NL Central Notes: Cubs, Rizzo, Cardinals, Lee, Heisey

Here's the latest from the NL Central…

  • Cubs GM Jed Hoyer wants to add more depth to his pitching staff, reports's Carrie Muskat.  "At this point, we're still very much in the process of gathering as many quality arms as we can, and we'll put those pieces in place as we get closer to Spring Training," Hoyer said.  "We have worked hard, and we continue to work hard, and hopefully we'll have even more starting-pitching acquisitions….We want to go seven, eight, nine deep in the rotation and we hope to replenish the bullpen as well."
  • ESPN's Keith Law gives the Cubs the "slight edge" in today's Anthony Rizzo-for-Andrew Cashner trade.  Law says he would rather have Rizzo than Yonder Alonso, who the Padres acquired from the Reds last month as part of the package for Mat Latos.
  • The Cardinals announced Derek Lilliquist will become the team's new pitching coach, with Dyer Miller taking Lilliquist's old job as bullpen coach.  The moves may or may not be permanent as former pitching coach Dave Duncan is on an indefinite leave of absence to be with his wife, who underwent brain surgery last August. 
  • The Pirates have shown some interest in bringing back Derrek Lee but "the first baseman doesn’t seem to have reciprocated that interest," writes's Jenifer Langosch.  Of the five remaining Pirate free agents, Langosch thinks only Paul Maholm has a chance of returning, but the Bucs will likely be outbid by one of Maholm's several other suitors.
  • Incumbent Reds left fielder Chris Heisey talks to John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer, who thinks Heisey has earned "a long trial" at the everyday job.  The Reds have recently been connected to free agent outfielders Rick Ankiel, Ryan Ludwick and Cody Ross.
  • The Reds have announced the signings of catcher Corky Miller and left-hander Jeremy Horst to minor league contracts with invites to the Major League spring training camp.  Miller, a 10-year veteran, was originally drafted by the Reds in 1998 and has spent the last three years in Cincinnati's system.  Horst, 26, made his Major League debut last season with the Reds, posting a 2.93 ERA in 12 relief appearances.  Previously-announced signings Brian Esposito, Sean Gallagher, Daryl Jones, Chad Reineke, Clayton Tanner and Kanekoa Texeira were also confirmed as non-roster invitees.

31 Responses to NL Central Notes: Cubs, Rizzo, Cardinals, Lee, Heisey Leave a Reply

  1. Hoyer makes it sound like Garza is going no where, but I disagree. If we trade Garza for Turner and prospects, that leaves us with a rotation of Dempster, Wells, Volstad, Wood, Coleman, Sonnanstine, possibly Turner or AAA, and maybe sign Maholm.

  2. Matt Talken 3 years ago

    As a Cardinals fan, I’m unsure how to feel about the new season.  There’s a lot of positives and negatives for this team this off-season.

    Obviously on the negative, our HoF Manager is gone.  Our best player is gone.  Our top-tier pitching coach is on indefinite leave.  However, at the same time, we kept Furcal, added to our outfield depth with Beltran and will be getting Wainwright back (albeit probably not at 100% this season, but Wainwright at 80% effectiveness is certainly better than our #4 or #5 guy last year), and our bullpen will probably more closely resemble the top-notch bullpen that was a major strength for the team down the stretch and in the playoffs rather than the leaky ship that it was during the first 2 months plus.

    I’m still generally optimistic, but if Matheny and Lilliquist can’t get the same results from the players as TLR and Duncan, this team could be looking at third place (Then again, sometimes I think TLR tinkered too much and some of the players probably underperformed with him, but that’s a different conversation altogether…)

    • 1) Lilliquist did a pretty good job last year when Duncan was out for a while. Not 100% confident in him, but he impressed me in that regard. I do hope Dunc comes back soon though, if his wife regains her health. 2) If you were anything like me, I found myself questioning and being frustrated w/ TLR most of last year. I’m very interested to see what Matheny can do. To beat out those other managerial candidates, he must have REALLY impressed. I think it’s a good time for a change at the helm. 3) I thought I heard somewhere that Waino has been throwing off the mound and could be pretty close to 100% when the season starts. Control problems though may be an issue early on, I’ve heard as well. 4) A few good things about AP’s departure: We won’t see as many intentional walks-We won’t have to watch AP dog it to first on a ground ball anymore-We might actually have a running game next year!!-It’ll be nice to see the guys push themselves on a daily basis, instead of waiting on AP to hit that 3-run HR. 5) We should be right there near the top again next year. No reason to think a 3rd place finish. Go Cards!!

