With Mike Cameron signing in Boston, the Cubs are turning their attention towards landing outfielder Marlon Byrd. Byrd is coming off three strong seasons in Texas, where he compiled a .296 average and averaged about 13 home runs per season, all under now-Cubs hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo.
Byrd is probably looking at a two year deal worth about 8-10 million dollars annually, but anything beyond that would be too generous for the 32-year old, who has had his most success in the fourth and sixth spot in the lineup.
Byrd is a .280 career hitter in the leadoff spot, but the Cubs would be overpaying for his services based on his past three years in Texas, when they could easily underpay for a leadoff hitter like Scott Podsednik and hope he exceeds expectations.
The Cubs have a slew of minor league prospects nearing the majors, and will be faced with the decision of moving them for a big name player, or buckling down for a season or two and waiting for them to emerge into major leaguers. Outfielder James Adduci put up excellent numbers in Double-A last season and is expected to join the Triple-A squad with his Double-A manager Ryne Sandberg.
Geovany Soto, Randy Wells, and Carlos Marmol could potentially be in a position to discuss contract extensions, if they continue to develop and mature into next season. For Soto and Marmol, it's more about returning to 2008 form after disappointing 2009 seasons. Regardless, more and more teams are investing in young talent and if you aren't willing to be aggressive on the market, it would be wise to develop young talent and build the organization from the ground up.
Adding Podsednik, rather than Byrd, gives the Cubs an experienced top of the order bat and an opportunity to try out their young talent, rather than staying committed to big contracts like they are in right and left field, and the corner infield spots, for better or worse.