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NL Central Notes: Reyes, Astros, Molina, Pujols

The Cardinals not only won the World Series, but they've also been named Baseball America's 2011 Organization Of The Year.  This is the first time the St. Louis organization has taken top honors since Baseball America instituted the award in 1982. 

Here's some other news from around the NL Central....

  • The Pirates are talking to southpaw Jo-Jo Reyes about a minor league contract, reports Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (Twitter link).  Reyes posted a 5.57 ERA in 29 games with the Blue Jays and Orioles in 2011 and was non-tendered by the O's earlier this week.
  • The Astros will give several of their young arms a shot at the closer's job in Spring Training, reports MLB.com's Brian McTaggart.  Houston also has Brandon Lyon returning to provide some veteran closing experience.  Stay tuned to Closer News for the latest on the Astros' late-game situation.
  • Yadier Molina's contract is up after 2012 and Bernie Miklasz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch wonders if Molina's friendship with Albert Pujols could make the catcher less inclined to re-sign with the Cardinals.  Molina would be one of the most-sought after members of the 2013 free agent class if he and the Cards don't agree on a new deal.  Miklasz suggests the Angels could target Molina this winter if he hits free agency, but I'd think such a move would only happen if Chris Iannetta is a big disappointment behind the plate in Anaheim.
  • Tony La Russa tells Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that Pujols was "conflicted' about leaving the Cardinals to sign with the Angels.  "I know it was a painful decision and it pains him now," La Russa said. "He deserves what he got. He earned it. There's no bad guy here."  La Russa also felt the situation was "unavoidable" and that Pujols "was disappointed there wasn't more enthusiasm from the Cardinals" when the Angels and Marlins made big pushes to sign the superstar at the Winter Meetings.








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