Cubs want to move Byrd. Could Bowden be on the radar?

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


Filed under: Cubs Rumors

Tags: Jed Hoyer, Marlon Byrd


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  • Just a shame they couldn't move Byrd last year when he had some value. Kind of bizzare that he is in the lineup yet again today. You know they are just praying he can run into a few hits so they can say, see he hasn't completely lost his bat speed.

  • I can only imagine trying to make a fair trade with Boston. Cherington's the GM in name only. Let the market develop for Byrd then trade him before the deadlines. Also, Boston just released Bowden. The Cubs should consider picking him up.

  • I'm sorry, they DFA'd Bowden.

  • Just updated the article to include Bowden, whom Boston may want to trade rather than risk putting him through waivers.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I agree. I believe they'll try to trade him. If I were the Cubs I'd wait them out. If they put him on waivers, the Cubs would have one of the first chances to claim him. I believe teams in the opposite league in the reverse order of the standings have the highest waiver priority.

  • That's correct, Ray. They may well do that but it also wouldn't surprise me if they use that leverage to pick up a prospect in addition to Bowden. Boston will probably lose Bowden, so maybe the Cubs can say something like, "Hey, we're going to take him anyway, so you may as well get something useful for him" Maybe it's better for Boston to get Byrd and lose a lower level prospect than lose Bowden for nothing.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Good thinking.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Maybe so, but then the question would be whether the Red Sox want Byrd bad enough to open up a spot on the roster for him. And with Byrd's feeble performance at the plate this year, he's not making a very good case for himself.

    I suspect that if the Cubs approached the Sox with that deal, Boston would call our bluff. Better to lose just Bowden, rather than lose him, a lower-level prospect and whomever loses that spot on the roster that goes to Byrd.

    For the Sox, it boils down to that ages-old question: Is a Byrd in the hand worth two prospects in the bush leagues?

    Thank you! I'll be here all week. Don't forget to tip your waitresses...

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    If they DFA'd Bowden, isnt' he on a different type of waivers already? He has to clear those to be reassigned and removed from the 40 man. If he's claimed, which he most likely will by some team, depending on the type of waivers they put him on either they lose him or put him back on the 40 man, DFA'ing someone else, or work out a trade of Bowden.

  • In reply to Just Win:

    No. Now Boston has 10 days to trade him, release him or put him on waivers.

  • I haven't seen much of Bowden recently but I remember him being a prospect of some note, a few yrs back. When are they going to ditch the Camp experiment- he seems to have no redeeming value?

    John or Tom, have you guys heard anything about Blake Parker perhaps getting a call? I know he has a good arm and , if I'm not mistaken, has looked good at TEN , so far. On the downside , he's getting a bit old for a prospect- which always makes me question his true promise.

  • In reply to Carl9730:

    I just added some info on Bowden, for those asking. He was a big time prospect at one time, ranking #2 on the Red Sox per BA in 2009.

    As for Parker (he's at Iowa, by the way), I think they're considering it, but it will require a 40 man roster move. I'd guess the Cubs looking for a young vet with some upside.

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    Just think of all the therapy Marlon will need to overcome the memories of his last plate appearance at Fenway...

  • Considering that Boston is struggling to find bull pen arms themselves, what does it say about Bowden that they aren't willing to keep him on the roster?

  • In reply to supercapo:

    True, but you know the guys that drafted a player may see something else. I can totally see a move like this happening, makes sense.

  • Scouting Report: Bowden has an arsenal of four pitches: (1) an 88-92 mph four-seam fastball that can top out around 94 mph, (2) an average 12-6 hard breaking curve, (3) an excellent circle changeup, and (4) an 83-85 mph slider that he added in 2009, which he hopes to use as an out pitch down the line. Also developing a cutter in 2011. His main pitch - the four-seamer - has a late, heavy sinking movement, and he generally keeps it down in the zone. Bowden can also work in a two-seamer that is a few mph off of his four-seamer, with a bit more movement. His deceptive changeup sits in the low-80s, about 10 mph off of his fastball, with action moving away from lefties. His mid-70s curve is sharp and he keeps hitters at bay with it, but he definitely telegraphs it too often. Overall, Bowden has an excellent command of the zone. One aspect that should come with more experience is improved pitchability against advanced hitters. His mechanics are somewhat unconventional in that his delivery is quite compact and he doesn't pull back with a lot of torque. Relies more on arm strength than leverage. Still, he's able to maintain consistent arm action throughout his outings, so the Sox haven't messed with his delivery. Bowden is said to be a workaholic and just loves to pitch - another player who just lives and dies for baseball. Very athletic and focused and intense on the mound.

    -- Boston Red Soxs web site

  • In reply to emartinezjr:

    A four seam fastball with late, heavy sinking movement??? Uh, there's a problem here...this scouting report ain't right.

  • Thanks E-Mart!

  • I would take anything at this point for Byrd, his stock will decrease as he ages and plays infrequently. The days in which Byrd would get a A or B prospect are gone, the best you can get would be a player like Bowden, a once top prospect who can use a change of scenery.

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    Byrd is looking a lot like Dunn looked last year. I really think that beaning took a lot out of him. I hope someone will need him enough to get him off the roster. He's got about two more weeks to make something happen or DS should using Johnson and Mather, at least I hope he'll make a change.

  • I still believe in Byrd. He's going to be alright and have a good year if they wait out his slump. Everyone has 10-game stretches where they look awful. He's in great shape and had a rough year last year with a lot of adversity, but he's not that old, and he's only one year removed from a string of good seasons at a pretty consistent level.

    I don't think it makes any sense at all to trade him now. Jackson isn't tearing things up that much in AAA and we might as well give Jackson and Byrd until June 1 before we make the switch.

    In the meantime, we have a lot of decent bullpen candidates in Iowa, like Parker and Maine. Guys like Bowden are not significantly better than them. I could see making a deal if we were going to pick up someone who was a top flight reliever, but it doesn't make sense to deal a guy like Byrd just to pick up more guys off the scrapheap.

  • In reply to SVAZCUB:

    I don't like Byrd much even when he is at his career average. Too much of a free swinger for me, and average defender. However, he can hold down the fort until BJax arrives. That being said, you do want to wait until he shows signs of life to deal him.

  • In reply to Tom Loxas:

    2007 29 814
    2008 30 842
    2009 31 808
    2010 32 775
    2011 33 719
    2012 34 ???

    Given what Byrd's recent history, I wouldn't be surprised to see him post an OPS in the 750-820 range this year. He was injured last year, after all, and he's in great shape. I think he knows that this is a make-or-break year if he wants to continue to be a starting OF on a MLB roster.

    I've never been a big fan of Byrd's either, but if he can post an OPS in the high 700's, he's roughly a league-average CF, albeit one without much of a future. Still, it would seem that we could get something of value for him. But, of course, he has to turn it around first after his very ugly start.

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