admirable player, but not one worthy of a Hall of Fame vote.
There's considerably more if you read the full article, and I think that non-subscribers can see the "scores" at the top.

Tim Kurkjian on Dawson's HoF worthiness: "There are certain classes of Hall of Famers, and Andre Dawson is a Class C. He's no Willie Mays, he's no Tony Gwynn, but a Hall of Famer is a Hall of Famer, and to understand Dawson's place you had to see him at his best. I did. And it was breathtaking to watch." More here:

Like Rice, his walk totals certainly don't support the notion that he was a feared hitter; his career high was just 44, and for unintentional walks, it was 39. In 1987, he drew just 25 unintentionals to go with his 49 homers.
Revisionist history at it's best. Both Rice and Dawson were feared hitters. Anyone familiar with baseball knows that. Yet, their career walk stats weren't high enough (at least for the writer), so it suggests they weren't feared hitters. Dawson only drew 25 unintentional walks in 1987, so he must not have been feared, despite the fact that he hit 49 HRs. Shouldn't his HR numbers suggest he was feared rather than his unintentional walks numbers suggest he was not? This analysis reminds me of the saying that "You can know the price of everything without knowing the value of anything." In this case, the writer knows how to read stats, but must have no idea what really happened. Note: Now that I go back and review the record, I'm not even sure that the writer can read stats. In 1987, Dawson did have 49 HRs. That part is true. But the writer has the walk total wrong. Dawson had 32 unintentional and 7 intentional walks in 1987. His career high for unintentional walks was 44, for intentional walks it was 21. Is the writer from BP getting unintentional and intentional mixed up?

...his career high was just 44, and for unintentional walks, it was 39
Do walk totals include both intentional and unintentional walks? If so, that explains my confusion. However, it doesn't change my main point.

People who are too young to have watched Dawson and Rice, and for that matter that era of baseball, can't get the full picture from the stats. Even the people who were kids then but only saw Dawson as a Cub didn't get the full picture. Dawson and Rice were dominant players of their time. The only criticism one can make is that Dawson's bad knees robbed him of even more ab's, and Rice had a relatively short career compared to some of the 20 year freaks. But they were both as good as it got for a decade, and that's HOF worthy. To criticize them for not taking more walks in an era that didn't value the walk is nonsense. That's the same dorky argument as saying Santo's career numbers don't compare well to a player from the modern day. These were different era's and runs were harder to come by, both in Santo's time and Dawson/Rice's.

To criticize them for not taking more walks in an era that didn't value the walk is nonsense. Tony Gwynn, Wade Boggs, and Ricky Henderson valued the walk and walked right into the hall. Tim Raines should too one day. All eras value getting on base. That's not just walks, though. It's the first step to scoring runs.

Actually, it's impossible to build a legitimate HoF case for Santo without saying that he walked a lot.

Santo is right around the 100th best player in baseball history according to win shares, 7th or 8th in career win shares for third basemen, and perhaps even in the top 50 of measures for all-time players. You should read this and check out this rankings.

TRN's point still applies The reason Santo has a case for the HOF and is the 100th best player, etc in those rankings is in no small part because of his OBP and ability to take the walks.

That's true Rob. Of course being a 9 time all-star, 5 time GG winner, and averaging 25 HR and 90-some RBI's per season while playing predominantly in the 60's isn't a bad argument either.

No, his point was "without saying that he walked a lot." If he had said "without even mentioning any statistic that incorporates a walk in it" then that would be different. Hell, even runs scored are dependent upon how many times you get on base, and thus walks. So then what's the point? My point is simply you can make a convincing case for Santo being in the Hall of Fame based on number of different approaches. You can look at his great combination of offensive and defensive production, is place among all-time third basemen, his awards and accolades, his traditional count stats, his performance during his peak years, or new sabermetric statistics, etc. Also, add to all of this the fact that he played with diabetes and he is a no brainer. There is no measure of how much better his stats would have been without diabetes, but not only was he done at age 34, but he hit 10 points lower at night - when it was harder to control - on the road than during the day on the road. He also hit significantly worse on the road than at home, at least partly due to the added difficulties managing diabetes in the 1960s while traveling.

