NL Notes: Stanton, Ruiz, Kershaw, Cardinals, Phillies

Here are some National League notes to round out the evening …

  • The Marlins are not going to trade star outfielder Giancarlo Stanton in the offseason, newly minted GM Dan Jennings emphatically asserted. As ESPN's Jim Bowden reports (via Twitter), Jennings said that "Mr. Stanton is not available" and that the team is "building around him."
  • The Rockies are making a run at free agent catcher Carlos Ruiz, reports Troy Renck of the Denver Post. Incumbent Wilin Rosario would presumably get some or all of his playing time at first or in the outfield if Colorado were to land Ruiz. The soon-to-be 35-year-old backstop landed at number 29 on the list of MLB's top fifty free agents compiled by MLBTR's Tim Dierkes, who sees a return to Philadelphia as the most likely scenario.
  • Clayton Kershaw of the Dodgers said yesterday that he was "curious" about free agency but "open-minded going into the off-season," Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times reported. He also expressed some frustration with the recent reports that he turned down a $300MM deal from the club. Now, says Hernandez's colleague Steve Dilbeck, the team may be facing something of a catch-22: the team surely must sign him at some hard-to-fathom rate, but the risks are enormous.
  • Though the Cardinals' future remains unquestionably bright given the organization's array of young talent, says Bernie Miklasz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the club faces some significant questions. If Carlos Beltran can be brought back on a reasonable deal, Miklasz writes, it is possible that the club will use super-prospect Oscar Taveras in center with a combination of Beltran, Allen Craig, Matt Adams, and Matt Holliday at first base and the corner outfield. But if Beltran leaves, he says, it is not unrealistic to think the club might pursue Jacoby Ellsbury
  • The club's greatest hole, of course, is at shortstop. GM John Mozeliak needs to make a proactive move at this point, says Miklasz, either by signing a player like Stephen Drew or Jhonny Peralta or by trading from the team's pitching depth. Fellow Post-Dispatch writer Rick Hummel looks at some possible trade targets for the team.
  • For the Phillies to return to contention, writes Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer, the club must spend big in free agency. Gelb says the club has ample room to increase spending above the $189MM luxury tax line if it wants, though GM Ruben Amaro Jr. has expressed hesitation. "Obviously, we had a lot less people coming to the ballpark this year," Amaro said at season's end. "We have to be cognizant of that. We have been greatly supported – our payroll was, what, $165MM? That should be enough to put a contender on the field." Dierkes sees the Phils as the front-runners for Nelson Cruz, Ricky Nolasco, Ruiz, and Edward Mujica, though he notes that it all depends whether the team is willing to tack on $40MM+ to its 2014 obligations.

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