Should the Cubs trade several prospects for Brian Roberts? Should they trade for Marlon Byrd of the Texas Rangers? The short answer to both of them is a resounding no. Let me start off with the Marlon Byrd deal. Allegedly this deal would include Matt Murton and another prospect or two. Great deal for the Rangers, they acquire a proven commodity in Murton, who can start at two OF positions, and probably a midlevel prospect. Murton’s career stat line reads like this .296 BA/.352 OBP/.438 SLG in 830 ABs. The Cubs get Marlon Byrd whom can play all 3 outfield positions and is slightly a better defender than Murton. His stat line reads .273 BA/.334 OBP/.394 SLG.
As the numbers show, Murton gets on base more and even has more pop in his bat. The only reason to make this trade is to have a backup in centerfield for Felix Pie but this is where I can see a fault in the trade. Alfonso Soriano, Mark DeRosa, and to a lesser extent Ronny Cedeno, and Kosuke Fukudome can all fill in at center for Pie. This is assuming Sam Fuld does not make the roster. Also, with Soriano being hurt, this would be perfect for Murton to get more ABs because I have a feeling this injury is worse than they are letting the public know.
If the Cubs did not have these temporary options in CF and were not giving up an extra prospect, then maybe I could agree with the trade. Murton is even making less money than Byrd this season. Overall, I believe the Cubs are overvaluing Byrd and undervaluing Murton.
The Brian Roberts trade is more understandable but nevertheless, not a trade with good long-term implications for the Cubs. Roberts is a career .281 BA/.351 OBP/.409 SLG hitter while Mark DeRosa is .278 BA/.341 OBP/.408 SLG, the numbers are eerily similar. I would be fine with trading Murton for Roberts straight up or even including an average prospect but the trade rumors that I have heard call for the Cubs to give the Orioles a combination of Sean Gallagher, Felix Pie, Eric Patterson, Jose Ceda, Sean Marshall, Matt Murton, and Ronny Cedeno. The number I keep hearing is 3 of those will go to them for Roberts.
This price is too much to pay for a player with nearly the same career numbers as a player already on the roster. Yes, I know DeRosa is older and apparently, he has or had a heart condition but do not want the Cubs turning into the White Sox. By turning into the White Sox, I mean trading away young talent for veterans. It worked out for them but that was mostly due to all of their pitchers having career years, if you remember hard enough, you would remember even Neal Cotts had a sparkling ERA of 1.96 that season.
Now, the Sox have no farm system and have no talent in the pipeline. They were good for a couple of seasons but they should be a perennial top ten pick come June for the next few years.
Make no mistake, I want Roberts but I will not pay a king’s ransom for him and deplete us of our young talent, and our farm system is middle of the pack to begin with.