Central Notes: Phillips, Axford, Joba, Buck

Here's the latest news from both the NL and AL Central divisions…

  • The Brandon Phillips trade rumors may have temporarily stopped, though Reds president/CEO Bob Castellini left the door slightly open when talking to reporters today (including MLB.com's Mark Sheldon and the Cincinnati Enquirer's John Fay).  "Brandon is part of the team, boys," Castellini said.  "Walt [GM Walt Jocketty] was just exploring.  You have to understand what he's up against. He's got to look around. Brandon Phillips is an integral part of this franchise….But you never say never."
  • The Cubs and John Axford share a mutual interest in each other, Patrick Mooney of CSNChicago.com reports.  Axford would get a chance to compete for the Cubs' closing job, though the right-hander seemingly has plenty of opportunities around the league, with a reported 14 teams checking in following his non-tender from the Cardinals.
  • The Cubs and Royals are two of the teams who have shown interest in Joba Chamberlain, Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News tweets.  No signing seems to be imminent for either team, however.  Chamberlain is another relief arm who has drawn significant attention on the open market, as he may be seen as a reclamation candidate after some tough seasons with the Yankees.
  • The Twins have spoken to John Buck's agent, Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press reports, and a source tells Berardino that Buck is Minnesota's top target amongst available catchers.  It isn't clear how interested in the Twins are, however, given that Josmil Pinto is still the club's preferred choice to take over the everyday catching job now that Joe Mauer has been moved to first base.
  • Carl Pavano talked with Berardino about his comeback attempt from a freak snow-shoveling accident that left him with a ruptured spleen and sidelined the veteran righty for the entire 2013 season.  Pavano said the Twins haven't contacted him about a return: "I haven't really talked to them.  I don't know if that would be a good fit anyway. I think we're in different places. They need those younger guys in their rotation."

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