Chicago Cubs: Is this offense really that bad?

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Jul 17, 2015; Milwaukee, WI, USA; Milwaukee Brewers left fielder Gerardo Parra (28) drives in a run with a base hit in the seventh inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Miller Park. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

What does it mean? 

With the July 31 trade deadline approaching on Friday, President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein has an opportunity to trade for a player that can help this team offensively. Various sources linked the Cubs to two such players.

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Gerardo Parra–Milwaukee Brewers

With Dexter Fowler struggling at the plate, the Chicago Cubs need a center fielder that can make an impact with his bat. The 28-year-old Venezuela product is having the best year of his career at the plate this season; slashing .317/.356/.505. If Cubs manager Joe Maddon doesn’t want to completely abandon Fowler, the left-handed Gerardo Parra could get starts based on matchups. According to baseball reference, the switch-hitting Fowler is hitting .211 against right-handed pitching while the left-handed Parra is hitting .322 against right-handed pitching. In the interest of creating favorable matchups, Parra could get the start when the opponent uses a right-handed starter while Fowler could get an opportunity against left-handed pitching. Last week, the New York Mets were in negotiations with the Brewers on acquiring Parra. Negotiations halted when the Brewers asking price was too steep. Reports now indicate that the Brewers have “a lot of interest” in keeping him, therefore; the Cubs will have to really sugarcoat a trade package to acquire this player.

Will Venable– San Diego Padres

Fox Sports reporter Jon Morosi reported on July 22 that the Cubs expressed interest in Will Venable. Since then, reports linking this player to the Cubs have been nonexistent. Regardless, Venable is another player that could offer support for a Chicago Cubs team that needs hitting at a reasonable price. He will make $4.25 million this season before becoming a free agent once the season wraps up. His hitting numbers aren’t as good as Parra, however; he still is an upgrade offensively to many of the players on this Chicago Cubs roster. This season he slashed .247/.318/.390 but has slumped lately only managing a .178 batting average in the month of July. Like Parra, his batting average against right-handed pitching is better than Fowlers, and he could take at-bats in situational hitting opportunities. Although he hasn’t been as good as Parra, he could serve a similar role at a reduced price–a combination that should appeal to a team that is reluctant to give up their top prospects in a trade package deal this season.

Next: In-house options