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On Saturday the Red Sox finalized a trade that will send outfield veteran Marlon Byrd from the Chicago Cubs to Boston, where he will add depth to an injured outfield. In exchange the Sox send pitcher Michael Bowden, who had struggled up and down from the minor leagues in the Sox organization for years. Boston will also send a player to be named later and receive money towards Byrd’s $6.5 million contract.
This season Byrd is hitting just .070 with three hits in 43 at bats. In his career he’s played for the Phillies, Nationals, Rangers, Cubs, and now the Sox. He will likely take the everyday center field job until Jacoby Ellsbury returns from his shoulder injury months from now. The Sox are also still missing left fielder Carl Crawford, so expect Byrd to see some time playing left as well. Despite his low offensive numbers Byrd gives the Sox something they need; a player who can be penciled in everyday to start in center without question marks defensively.
Bowden was a pitcher with promise but never quite showed that talent at the major league level. He heads to a Cubs pitching staff where he could see significant time at the major league level in 2012, and even more notably he exists back under the eye of former Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein, who restocked the Cubs farm system with former Sox prospect Anthony Rizzo in January.
The trade is nothing special, but it’s a good one for the Red Sox. Even with the bullpen as horrible as it has pitched lately, Bowden wasn’t going to be the solution. His place on the team was trade bait at best, and by bringing in Byrd they add a good defensive option which may be the first step towards repairing parts of the roster.