On Monday, March 1st, the new Chicago Cubs center fielder Marlon Byrd was break dancing at spring training in Mesa, Arizona. Maybe the former Texas Ranger was celebrating the first day of his lease on a 15-room house in Lake View.

Byrd and his wife, Andrea, are paying $15,000 a month for the house, a real-estate source close to the deal tells me; the home was originally being offered at $32,000 a month. The six-bedroom house, completed in 2007 in a neighborhood of new high-end homes on a former parcel of industrial land, was also listed for sale at $2.649 million. It was taken off the market when the rental lease was signed.

The Cubs signed Byrd in late December to a three-year, $15-million deal. A replacement for the poorly performing Milton BradleyByrd had been with the Texas Rangers since 2006, spending part of that time on its triple-A team. He became a free agent after the 2009 season.

Byrd’s monthly rent might cover the owner’s carrying costs on the house. (I could not reach the home’s owner for comment, and the listing agent, Sandra Kessler of Prudential Rubloff, did not respond to phone messages, so these figures are based on my own calculations.) According to the Cook County Recorder of Deeds, Mario Gonzalez bought the house in 2007 for $2.537 million, and he has a $1.89-million mortgage on the place. With a 6-percent interest rate, monthly payments on the mortgage would be $12,280. Figuring in taxes, maintenance, and assessments, I estimate the total monthly bill is about $13,000.

The assessments, $450 a month, cover an unusual amenity. Byrd’s rental is at the street end of a cluster of 11 new houses that share a private clubhouse and pool, visible in both the top and bottom photos of this August 2008 Deal Estate item. The Byrds’ house is within two blocks of a big new semi-private park, a Starbucks, and the home of his teammate Carlos Zambrano.

Also: There may still be snow on the ground, but in the world of residential real estate, spring has sprung. Homebuyers who want to qualify for the federal stimulus tax break have to get a house under contract by April 30th and close on it by June 30th. “Don’t tell me you’re waiting for the spring market,” says Mike Drews, the president of the Main Street Organization of Realtors in the west and south suburbs. “The spring market is here. If you’re thinking of selling your house, I’d suggest getting it on the market quickly.”