The Cubs, The Cubs. The Cubs? The Cubs!

Damnit to hell. The Cubs just keep getting better.  At least on paper… While the Reds are out throwing minor league pitching prospects away in return for soon to be 38 year old outfielders, the Cubs are addressing needs.  The funny thing is, the Cubs seem to have a good understanding about what their needs might be going into the new season.  The Reds are throwing darts in the dark, hoping to hit a bullseye.

On Monday, the Cubs traded for 28 year old outfielder Dexter Fowler in exchange for third baseman Luis Valbuena and right-handed pitcher Dan Straily.  Fowler fills two big needs for the Cubs; he is a leadoff hitter that also gets on base regularly.  Fowler, who has a  career slash line of .271/.366/.419, brings an arbitration case to Chicago that will need to be finalized.  Last week he asked for $10.8 million and was offered $8.5 million.  Fowler is eligible for free agency after the season.

In comparison, Marlon Byrd will be paid a little over $8 million and will also be a free agent after the 2015 season. The Phillies did agree to pay a portion of Byrd’s salary.  However, Byrd has been handed the job in left field for Cincinnati with his career slash line of .278/.333/.427.   Did I mention that Byrd would be turning 38 this season?

The Reds have been out maneuvered in the off season for several seasons in a row.  They will soon owe four players $70 million.  The Reds have a veteran team with an inexperienced manager.  The Cubs have a young team loaded with prospects and an experienced manager in Joe Maddon.  As the 2015 season grows nearer, the reality of what the Reds are going to be able to accomplish grows clearer.  You can almost hear the door slamming and the windows closing.

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