The Brewers and Cubs took over the National League Central's high-rent district this week with their acquisitions of CC Sabathia and Rich Harden.
Jerry Hairston Jr. will enter free agency at season's end, but he appreciates the young nucleus his Reds possess. And he respects Cincinnati president of baseball operations/general manager Walt Jocketty, the architect who helped build St. Louis into a World Series champion in 2006.
"We understand where Milwaukee's at and where Chicago's at," Hairston said. "And hey, you know, I don't worry about what Milwaukee's doin'. I don't worry about what Chicago's doin'. I worry about what the Reds are doin', you know, and I like where we're at."
The Naperville North graduate had to leave about 19 tickets at Wrigley Field on Tuesday night, and received a day off Wednesday. After batting .261 with a .336 on-base percentage in 114 games for the Cubs in 2005, he was traded to Texas in May 2006.
Hairston remains close with Cubs first baseman Derrek Lee, and has been reunited in Cincinnati with former Cubs manager Dusty Baker.
"It's unfortunate, Dusty really got a bad rap here. It's just one of those things where...it's amazing," Hairston said. "Dusty didn't have that payroll over there - let's get that straight. They're extremely talented over there (and) they kind of stacked that team, you know, Dusty didn't have that over there. The team they did have, everybody was always injured.
"It just didn't work out."