So, your contention is that Santo is a hall of fame baseball player if he has an ISO OBP of .044? Without his walks he doesn't sniff that top 100 list. Santo's entire HoF case relies on the "new found" appreciation of OBP and his continued association with the hugely popular Chicago Cubs. If you apply the same test to Santo that so many people say makes Dawson a HoF'er i.e. "Did he look like a hall of Famer?" the answer is no. The diabetes, though sad, doesn't really belong in the discussion, unless you want to start adding blind athletes to the hall of fame based on the idea that they would have been great hitters if they could only see. Could his home/road splits have had anything to do with him being a RH hitter playing at Wrigley? Ryno also had diabetes by that measure.

First, when anyone used the eye test to argue for Dawson you said UNEQUIVOCALLY that the eye test is not relevant and that we were stupid for using it, and now you use it yourself to say that Santo is no a Hall of Famer. Ok. Second, did you just compare playing major league baseball at a high level in the 1960s with diabetes to being blind? Whatever dude, keep smoking whatever you are smoking.

The eye test puts Eric Davis and Darryl Strawberry in the HoF. What I want is players who pass both the eye and the statistical test. How is that inconsistent?

TRN..I understand your argument. However, did his 9 All Star games and 5 Gold Gloves gome from just the walks too?

not to argue for TRN, but I think the point is the voters ignored his 9 ASG and 5 GG's for 15 years. I'm not sure of his vote tallies, I think he had something like 43% of the vote his final year. The kind of swell in his candidacy and outcry from folks like me has been because of a newfound appreciation of the value of OBP. And although his OBP is not the only reason he deserves the Hall in my opinion, it's probably the biggest.

Wow...his OBP is most important. Ok...fine.

Marlon Byrd interview on ESPN1000 with Bruce Levine/Jon Hood

Only newsworthy thing I heard in this is he recognized his poor OBP and expressed that he wants to improve it this year. Stuff you'd expect a ball player to say.

Neil from CCO has a nice review of the Bruce Levine Saturday Talking Baseball show... including Byrd stuff, some rumors about the bench and 1-2 more pitchers (re-mentions of Jason Frasor, Ben Sheets and a Jon Garland rumor)

If the Cubs are concerned about Ankiel's mental toughness (or at least his ability to overcome adversity) then Lou would not exactly be the preferred manager for him. I'd still be intrigued by him as a 4th OF.

an article on the odd lack of interest in Kiko Calero (referencing Grabow getting a contract and not much interest in KC)

if they put down the spreadsheet long enough to check his public-known medical they might figure out why the 35 year old looking a multi-year deal is finding a cold market waiting for him. it's got little to do with what he throws or how well he throws it.

get rid of superior player for a lesser player and 1 more year of club liability...check pay 9m extra for the privilege...check give a roster spot to a horrible pitcher who was recieved in return for a hitter who can actually play better than his replacement that "really costs" 9m extra on top of his 15m deal...check awesome. i can't wait til we get our next 3-4m a year manager. who gets to be traded away in 2010 because of lockerroom issues?

Yeah..sadly, if Byrd hits .270/.340/.420 with 15 HR and 70 RBI, with a decent CF...he'll have had a better season than Milton Effing Bradley. He stunk crunch. He wasn't good in the field, he wasn't good at the plate..oh...excuse me, on the road he was so pathetic that he brought his total numbers down to below average. He was barely average in RF,and off the going there. I'll take 130-140 games of Byrd over the juggernaut that is Milton Bradley... I am not a fan of Silva..but that the Cubs had to take him to get rid of Milton Bradley shows just what people in the league think: that he's a pain in the ass you'd better be prepared to swallow a lot of shit to have on your team.

he was good in the field, though. he wasn't a god, but the guy had/has the legs, arm, and glove for RF. he was good at the plate when he wasn't pounding crap into the ground, too. evidently a .378 ob% don't get you as much respect as it used to, either. his power wasn't what it was supposed to be, but as much as people want to bitch about bradley's lack of RBIs with men on no one wants to care about his .400+ ob% with men on. maybe he should have batted 2nd more often, huh? byrd and silva combined don't have the talent of bradley, but it's not like bradley is or was supposed to be aram/dlee.

