Cubs could activate Marlon Byrd today

A familiar face was walking around Wrigley Field today.  Marlon Byrd, who has been out since May 21st after being struck near the eye with a pitch, is back from Iowa.  While there has been no word yet, it’s possible he could be activated today or tomorrow.  Reed Johnson and Tony Campana have been playing in his place and have filled in admirably, but Campana may be the odd man out when Byrd is re-activated.

When Byrd returns, the Cubs will have a completely healthy lineup for the first time in what seems like forever.  It’s too late for the Cubs to make a run at the division title, but how they perform offensively in the next few weeks may help determine what the Cubs plans are heading toward the trade deadline.  Byrd, in particular, has been the subject of trade rumors and while he’s signed for next season, he isn’t part of the team’s long term plans.  At the same time,  Jim Hendry has said he doesn’t intend on trading anyone who they expect can help them next year…does Byrd fit into this category?  It’s hard to say.

Complicating matters is that Brett Jackson has been mired in a slump since returning from his hand injury.  It’s possible he could still be suffering from some lingering effects, and at any rate, it’s obvious he hasn’t been the same hitter lately.  If Jackson were performing as he did earlier in the year, he could have made the Marlon Byrd decision easy.

If I were to hazard a guess, I’d say the Cubs may hang on to Byrd to at least start the season next year and give Jackson more time to develop.  At that point, he’ll be an expiring contract and teams may become interested in acquiring him for the stretch run.

 

 

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  • I don't see why Campana would be the odd man out though, I feel he's done more/has more benefit than keeping Montanez around.

    He hits for better average, walks more, can steal bases, and plays great defense.

    I don't really care about the power numbers of a 5th outfielder.

    The Brett Jackson thing is frustrating. You just never know whats gonna happen with injuries in the hand/wrist area.

    I know that historically the Cubs haven't done a ton of September callups and intsead continued to play all the veterens, but do you see them doing more of that this season?

  • Hmm, I thought I left a comment...

    Anyway, it's frustrating with what Brett Jackson has gone though, you never really know what is going to happen with injuries in the hand/wrist area.

    And I would hope that Campana wouldn't be the odd man out...I feel that he brings more to the team than Montanez and would rather see him optioned out.

    As it is, I would like see the lineup look more like this:

    1. Starlin Castro
    2. Darwin Barney
    3. Marlon Byrd
    4. Aramix Ramirez
    5. Carlos Pena
    6. Alfonso Soriano
    7. Geovany Soto
    8. Kosuke Fukudome
    9. [Pitcher]

    I guess one upside of this lineup is the distribution of outfielders where Campana or Reed Johnson could pinch-hit without disrupting other things if they don't have to.

  • In reply to Swingline:

    Ahhhh...I forgot Montanez was still up! Good call.

    As for the lineup, I think you have to have your best OBP guys at the top of the lineup, so Kosuke makes sense at the top. I also like Castro hitting 3rd because he gets so many doubles and triples...got to have him in an RBI slot. We really don't have a solid #2 type hitter. Barney and Byrd don't take enough pitches, but I may go with Byrd because Barney is more of a singles hitter...should bat 8th, in my opinion.

  • Well, my motivation with Kosuke is that if the guys in front of him get on base, he's not bad at knocking them in, and also that 8 spot often gets pitched around, and he's a guy who will take walks, so it's a team OBP strategy.

    I like Castro as a leadoff guy because of how he can jump on pitches. It had been a while between triples before he hit 6 and 7 of the year, and his doubles numbers have dipped as well.

    I like Barney in the 2 spot though...he has been hitting well since coming off the DL, and can either move over the leadoff guy, or try to get him to 3rd or score.

    Batting third you could flip Byrd and Soto, if you want Soto's ability to see more pitches and take walks, but I'd rather have Byrd's higher batting average there to knock guys in.

    I don't think I can put into words how tired and frustrated I am with Soriano. He's not playing nearly as well as his numbers dictate. And that's saying a lot.

