The Chicago Cubs signed Marlon Byrd to a 3-year deal worth $15 million. Byrd will play center field at Wrigley Field for the Cubs in 2010 and will likely bat lead-off. Byrd will make $3 million in 2010, $5.5 million in 2011 and $6.5 million in 2012. Byrd had a phenomenal year for the Texas Rangers in 2009 – his 20 HR’s, 89 RBI’s and .479 slugging percentage were all career highs. Byrd is a career .279 hitter with a career .340 on-base percentage. The Cubs hired the Rangers’ hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo this off-season, so he will continue to work with Byrd as a Cub for the next 3 years.
Byrd is excited about the prospects of playing everyday in Chicago: “When I knew I had the opportunity to become a Cub, I was really hoping this would be my landing ground.”
GM Jim Hendry had this to say about Byrd: “We knew he was a good guy. He plays very hard and fans are going to like that. He comes to play every day, doesn’t want days off and gives you 110%. When Rudy told us about the other things he brought to the table, it enhances his reputation even further.” Sense any little digs at Hendry’s big free agent signing last year – Milton Bradley?
I love this deal and I hate it at the same time.
It always seems like the Cubs sign these 32-34 year olds coming off their career years. Then when they get to Chicago, they’ve lost a step or 2 and play mediocre ball for the last 3 years of their baseball careers.
Then again, Byrd played 146 games last year and is durable. Having Byrd as your lead-off hitter would enable Ryan Theriot to hit 2nd in the lineup. Or you could flip-flop the 2. Then you follow that up with Derrek Lee, Aramis Ramirez, Alfonso Soriano, Kosuke Fukudome, Geovany Soto and Jeff Baker/Mike Fontenot, and you have a decent lineup. Assuming a healthy Ramirez and a Soriano and Soto who were not as bad as they were in 2009, and things can only get better.
Guess we’ll have to wait and see. Happy New Years!