Unfinished Business: NL Central

We looked at the NL East earlier; now it's time to examine the unfinished business of NL Central clubs.

  • Cubs: Starting pitcher.  ESPN's Bruce Levine says the Cubs are still talking to Tampa Bay about Matt Garza, though the Rays seem to prefer to hang on to him.  The Cubs' rotation is already five-deep, so adding a back-end guy wouldn't make sense.  
  • Reds: Lefty reliever, left-handed hitting outfielder/leadoff hitter, backup shortstop, Joey Votto extension.  The Reds have a small amount of cash to play with after Arthur Rhodes signed with the Rangers.  Scott Podsednik or Fred Lewis could fit into their tight budget.  NL MVP Votto will be tough to lock up, but he's under team control through 2013 anyway.
  • Astros: Lefty reliever.  The Astros will probably stay in-house for left-handed relief, though they could make a minor move.  They also appear reluctant to sign a left fielder and affect Brett Wallace's playing time.  Their last move may be trading Jeff Keppinger to clear a little payroll.
  • Brewers: None.  After signing Takashi Saito today, the Brewers might be done with a successful offseason.  They have Yuniesky Betancourt at shortstop and Carlos Gomez/Chris Dickerson in center, but don't appear to be looking for upgrades.
  • Pirates: Veteran reliever, starting pitcher, taker for Ryan Doumit.  Despite the signings of Kevin Correia and Scott Olsen, MLB.com's Jenifer Langosch says they're still looking for starting pitching.  They've also been in on Octavio Dotel and others and appear to be shopping Doumit.
  • Cardinals: Albert Pujols extension, pitching depth.  There was word on December 8th from Joe Strauss that the Cards were shopping for a sixth starter and big league reliever, though MLB.com's Matthew Leach wrote six days ago that they appear to be done adding Major Leaguers.  An established backup third baseman wouldn't hurt.  The dominating story for the next several weeks should be Pujols, who will be perilously close to free agency if the Cards don't get something done before spring training.

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