NL Central Links: Pirates, Walker, Freese, Beltran

We heard earlier today that the Brewers explored a trade for Mets first baseman Ike Davis but talks went nowhere, and that the Brew Crew aren't going to deal Norichika Aoki.  Let's check in elsewhere around the NL Central…

  • The Pirates have been looking at "high upside" starting pitchers in their initial round of free agent calls, Travis Sawchik of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports (Twitter link).
  • Pirates GM Neal Huntington said that his team is open to discussing a long-term deal with second baseman Neil Walker, FOX Sports' Jon Paul Morosi reports (Twitter link).
  • Also from Morosi (Twitter links), the Pirates will probably add a starter from outside the organization if A.J. Burnett retires or signs elsewhere.  Huntington said Burnett hasn't yet given the Pirates any indication if he will retire or pitch in 2014.
  • David Freese has seemingly gone from World Series hero to forgotten man in St. Louis.  Bernie Miklasz of the St Louis Post-Dispatch looks at the Cardinals' options with their once-star third baseman and where he fits into the club's plans.
  • It has been assumed that Carlos Beltran will leave the Cardinals this winter but GM John Mozeliak tells reporters (including MLB.com's Jenifer Langosch) that it isn't quite a done deal.  "I still think it's a situation where the door's open but we haven't made any decisions either way. In time, we'll see," Mozeliak said.
  • Jed Hoyer isn't surprised by the Jeff Samardzija trade talk, the Cubs general manager tells reporters (including ESPN Chicago's Jesse Rogers).  “Teams know we’ve had discussions with him and we haven’t signed him.  That's part of it," Hoyer said.  "I think teams will certainly inquire about him.  He’s really proved over the last two years he has great stuff and is a tough competitor. I think teams will ask us about him so to that extent there could be rumors."  Samardzija is reportedly unlikely to sign an extension and he has been linked to the Nationals and Diamondbacks in recent rumors.
  • Also from Hoyer, he says the Cubs will be looking to add veterans to replace Alfonso Soriano and David DeJesus' clubhouse leadership.
  • Chicago native Curtis Granderson would be a big addition both on and off the field for Cubs or White Sox, yet as CSN Chicago's Dan Hayes notes, both teams' focus on adding younger talent makes them hesitant to give up the second round draft pick it would take to sign Granderson.


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