The problem was that Hendry brought in Bradley to be a lh power bat which the Cubs have not had since Henry Rodriquez. He could have signed Dunn. Hendry is an idiot, and so is Lou who signed off on it also.

dunn had nowhere to play. he doesn't even have a RF'r arm even if you want to discount how horrible he played LF. either way, you place your players where it fits your managerial style and/or gets the production the player can provide. lou, unlike dust and baylor, isn't big on the #2 hitter being a solid contact guy and is prone to playing the ob% guy there. fuku is no slouch in the ob% department, but he was lifting the ball a lot better. by mid-late june he should have been the guy deeper in the lineup with bradley setting up dlee/aram, imo. btw...during this time soriano was still our leadoff guy with theriot hitting 2nd rather than leadoff. lou mostly played with fuku/bradley in the 2 slot later in the season after he figured out soriano wasn't much of a leadoff guy.

My God, man, when does the 'man-crush' torch you're carrying for Milton flame out? He's produced one - count 'em - one season that produced 77 RBIs in TEN seasons. He's worn out his welcome with SEVEN MLB teams because despite all the talent you mention - and most of us acknowledge - he's a piece of shit human being that doesn't produce enough baseball benefits to overcome the FACTS that he's a miserable f'n human being who brings crap to a MLB clubhouse that no one wants or needs. This was Hendry's screwup to sign him in the first place. It wasn't any manager's job to wipe Milton's ass or 'motivate' him or discipline him beyond what any manager to date has done with Bradley. The reason Milton screams at the rain is because he doesn't think he should ever get wet. He's a dick and most people in the front office of MLB teams know it and are smart enough not to soil their team with the bullshit that is Milton Bradley.

my god, don't let statements about his performance get in the way of dismissing me presenting them as having a man-crush. also, you're gay, your mom wears combat boots, you smell bad, and i'm pretty sure you did 9/11. yes, bradley isn't a fun guy to be around. yes, we just paid heavily to get lesser talent on board to get rid of mr. fun time. i don't think bradley being a dick is anything new. also, i don't know what your RBI rant has anything to do with what i wrote, especially since it has an aside addressing those who harp on about the RBI thing.

Pick any offensive or defensive stat and with an average of 96 games played per year, MiltoN doesn't produce enough of anything to justify a roster spot. And he's still a piece of shit, he beats up women, and appears to have few if any socially redeeming characteristics.

this isn't about milton's HOF credentials or how much of a dick he is to his wife. this is about paying a lot of money to get rid of a player for a lesser player while paying a Cadillac-level manager who has to trade away yet another player because of clubhouse crap.

No. This is about a dumbass GM who signed a pathological behavior problem with 'great potential'. Six prevuous organizations had already figured out what the seventh team now knows. He's not worth more than a one year contract with a low base and performance incentives. John McGraw, Bobby Cox, nor Lou Pinella couldn't manage this problem child because he doesn't want to be managed. Seattle will be the eight team to realize this.

the GM and the manager both went on record saying they could take the risk. based on what i've read and heard lou pretty much gave up on managing his personality before a few months of the season even passed. there's a string of managers out there who have a recipie for milton that involves massive amounts of inputs in order to keep the guy mostly stable. it's shouldn't have to be done for him...but it DOES have to be done. for all the problems he's had he's had very few where the lockerroom turned on him. that was a different issue in the self-policed and no-wood/derosa leaders clubhouse. there sure wasn't a manager stepping up to police the clubhouse because lou doesn't go into the player's clubhouse too much (this is a trait of his managing style and not unique to him). john mcgraw and bobby cox can at least be counted on to be in the clubhouse with their players rather than sitting shirtless in an office using coaches to "call in" players for talks...bobby cox, especially. btw...bobby cox beats his wife, too.

Does anyone actually think Lou Piniella is worth his salary? He really seems more concerned with where he's going to go for dinner after the game than anything on the field at this point, and who can blame him? He's an old man who should be retired. We all know baseball's an old boys club, and Lou is a prime example of that. There are probably well over 5000 people in this country alone that could do just as well as any number of MLB managers. Setting lineups and pulling the starter after 6.1 innings isn't exactly rocket science and certainly isn't worth $3-4 million. You can't even argue that he attracts free agents after that one study among players that put him as number 2 on the list of managers they'd least like to play for. What any of this has to do with Milton Bradley I don't know, but let's hope we can get some more payroll flexibility by not paying our next manager any more than the bare minimum.