  • Here's a quick rewrite showing vs RH and vs LH pitching
    VS RH
    1. Kosuke Fukudome
    2. Tony Campana
    3. Starlin Castro
    4. Aramis Ramirez
    5. Carlos Pena
    6. Marlon Byrd
    7. Darwin Barney
    8. Geovany Soto
    9. [Pitcher]

    VS LH
    1. Starlin Castro
    2. Darwin Barney
    3. Marlon Byrd
    4. Aramis Ramirez
    5. Carlos Pena
    6. Alfonso Soriano
    7. Reed Johnson
    8. Geovany Soto
    9. [Pitcher]

    I know that's a bit of a crazy use of Soriano, but if you believe in R/L splits, it makes sense.

    Also, this is keeping Koyie Hill, Blake DeWitt, and Jeff Baker on the bench. They can be substitued in where applicable.

  • I think Castro's dip in recent extra base hits is just the result of a small slump. He got on that hit streak and seemed more content to make contact. He's a guy who should be driving the ball more. He seems to be getting back to that.

    The thing about Barney is that he's willing to take pitches, it's just that he's a singles hitter and pitcher's really don't have an incentive not to throw strikes. If he gets a single, a tip of the hat...but a pitcher isn't going to want to put him on via the walk. As an 8th hitter though, he'll get pitched around a bit more. At the top of the order, pitchers seem to go right after Barney.

    Just not a whole lot of options for the top right now. The hope is that Brett Jackson and Matt Sczcur can make a nice 1-2 punch with power and speed a couple of years down the line, but for now the choices are slim. That's something the Cubs should address in the offseason.

  • It's hard to really piece together this team into an effective lineup.

    I can't say that Hendry's job is easy, just that he hasn't done it all that well.

    I'm not really getting your opposition to Starlin leading off though. But I guess it's just individual philosophical differences. I agree that he should look to drive the ball more, but it's very promising watching him recognize pitches and lay off borderline ones which get called balls.

  • In reply to Swingline:

    No doubt. The Cubs just don't have the right pieces to build an ideal lineup right now.

    I'm not against Castro leading off. I just like him as a potential run producer in the 3rd spot. Now if the Cubs can get a legitimate 3rd hitter, I'd reconsider. I just think he's the best we've got right now and you should put your best hitter in a position where he can produce more runs.

  • I do like your out of the box thinking on the lineups, by the way. I'm not sure I would do a strict platoon because they don't really work out like they do on paper. But I like the idea of an occasional rest for Soriano against some righties...that may be a chance to get Colvin in the lineup as well.

  • He just doesn't have #3 hitter look to me. He strikes me as more of a leadoff guy.

    HIs ability to hit for power to the gaps, get to 2nd and 3rd...I like that in him as a leadoff guy because of the pressure it would put on a pitcher to start a game. And for when the 7 and 8 guys get on, and have to suffer through a pitcher atbat, having his bat coming up is a plus.

    I have to love how it doesn't seem like each at bat carries over to the next. In terms of his slump, he's not suddenly dribbling the ball back to the pitcher, making awful swings, striking out a ton more...he's just slightly missing the balls, and instead of line drives to shallow centre, he's flying out to where the OF are lined up. Which isn't the worse way to slump.

    I think i'd rather have a more traditional leadoff guy in the 2 hole. Singles hitter primarily, high OBP.

    Oh, and another piece frustrating defense statistics....our team FIP is better than the Pirates. Granted, our pitching staff has allowed too many walks, but just another piece of evidence that with a competent defense out there, we could very possibly be in contention with Pittsburgh

  • We just have different philosophies on what a lineup should look like. I've always favored having your top OBP guys at the top (preferably when they're also good baserunners), and your slugging pct. types toward the middle of the lineup.

    The Cubs defense is in need of dire repair. If there's one good way to improve your pitching and your overall team cheaply, it's with defense. The Cubs will need to address that in the offseason.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Well, having Marlon back out there will probably help...but another case from yesterday was that ball in the corner that Soriano gave up on and let drop before reacting to it when I believe it hit far enough down on the wall to be playable. Had Reed Johnson or Campana been out there, they would've run into the brick wall or tried climbing the ivy before just watching it fall for a double.

  • In reply to Swingline:

    That is a constant issue with Soriano. He fears that wall. I also believe he sometimes makes up his mind to swing before the pitcher even releases the ball.

  • Well that was just pure frustration today. Sucks for Garza, but I think we've got our ace. Not a single extra base hit in the game. Only 3 pitchers combined. Got screwed nicely in the 2nd, but still, our players just couldn't produce when they had the opportunity. Also, Reed should have pinch-hit to leadoff the 8th.

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