Congratulations to the Milwaukee Brewers and St. Louis Cardinals, who will meet in the NLCS after each club won a superb Game Five tonight. This is the first all-NL Central NLCS since the Astros topped the Cards in 2005, and this is the first time Milwaukee and St. Louis have met in the postseason since the 1982 World Series. The NLCS begins on Sunday at Miller Park, with Zack Greinke getting the Game One start for the Brewers.
Some more news as we head into the weekend....
- There is plenty of reaction to Andy MacPhail's decision to step down as the Orioles' president of baseball operations. Peter Schmuck of the Baltimore Sun credits MacPhail with leaving the team in better shape than when he arrived, though this wasn't reflected in the win-loss column. MLB.com's Brittany Ghiroli provides a recap of MacPhail's most notable moves in Baltimore. Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com expects the next O's GM to have "a more aggressive approach [in free agency]...for better or worse" as opposed to MacPhail's practice of "letting the market play out."
- The White Sox seem to be looking to 2012 as a rebuilding year, writes MLB.com's Scott Merkin. After a year of seeing how young players develop in the Majors and seeing how rookie manager Robin Ventura adapts to the job, Merkin says Chicago could push for contention in 2013 if all goes well.
- With this youth movement in mind, Merkin thinks A.J. Pierzynski and Paul Konerko could be approached about waiving their no-trade clauses. Both players were somewhat open to the idea, though both clearly stated they wanted to end their careers with the White Sox.
- How did Juan Carlos Oviedo (a.k.a. Leo Nunez) keep his identity hidden for years? Frances Robles of the Miami Herald examines Oviedo's situation and the risks that some Latin American players take to escape poverty and reach the Major Leagues. Oviedo "was able to keep the secret for long, because he was living the dream that every Dominican boy imagines growing up. If he lied and succeeded, then the end justified the means,” said Charles Farrell, head of the Dominican Republic Sports and Education Academy. “No one was going to fault him for that, no one was going to blow his cover."
- Farrell also tells Robles that by his estimate, there are at least 30 current Dominican players using false identities.
- Ron Gardenhire says the Twins aren't likely to sign a top free agent pitcher like C.J. Wilson, reports MLB.com's Rhett Bollinger as part of a mailbag piece. "I think we're all smart enough to figure out that free agents out there, as far as pitchers go, if they're really good they're probably going to require a little bit more money than we're willing to pay them," Gardenhire said. "All the big shooters. And there's going to be a market for the rest of them."
- Mark DeRosa could be a good fit as a versatile bench bat for the Braves, provided he can stay healthy, writes MLB.com's Mark Bowman.
- With the Astros' possible move to the AL West in mind, Fangraphs' Reed MacPhail analyzes how each of this season's National League teams would've fared playing in the AL West.