Cubs face decisions on Wells, Byrd

March, 28, 2012
3/28/12
1:55
PM CT
MESA, Ariz. -- The Chicago Cubs are not shopping their players, but they sure are doing a lot of listening as spring training comes to a close.

[+] EnlargeBryan LaHair
AP Photo/Ross D. FranklinMarlon Byrd, left, has apparently drawn interest from the Braves, according to sources.
Teams have inquired about the availability of pitcher Randy Wells and centerfielder Marlon Byrd. The rotation appears set without Wells, who makes $2.705 million this season. Wells, 29, appears headed to the bullpen or back to Triple-A Iowa. If the Cubs try to send him out he would have to clear waivers (he does have a minor league option left).

If the Cubs make any moves, they’d be looking to get left-handed bullpen help. The Atlanta Braves, and Washington Nationals have inquired, according to a source familiar with the situation.

The Cubs could trade Wells, but may elect to keep him as insurance for the rotation. Wells has not talked to manager Dale Sveum or pitching coach Chris Bosio about his fate, preferring to just focus on his pitching.

A few clubs, including the Braves, have watched Byrd all spring and approached the Cubs about a deal, according to league sources. The Cubs must decide if they are ready to start the major league clock for 23-year-old prospect Brett Jackson, who was the most impressive position player in Cubs camp this spring and has since been sent to minor league camp.

Sveum said last week Jackson was the best young player he had ever seen in a major league spring training. Three players on the current roster told ESPNChicago.com that Jackson is ready for the big leagues and is mature enough to handle himself on and off the field.

“He did not go out one night in spring training, that’s how focused he was,” Byrd said.

The Cubs will meet Wednesday night to discuss the 25-man roster before heading back to Chicago for Opening Day on April 5. The decisions that come out of the meeting, which will include president Theo Epstein, general manager Jed Hoyer, assistant general manager Randy Bush as well as Sveum and his coaching staff, will have an impact on not only who stays on the team but who goes.

Bruce Levine | email

Chicago baseball beat reporter
Bruce Levine has covered sports in Chicago for over 28 years and hosts "Talkin' Baseball," heard Saturday mornings on ESPN 1000.

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TEAM LEADERS

WINS LEADER
Jason Hammel
WINS ERA SO IP
2 2.63 11 13
OTHER LEADERS
BAE. Bonifacio .392
HRA. Rizzo 2
RBIA. Rizzo 8
RA. Rizzo 9
OPSE. Bonifacio .887
ERAJ. Samardzija 1.29
SOT. Wood 17