NL Central Notes: Pudge, Chapman, Szczur

As Starlin Castro and Corey Hart celebrate birthdays today, here's the latest from the NL Central….

  • Writing for, Peter Gammons talks to a number of GMs and scouts about the NL Central contenders.  One general manager thinks the Reds could "be the single biggest favorite in any division going into the season," while three scouts are collectively unimpressed with the Brewers, saying "Milwaukee may be awful" this season.
  • Ivan Rodriguez is "not a fit" for the Astros' catching needs, tweets Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post.  The Nationals are known to be shopping one of their catchers, but Kilgore thinks Rodriguez's $3MM salary in 2011 may be too pricey for Houston, though the 'Stros have said they would add payroll for the right catcher.
  • Aroldis Chapman has been working hard in preparation for his first full Major League season, writes's Mark Sheldon.
  • Baseball America's Matt Eddy looks at the details of the contract Matt Szczur signed with the Cubs in January, and also the revamped deal he signed just last week.

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