Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine said that, given the early-season injuries to Jacoby Ellsbury and Carl Crawford -- along with outfielder Jason Repko, who suffered a slight separation of his left shoulder while crashing into the wall at Fenway Park on Friday -- he and GM Ben Cherington have talked "often" about acquiring an outfielder from outside the organization. Asked if anything was imminent, Valentine said, "Something ... the talks have been good talks from what I gather."
The Sox (as first reported by Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe) may be close to acquiring Cubs outfielder Marlon Byrd, with multiple industry sources suggesting that a deal to bring the outfielder to Boston is probable, though those sources cautioned that as of Saturday early afternoon, nothing was finalized. Byrd is off to a dreadful offensive start this year, hitting .070/.149/.070/.219 with just three singles in 47 plate appearances. Byrd is in the final year of a three-year, $15 million deal, and will earn $6.5 million this year.
(Random aside: The structure of that contract suggests the makings of a deal that, hypothetically, could help the Red Sox' payroll as calculated for luxury tax purposes. If, for instance, the Cubs sent $5.5 million to Boston to offset the outfielder's salary, then it would actually decrease the Red Sox' payroll as calculated for CBT purposes, as that sum would be subtracted from Byrd's $5 million average annual salary.)
While Byrd hasn't been hitting this year, he hit .276/.324/.395/.719 last year, and he is considered a solid defensive option in center field.
"He's great," said Sox infielder Nick Punto, who played with Byrd in Philadelphia. "Great, hard-working, good player. It would be good if we can get him. He's a tremendous athlete, runs the ball down good."
At a time when the trade market has yet to take shape, the options are relatively limited. The Sox are trying to address their lack of outfield depth as best as they can in that environment.
"[GM Ben Cherington] will try to get as good a player as he can get," said Valentine. "Obviously it’s difficult to get if you’re looking in April, as we are."
For complete Sox coverage, visit weei.com/redsox.
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