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Latest NL Central Chatter

It has been a fairly quiet winter for the Cardinals, who are looking to defend a triumphant return to the top of the NL Central heap. In the latest edition of the Best Podcast In Baseball (audio link), Derrick Goold and St. Louis Post-Dispatch colleague Ben Frederickson examine the question whether the organization can still plug a big new bat into its lineup. There’s ongoing contact with Marcell Ozuna and interest in Nolan Arenado, but it’s still largely unclear whether either player — or some alternative — will end up with the Redbirds in 2020.

More from the NL Central:

  • The Reds are surely still contemplating additions even after inking Shogo Akiyama and making other roster upgrades. But GM Nick Krall suggests the outfield won’t be the focal point, as John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports on Twitter. With Akiyama installed up the middle, the Reds now have loads of options for finishing their roster, including potentially moving existing outfielders in various scenarios. The team will adopt an “opportunistic” stance with regard to free agent outfielders, Krall says. Further improvement could happen, it seems, but only if a compelling value proposition arises.
  • There has been a lot of turnover for the Brewers this winter, though it seems fair to say the approach has been one of seeking incremental, cost-efficient improvement. Certainly, there hasn’t been a marquee addition. The organization may or may not have something bigger up its sleeve, but it likely isn’t done making moves. GM David Stearns told reporters yesterday he’d be “surprised” if he isn’t able to make further roster tweaks, as Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel (Twitter links). The top Milwaukee baseball decisionmaker also indicated that he thinks it likelier the team will make its next strike via trade than through a free agent market that has already been drained of many of its best assets.
  • The Athletic’s Patrick Mooney and Sahadev Sharma (subscription link) provide an update on the not-yet-updated Cubs roster. Perhaps unsurprisingly … well, there’s really not much new to report. The club remains disappointed in the level of demand they’ve found for top potential trade chips Kris Bryant and Willson Contreras, per the reporting duo, which says that rivals feel the Chicago org has placed “sky-high asking prices.” Internally, the front office simply does not and has not ever intended to move those high-grade players “for anything less than a massive haul.” Under the circumstances, it’s not surprising to see ongoing stasis. The trouble is that the Cubs roster — which is examined in full in the link — doesn’t appear especially likely to make strides without new additions.

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