Crunch can make this about Pinella if he wants but Bradley is well past the age where personal responsibility supercedes youthful immaturity. Bradley supposedly made promises to Hendry about 'behaving' during the well-mentioned steak dinner during his courting sessions as a free agent. There were also stories about Cubs players who made efforts to befriend Milton to no avail. Milton obviously had other plans. I'm not a Pinella or Hendry fan as both are overpaid for what they've done and produced if paid over $500,000/year. And you can't say Bradley's past locker rooms have or haven't turned on him, but the fact remains that he's beginning his 8th organization in 11 seasons as well as all potential trading partners would have taken Bradley ONLY as long as the Cubs paid most of his contract or took a bad one (i.e. Silva) back. This way they can cut him at any point and only be out the money they already would have been out.

he was good in the field
How many times does this have to be corrected??? Bradley was average or below by most measures. Range Factor/9 Innings Bradley 1.99 Average RF 2.08 Fielding Percentage Bradley .985 Average RF .986 Outfield Arm Runs Bradley -2 Average RF 0 Total Fielding Runs Bradley -1.5 Average RF 0 and so on and so forth

"How many times does this have to be corrected???" that is so cute coming from you, dude. also, "outfield arm runs" and "total fielding runs"...are you serious? hehehe.

"...arm runs" --- if feet smell-nose runs...yer upside down?

Actually, it's "Outfield Arm Runs Above Average" or Rof at BR. BP uses FRAA, fielding runs above average.

Classic. You just get done whining about people getting personal with you in their comments and then you dismiss your lack of knowledge of fielding stats by getting personal with me. I don't know who was worse last year, Milton or your lamebrained defense of him.

actually, im using my knowledge to make fun of ARM and total fielding runs.

GO to your room with no supper! Actually, I think I'll probably use my MLB.TV subscription next season to check out how MB is doing with the Mariners. If he has a good year, Hendry can go to Lou and say, "this is what I hoped for." If MB tanks in Seattle, Lou can go to Hendry and say, "I knew he was bad for the club." I guess we'll have to wait and see. It's not a man crush, just a thought that maybe Lou has already reached the end of a great career and MB (and fans) paid for it. We'll see...

there are no winners in this...SEA is paying a LOT of money for bradley once silva-money washes out in this. either way, byrd vs. milton as far as which is a better player pretty much only washes out to milton being a superior player when it comes to getting on base while they're pretty even (or close enough) in other places. still, aside from people in the clubhouse being happier by subtracting someone it's an expensive fix to a problem the cubs shouldn't have signed themselves up for if they weren't going to put the work into trying to please baby milton.

I would agree that his defensive game in 2009 was slightly above average based on gut feelings. His defense certainly wasn't good enough to justify the rest of Milton Bradley's game and behavior on and off the field. I won't get into it... it's been discussed ad nauseum and I think we all know where everyone stands on the issue.

crunch....he stunk in RF last season, for as good as I kept hearing he was supposed to be. He was better than Burnitz I spose...but thats damning with faint praise. He wasn't even Milton Bradley last season. For a struggling player to pop off like that continually? Brilliant..I can't believe the fans weren't on board. He's gone. We'll all just have to move on somehow...without all those good fielding plays, clutch hits, and...oh...yeah..not those things. Maybe he should have just played better?

uh...okay, sure.

Sarcasm is great crunch, you're a witty, knowlegeable poster...usually. But your insane defense of Milton Bradley is surreal at best.

I think it's the "pop off continually" and "he stunk in RF" bits that crunch called bullshit on. Even your hater clan mate showed that he didn't "stink" in RF. Counting the missed slides and throwing the ball into the stands, statistically he was a hair below average, and crunch doesn't acknowledge the validity of the statistics.

Ok..MB didn't stink in RF, but he wasn't good either. Combine a below average season at the plate, being a hair below average in the field, and yes TRN, a poor attitude towards life in general, and you get what? I watched about 122 Cub games last season. I saw a lot of bad play, from a lot of Cubs. Bradley was just the hardest to put up with. I just an glad he's gone. Now we'll have to find someone else to bitch about in 2010. If Soriano doesn't bounce back, my money is on him.

