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NL Notes & Rumors: Cards, MadBum, Keuchel, Padres, Fish, Bucs

Even after re-signing Adam Wainwright earlier this offseason, the Cardinals are keeping an eye on the free-agent market for starting pitchers, Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch explains. The team has “had conversations” regarding left-handers Madison Bumgarner and Dallas Keuchel, according to Goold, who adds that St. Louis prefers to have right-hander Carlos Martinez return to a starting role after spending all of 2019 as a reliever. If that happens, the Cardinals may have a full complement of starters with Wainwright, Martinez, Jack Flaherty, Dakota Hudson and Miles Mikolas. For now, Martinez is recovering nicely from the right shoulder procedure he underwent in October.

Here’s more from the National League….

  • This has been an aggressive offseason for the Padres, who have signed or traded for Drew Pomeranz, Jurickson Profar, Trent Grisham and Tommy Pham over the past few weeks. The club’s not done yet, though, as it continues trying to find ways to break its long-running playoff drought next season. General manager A.J. Preller said (via AJ Cassavell of MLB.com) that the team’s still “actively involved in conversations” and “looking to improve our roster” as next week’s Winter Meetings approach. Could that mean signing one of the top starting pitchers available? Not necessarily, as Cassavell writes that the Padres “seem determined not to overpay for the current options on the market.” However, Cassavell suggests the Padres won’t stand pat when it comes to their starting staff.
  • The Marlins are seeking relievers who can do a better job limiting walks than their bullpen cast in 2019 did, Joe Frisaro of MLB.com relays. Miami’s relief corps finished the year with the second-highest walk rate in the game (4.37 per nine), and as president of baseball operations said, “you can’t defend a walk.” Frisaro names longtime Yankees reliever Dellin Betances as a potential target for the club in free agency, though it’s unclear whether that’s anything more than speculation. Betances was often dominant before missing almost all of last season with multiple injuries, but control hasn’t necessarily been his forte. The 31-year-old walked more than 6.5 batters per nine as recently as 2017.
  • Stephen J. Nesbitt of The Athletic (subscription link) tackles the Pirates’ lack of spending in free agency, noting they’re last in the majors in that department since owner Bob Nutting took control in 2007. The Pirates have been loath to hand out multiyear contracts under Nutting, and while they have a new general manager in Ben Cherington, their lack of spending probably won’t change much. This is a new frontier for Cherington, whose previous GM gig came with the deep-pocketed Red Sox. But Cherington did fail on a couple big-money signings in Boston, as the Hanley Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval deals went down as regrettable for the club.

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