Byrd, who was traded for pitcher Michael Bowden and a minor league player to be named, had only nice things to say about the Cub management team that dealt him.
“I knew I was going to be traded,” said Byrd, whose $6.5 million contract will be paid almost entirely by the Cubs, according to a major league source. “Brett Jackson is the future there, but I didn’t know when. I didn’t think it would be in April, but there was a need for me over here. I almost had to apologize to them for starting so slow. They should have been able to get more for me.”
Byrd, who was hitting just .070 for the Cubs, has had a good start with Boston, batting .308 in his first three games. The Red Sox are 3-0 with Byrd.
Though he is happy to be with a team that likely will be a contender this season, Byrd will miss being a Cub.
“My family loved it here. They made great friends as did I on and off the field,” Byrd said. “I loved the organization and the Ricketts. We are close to them. I love the Ricketts. This is a business, and it was time to move on.”
Byrd had some observations on his former team as they continue the process of getting younger and better.
“The leadership right now has to come from the veterans like Kerry Wood and Ryan Dempster,” Byrd said. “I‘m assuming that Theo [Epstein] is going to get his base off young guys and then bring in some older veterans like he did here in Boston. You do have to have veterans because they are the only players who know about leadership.”
The timetable for winning under the new regime is anyone’s guess at this point, but Byrd believes the Cubs have the right people in place.
“ It’s going to be a couple of years,” Byrd said. “When Theo came over my guess was 2014 or 2015. They are going to be ready to contend every year, not just be good that year, but from that point on start a dynasty.”
One of Byrd’s new teammates is Boston closer Alfredo Aceves who hit Byrd in the face on May 16 in Boston.
“He was a gentleman about it from the time I was hit,” Byrd said. “He contacted me in the hospital and all is good between us.”