One of the memes that's out there right now is that Marlon Byrd needs to be brought back -- even if it means giving him a multi-year deal -- because Julio Borbon isn't (or may not be) ready defensively to play centerfield in 2010, and thus we have to bring Byrd back.
Nevermind that he'd likely spend the majority of the deal as a vastly overpaid fourth outfielder...the Rangers want to contend in 2010, and they can't do that with Borbon in center in 2010, so Byrd must return.
But it seems to me the Rangers would be better off, in that situation, pursuing someone else -- Brewer centerfielder Mike Cameron.
Cameron had a .281 EQA last season, after a .279 EQA in 2008 and a .272 EQA in 2007. As a point of comparison, Marlon Byrd had a .266 EQA in 2009, a .289 EQA in 2008, and a .274 EQA in 2007.
Defensively, Cameron used to be an elite defender...he's probably not anymore, but he appears to still be very good. After a -10.6 UZR/150 in 2007 in center, he had a +15.6 in 2008 and a +6.1 in 2009.
Byrd has only about half the number of games Cameron has had in center over the past 3 years, but his UZR has come in at around even.
Both of these guys are in their decline years, and Cameron, being older, is going to decline more quickly than Byrd...but still, given a choice, factoring in both offense and defense, I think it is unlikely Byrd will significantly outperform Cameron in 2010.
So if you could land Cameron for, say, 1 year, $8 million (which seems like his likely cost in this economy), or Byrd for 3 years, $20 million, why wouldn't you take the guy that gives you a shorter-term commitment, given that you have Borbon in the wings?