Some items of note out of the NL Central as players and reporters alike continue to trickle into Spring Training camps in Florida and Arizona ...
- Cardinals non-roster invitee Ian Snell, signed to a minor league deal, cited Redbirds pitching coach Dave Duncan as an incentive for him signing with St. Louis, writes Matthew Leach of MLB.com. Duncan, of course, is known for his penchant for helping down-on-their-luck pitchers get their careers back on track. Snell, who spent 2010 with the Mariners, has had a rough go of it since posting 14 wins with the Pirates back in 2006.
- Is Albert Pujols worth upwards of $30MM for as many as 10 years? That's the question examined at length by Tim Logan of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. The baseball community has made great strides in calculating how a player's performance translates to wins in recent years, but even still, it can be tough to pinpoint the connection between wins and return on investment (financially), Logan writes.
- Cubs right-hander Jeff Samardzija is out of minor league options, writes Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune, and is therefore all but assured of a roster spot (likely in the bullpen) coming out of Spring Training, lest he be exposed to waivers. Samardzija has been shuttled between the minors and Majors, as well as starting and relieving, since being drafted by the Cubs in the fifth round in 2006.
- Prince Fielder is probably hoping Pujols signs an extension before hitting free agency so that Fielder's market value isn't diminished next offseason, writes Bill Shaikin of the LA Times. Fielder is scheduled to become a free agent after this season, and with fewer teams in need of a premier first baseman as of now, he'll need all the leverage he can get, according to Shaikin.
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