Cubs trade Valbuena, Straily to Astros for Dexter Fowler


As far as believing the Chicago Cubs were done making deals for the most part, less Welington Castillo being traded, we were wrong as the Cubs dealt INF Luis Valbuena and RHP Dan Straily to the Astros for OF Dexter Fowler. Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer continue to try to find ways to solve problem areas, in this case on-base percentage. 

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Some may question why the Cubs acquired another outfielder with Chris Coghlan, Jorge Soler, Chris Denorfia and Arismendy Alcantara already in place. But that group is filled with just as many questions. Coghlan had a bounce back campaign, but will he be able to continue with that type of production? Soler had a good debut, but a very small sample size. Alcantara struggled overall, but is still very young, and Denorfia is more of a platoon guy.

So adding Fowler, 28, is a win/win move. Last season he hit .276/.375/.399 in 505 plate appearances for the Astros in his only season in Houston. He carries a career on-base percentage of .366, which will be an upgrade for a team that desperately wanted to find players that could get on base in front of the likes of Anthony Rizzo and Starlin Castro.

The trade of Valbuena wasn’t surprising to many, and for the Astros becomes an immediate upgrade, as last year’s third baseman Matt Dominguez was terrible, slashing a .215/.256/.330. Valbuena was the Cubs “super sub”, but will likely have the opportunity to with the third base job. He hit .259 with 16 home runs and 51 RBIs in 149 games with the Cubs last season.

Straily didn’t really have a place in Chicago, so he became an expendable asset. Acquired in the Jeff Samarzdija/ Jason Hammel deal, Straily struggled in 2014, posting a 6.75 ERA in 52 innings. He did however have a great 2013, and has five years of control remaining before he will hit free agency.

Bruce Levine was the first to break the Cubs were near acquiring Fowler.

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