Another day, another Marlon Byrd trade rumor from Gordon Wittenmyer.
A recent rumor of Byrd to the Nationals was refuted, not that it (denial) necessarily rules out there was some discussion. However, the two teams never seemed to have a match with Bryce Harper waiting in the wings.
This time Boston would be the interested party with the recent loss of Jacoby Ellsbury. Yes, Boston may want to look outside the organization for a center fielder but why would they take Byrd off the Cubs hands now?
Byrd is 34 and is looking lost at the plate, starting the season 2-28.
Who knows if he is still having issues from his beaning last season, or if it’s just a slow start? I would think teams would at least wait to see Byrd come out of this before entertaining the idea of trading for him.
Wittenmyer says the Cubs and Red Sox are keeping the phone lines open, and Jed Hoyer acknowledged he traded away a lot of bullpen arms they would like to replace.
‘‘We worked to acquire starting pitching depth over the course of the winter, but we traded out of the bullpen,’’ Hoyer said, ‘‘so replenishing that depth is something we’re going to be looking to do throughout the summer.’’
Problem is, every team seems to be in that market.
Update: As numerous readers and twitter followers have noted, the Red Sox have recently DFA'd relief pitcher Michael Bowden. Bowden was a former supplemental 1st round pick of the McLeod/Hoyer/Epstein triumverate. Bowden closed last year for Pawtucket and posted 16 saves and a 2.73 ERA. He had an excellent strikeout rate of 10.42 while walking about 3 batters per 9 innings. He has spent parts of 4 seasons with the Red Sox and has a career ERA of 5.61 though his FIP has been 4.58.
Bowden was the #2 prospect in the Red Sox system as recently as 2009 (and #83 overall in baseball) but has regressed since then Currently he has about a 91-93 mph fastball. He also throws a slider and a change, with the change being the better pitch. His big breaking pitch out of high school was a curveball, but it has regressed and he has now junked it for the slider, which is an average pitch at best.
Bowden projects more as a middle reliever because none of those pitches is a true knockout pitch at this point, but the Cubs may have some interest in the hopes that they can salvage something from his once promising arm.
-- John Arguello