Fenway Field? least when it comes to Hockey. Maybe Ricketts left a little something when he visited Boston? ---

BP on the price of chemistry... Yet when the Chicago Cubs signed Marlon Byrd to be their new center fielder on New Year’s Eve, they provided us with at least one data point as to how much money a major-league club is willing to spend for essentially the sole purpose of making their fans, the media, and perhaps even the rest of the roster happy. ...The decreased production they should expect from their outfield actually makes the Cubs’ investment in team chemistry and media appeasement considerably north of $5 million, but both Jim Hendry and the majority of sports-radio callers seem to think it’s well worth every penny. By September we should have a better idea of whether they’re right. I’m skeptical, of course, but then again, I didn’t have to go to work every day last summer and deal with Milton Bradley.

When you let the fans run your baseball team you're in for a world of hurt. Hopefully the Ricketts will realize this sooner rather than later. That Seattle teams looks like it can be pretty damned good, especially if they fill 1B correctly. The great thing for the MB torch crowd was that they already have their built in excuse for when they watch him tear up in the playoffs next year: "He would have never done that in Chicago."

To claim that the Cubs traded Bradley because of the fans (or reporters) is nonsensical. If the Cubs were trying to build a team simply to please the fans, they would have never traded Mark DeRosa or let Kerry Wood walk. Love him or hate him, Jim Hendry is trying to build a winner, not appease the fans. Milton Bradley was traded because he was an unacceptable distraction to the team. The coaches didn't like working with him and the players didn't like playing with him. In order to build a better team for 2010, Bradley had to go. It doesn't matter how well Bradley does in Seattle. He wore out his welcome in Chicago (as he did in several other places), and he had to go.

Really, Neal?

When the Cubs have dissapointing seasons, the fans pick out one person as the center of that angst. That player seldom if ever survives the off-season. 2009? Bradley HAS to go 2006? Dusty 2004? Sammy 2002? Hundley As well as some mid-season guys. How did '04 and '05 turn out again?

Ok. So the Cubs got rid of MB, so they will stink this season. If the Cubs get good seasons from the core of the team, they will be a good team this season. By core, I mean: Lee Ramirez Soriano Soto Theriot Zambrano Lilly Dempster Marmol Yes, they will need help from Byrd, Fukudome, whoever plays 2B, Wells, 5th starter TBD...but it's not like the Cubs are trying to replace a player who had a good season last year.

IMO, the Cubs aren't going to win it all in 2010, because they are unlikely to get good enough seasons from enough of their core players. Bradley was brought on board last season because the Cubs had a rapidly closing window to win, and Bradley was a high risk high reward signing that didn't work.

I agree. I don't think this team can win it all either.

I agree with you completely on that point: Fans like to (fairly or unfairly) pick on a scapegoat.

TRN - Do you find this surprising? How many teams have poor seasons and then stand pat the next year without moving someone? Dusty left after the 2006 season because his contract was up, not because the fans were upset. If Hendry had listened to the fans, Dusty would have been gone sooner. Are you suggesting that Hundley was moved because he got on the fan's bad side? IIRC, Hundley was moved because he was not a very good player and the Cubs had the opportunity to trade him for some better players.

Please open your eyes and realize that all the players/managers that get scapegoated out of town have one thing in common. THEY ALL SUCK. They suck in Chicago, then they suck later. So it's not just dumbass fans booing a guy who has one bad year. They are booing player/managers that are currently shit and will continue to be shit in the future. Byrd will have a better 2010 than the retard that got run out of town.

The Bradley trade makes the list, although I am not sure I agree that the Cubs would have been better off simply releasing him.

Well, I think the best move would have been not signing him in the first place....but yeah...

Agreed, but the article seems to think the Bradley trade was bad, because they signed him in the first place (sunk cost), they took back Silva (while ignoring the money the Cubs got back), and because the Cubs are paying Soriano too much.

Yeah...that Soriano contract will be an albatross for many years if he doesn't turn around last season's pukefest. A syndicated columnist who actually thinks The Onion is real. Read it before they take it down, lol.

He might be wise to it. ...anyone who has ever lived with children will surely recognize the grain of truth contained in these ersatz findings. Though it's a pretty dry wink.

Notwithstanding that I am unable to find either a Leonard Mateo on the psychology faculty at the University of Minnesota or a record of said study in the archives of said Journal
Dude is clueless.

The Onion article is already assuming that the readers will see the "grain of truth" in the story. He either doesn't get that The Onion is fake, or he thinks repeating the joke in print is funny. Yet, some people are unemployed right now.

So Neal Cotts is moving on with the Pirates. That marks the end of 2010.

Rosenthal likes Cubs chances to sign Sheets. Works for me.