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Come To Think Of It: Now That Bradley Is Gone, Byrd Is the Word for Cubs

Bob Warja@@bobwarjaSenior Writer IDecember 20, 2009

ANAHEIM, CA - SEPTEMBER 28: Marlon Byrd #22 of the Texas Rangers crashes against  the center field in an attempt to catch the two-run home run Kendry Morales #19  Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim during first inning of the baseball game at Angel Stadium on September 28, 2009 in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Now that the Cubs have finally moved Milton Bradley, it appears that former Ranger Marlon Byrd is the target of choice for GM Jim Hendry in his ongoing search for a center fielder.

The caveat, of course, is that Byrd must agree to a salary that fits within the budget that GM Jim Hendry has following the Bradley trade. Yes, the Cubs received cash in the deal with the Mariners, but that cash is spread over two seasons, first of all, and second, part of it has to cover the difference in Silva and Bradley's salary.

So now the Byrd watch is on. It makes sense for two reasons. One, he is a former student of new Cubs hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo, and two, he is the best center fielder left on the free agent market.

The 32-year old Byrd had a slash line of.283/.329/.479/.808, so he is no panacea. But he would be a welcome addition to a team starved for defense and speed, though Byrd doesn't steal bases (eight of 12 in 2009).

Byrd has many suitors, so Hendry may have to move quickly to sign him. It has been reported that Coco Crisp is the next player on his wish list.

But Crisp would be quite a drop off from Byrd.

In the meantime, Mr. Ricketts, have fun worrying about getting additional revenue streams while your 2010 Cubs looks like a fourth-place team.

The starting pitching is, for the first time in a couple years, looking like a major concern. With Ted Lilly coming off of surgery and Rich Harden gone, we desperately need another solid starter. But that isn't going to happen.

And you can forget about Silva helping the Cubs in the rotation. Perhaps his best place would be in the bullpen, where he excelled in his first and part of his second year in the majors.

Meanwhile, everybody's heard about the Byrd—even Hendry. The Byrd is the word, come to think of it.

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