    • Guest 3 years ago

      you are going to the playoffs….who is going to contend with you, the reds??? st.louis pitching is too good for the reds and milwaukee will be a non factor and you cant possibly be afraid of pittsburgh and the cubs…come on there guy!!!

  3. Corky has to be a hard name to live with.

  4. nycub 3 years ago

    Slight edge, Keith Law?! 

  5. Gunner65 3 years ago

    Gotta agree with Fay. If they were willing to give Janish half a season at SS they might as well give Heisey at least that long in LF. He’s never really been given extended time in LF while we suffered through over half a season of Gomes out there day after day.

    • bravesdude 3 years ago

      I really like Heisey . I wish the Braves would at least ask the Reds about him .

  6. Cards_Fanboy 3 years ago

    A fresh new ERA of Cardinal winning

  7. thebigdog 3 years ago

    Anthony Rizzo fills a long time Cubs need — not since Joe Pepitone and Carmen Fanzone in the 70’s have they had a bad Italian-American first baseman.

  8. Franl Edwardo 3 years ago

    Keith Law surely knows his stuff, but i have to go with alonso here.  i have watched both players hit.  Alonso knows exactly what he wants to do when he gets to home plate.  And, while he doesnt have outstanding overall power, he has great bat control and understands how to use the entire field.  I never got that feeling with Rizzo. 

    I am sure Rizzo is a very hard worker, he has to be to recover from what he went through.  But, Alonso is by all accounts one of the hardest working players in baseball, with a strong desire to make himself as good as possible.  His confidence is also extremely high.  Players that continually work to make themselves better, regardless of how good they actually are, are a rare commodity.  

    • YanksFanSince78 3 years ago

      I don’t think anyone cares that Padres traded him but I think they could’ve gotten more than Cashner. 

      • Franl Edwardo 3 years ago

        agreed, i thought it was a minimal return for a “highly regarded” player.  

        I was, however, just stating my disagreement with law on his preference of the two 1st baseman.

      • Khabibulan 3 years ago

        Maybe they couldn’t? The Rays could’ve thrown a dart while blindfolded at their minor league depth chart and probably come up with a better offer. And they NEED a 1B.
        I like Cashner, but his value had to be really low after last season.

        • YanksFanSince78 3 years ago

          Did you misread what I wrote? It’s difficult to imagine that they COULDN’T do better than Cashner and that’s my point. They settled for some reason.

          • Khabibulan 3 years ago

            Maybe teams weren’t big at all on Rizzo. Maybe Cashner WAS the best offer

    • GasLampGuru 3 years ago

      I remember people saying similar things about Adrian Gonzalez when KT traded for him – good idea at the plate, good bat control, uses the whole field, not much pop.

      Do I think Alonso will hit 40+ HR some day?  No, not really.  But there is no reason to think he can’t learn to drive/elevate the ball and become a 25-30HR guy who also hits 30-40 doubles every season.  I see him being a .280/.350/.470 type guy as he develops.

      I’m curious to see what type of hitter Grandal becomes once he gets to PetCo.

  9. Franl Edwardo 3 years ago

    the only problem with this is his SO rate.  Add in stubbs, Bruce and votto and you are piling up the easy outs.  Now Votto you can toss out, he rarely has bad at bats in clutch situations. add in a young catcher and shortstop and aging third baseman and there will be some tough games for this team.  

  10. bighiggy 3 years ago

    anyone think the cards will try to bring carpenter in as pitching coach when he retires? its probably only 2 years away, or do you think they will play this season out and then look at maybe bringing in andy benes or some other ex player?

    • brstreet9 3 years ago

      I would think it would depend on how the pitchers respond to Lilliquist this year. He seemed to do pretty good last year filling in for Duncan.

  11. formerdraftpick 3 years ago

    The Reds did a nice job scouting and finding Daryl Jones.  I hope he does well in the Reds system. 

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