Marlon Byrd was in the news for most of this past week. Byrd has been the subject of trade rumors in light of reports that had the Cubs talking with the Atlanta Braves and Washington Nationals about a potential deal involving the Cubs’ starting center field. Those rumors have yet to cool. The Cubs are still looking to trade Byrd, and may be looking to improve their bullpen with such a deal. The Cubs’ final 25 man roster is not set because of manager Dale Sveum, general manager Jed Hoyer, and president of baseball Theo Epstein continuing to mull over the final candidates for the Cubs’ bullpen. The trio does not appear to be too content with the how the bullpen is shaping up as Hoyer has come out several times and told reporters that the team is looking to improve their bullpen.
It would appear that the Cubs’ front office is looking to an acquire a reliever through the trade market rather than signing a veteran to a minor league as the team did with Shawn Camp last week. General manager Jed Hoyer and President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein may be dangling Byrd in front of teams in an effort to acquire a relief player. Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun Times reported last week that the Cubs offered Byrd to the Nationals for pitching. The pitcher the Cubs requested was believed to be former Cub Tom Gorzelanny.
The initial thought last week was that Byrd would be traded before Opening Day. In the days since, the momentum towards a Byrd trade has slowed. But the Cubs’ front office may have left one hint that Byrd could still be traded before Opening Day. That hint comes in the form of the team finalizing their position player portion on their 25 man roster. Joe Mather made the 25 man roster as the team’s fifth outfielder. With Mather winning a spot on the Cubs’ 25 man roster, that would mean that Tony Campana would be sent to the Iowa Cubs. However, when the Cubs announced the winners of the position battles last week–and made cuts reflecting such decisions–Campana has remained on the Cubs’ Major League roster. The Cubs will likely have one more round of cuts on Tuesday or Wednesday to finalize the pitching, and it is possible that Campana will be optioned to Iowa when those cuts are made. However, it is strange nonetheless that Campana is still on the Major League roster.
One reason why Campana is still on the Major League roster is because of the Cubs’ front office is holding out hope that they will be able to trade Byrd before Opening Day. The Cubs are going to need a center fielder if they were to trade Byrd before Opening Day. Top prospect Brett Jackson is going to start the season with the Iowa Cubs, and will not be called up to the Major League team until May at the earliest. Meaning the Cubs will need a temporary replacement to Byrd for the month of April. Tony Campana should not be considered an everyday player. However, pair Campana with veteran Reed Johnson and the Cubs have a center field platoon that should hold the team over until Jackson is deemed Major League Ready.
While it may be likely that Campana is optioned down on Tuesday or Monday, the fact that he remains on the Major League roster signals that Epstein and Hoyer are entertaining the idea of trading Byrd before Thursday. After all, the new Cubs’ regime has given new meaning to saying “never say never.”