NL Central Links: Dempster, Hamilton, Brewers, Cards

It was on this day in 1962 that Joe Morgan signed his first pro contract, joining the Houston Colt .45s as an amateur free agent.  Morgan spent his first nine seasons in Houston before being traded to the Reds and establishing himself as arguably the best second baseman in baseball history.

Here's the latest from the NL Central…

  • Cubs GM Jed Hoyer confirmed to ESPN Chicago's Doug Padilla that the team had made "contact and it was preliminary" with Ryan Dempster, though Hoyer was quick to minimize the importance of the meeting, saying "it was sort of a bump-into thing."  It was reported earlier today by MLB.com's Carrie Muskat that the Cubs had been in touch with Dempster's agent.
  • "We’ve got the connection with (hitting coach) Johnny Narron but we don’t have the connection with U.S. Bank,” Brewers GM Doug Melvin told Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel about the chances of the Brewers splurging on Josh Hamilton this winter.  Melvin noted that he would like to acquire relief pitching this offseason but was wary given the rising prices of quality bullpen arms.
  • Also from Haudricourt, he hears from Brewers assistant GM Gord Ash that the club has no plans to re-sign either right-hander Jose Veras or outfielder Nyjer Morgan, both of whom were outrighted off Milwaukee's 40-man roster over the last two days.
  • The Cardinals have signed 16-year-old Dominican outfielder Henry Alvarado to a $150K contract, reports Ben Badler of Baseball America.  Alvarado is described as being best suited to left field or possibly first base, and he "stands out for his righthanded bat, sound approach and occasional power."


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