After a few months of shopping around, the Cubs finally settled on Marlon Byrd as their new center fielder, signing him to a 3 year deal worth a reported $15 million. What should Cubs fans expect from their new center fielder?
Essentially, the epitome of an average player. Byrd is, across the board, about as average as it gets. His career wOBA is .332, and that’s based on a skill set that is neither strong nor weak at any one thing. He walks some, strikes out some, and hits for some power, though he’s not a slugger.
Given that this is a big time buyer’s market, pretty much any deal is going to look good in comparison with other contracts signed in prior years, and this one is no different. In over 4,000 innings in center field, his career UZR/150 is 0.0.
Jack of all trades, master of none, thy name is Marlon Byrd. To be fair, he’s been a bit above average the last few years, but the Cubs are signing him for his age 32-34 seasons, so they should be building some regression into his past performances. Projecting him as a +2 win player going forward is fair.
$5 million a year, even on a three year deal, is a good contract for the Cubs. He fills a hole and should provide a solid performance at a cost of less than $3 million per win. Even in this kind of market, that’s a move worth making. Byrd is not a star, but he’s good enough at everything to be a useful role player, and the price was right for the Cubs.
Dave is the Managing Editor of FanGraphs.