It is no secret that top prospect Brett Jackson will eventually be the starting center fielder for the Chicago Cubs before the season is over. But for now at least, center field is still manned by Marlon Byrd. Jackson’s inevitable arrival coupled with the fact that Byrd has struggled to produce runs offensively, are two reasons why Byrd may not be with the Chicago Cubs by the time the July trading deadline arrives.
This is where the Washington Nationals come into the picture. Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports reported this week that the Nationals are currently looking around for a center fielder. It does not take a rocket scientist to figure out that the Nationals probably have inquired on Marlon Byrd by now.
According to Bleacher Nation, the Nationals may have done more than inquire on Byrd, as a source says that the Cubs and Nationals had discussions regarding the Cubs’ center fielder. It remains to be seen if the Cubs are at the point where they want to start fielding offers for Byrd, but with Jackson’s hot start, that time may soon be coming.
There are multiple reasons why the Cubs will not trade Marlon Byrd at this point in the season. The most obvious reason would be that it is too early in the season. It is very rare that any MLB team makes a significant trade a month into the season. Especially a trade that would involve one of their starting position players.
Has Byrd struggled this season on offense? Yes, but that is because he is not a #3 hitter in a lineup. Byrd is hitting .270/.289/.351 in 74 at bats this season. Granted that is not the best of starts to the season, but hitting .270 is certainly not the worst of starts. However, Byrd’s numbers are not acceptable for what is expected out of a typical three hitter in a lineup. Eventually Byrd is going to move down in the lineup, where he is a much more productive hitter. So it is unfair to suggest that Byrd should be traded because of his “struggles” offensively.
The last reason why the Cubs are not going to trade Byrd right now is because Brett Jackson is not major league ready. As I pointed out last week, it is still too early to start the Brett Jackson watch. Jackson has not reached 100 at bats yet with the Tennessee Smokies. Once he does, that is probably when the Cubs will begin to discuss the next level for Jackson. The next level could very well be a brief stint with the Iowa Cubs before making his major league debut.
There will probably be a plethora of trade rumors involving Marlon Byrd leading up to the trade deadline, but at this point, it is too early to suggest that the Cubs have begun shopping Marlon Byrd.