NL Central Notes: Pirates, Samardzija, Morgan, Cards

The Pirates have earned the No. 1 spot atop the organization talent rankings in the 2014 edition of the Baseball America Prospect Handbook (Baseball America's J.J. Cooper has the details).  The Bucs' strong 2013 draft and their multitude of quality prospects throughout the farm system contributed to the ranking, BA editor John Manuel explained to Travis Sawchik of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.  “They have several players we felt would contend to be No. 1 in a lot of different organizations,” Manuel said. “They have several players who fit the profile to be starters on championship-caliber teams. They have more of those than other teams.”

Here's some more from around the NL Central…

  • Jeff Samardzija believes he'd be unlikely to sign an extension with a new team following a trade from the Cubs, the right-hander tells CSN Chicago's Patrick Mooney.  “The odds are very slim that I would," Samardzija said.  "For any professional player two years out of free agency, the odds they sign a deal are pretty slim (in that situation)."  Samardzija said his feelings could change if he's actually in that situation, but he tells Mooney that his preference would be to stay with the Cubs.  Click here for an earlier portion of Mooney's pre-Christmas interview with Samardzija.
  • The Reds aren't one of the six-to-eight teams who have shown interest in Nyjer Morgan,'s Mark Sheldon reports.  Morgan enjoyed a big 2013 season with the Yokohama Bay Stars and is weighing offers from both MLB and Japanese clubs.
  • The Cardinals seemingly have pitching to spare, but Bernie Miklasz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch points out that the club's arms have thrown a lot of extra high-pressure innings over the last few seasons due to the Cardinals' deep playoff runs.  "This is why I have no problem with GM John Mozeliak's obvious desire to hoard pitching. You just never know when you're going to need arms to come to the rescue," Miklasz writes.
  • The Cardinals plan to expand their scouting and development operations within Japan and Cuba over the next year, Mozeliak tells Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
  • In other NL Central news from earlier today, the Pirates signed Chris Dickerson to a minor league deal, the Cardinals claimed Rafael Ortega off waivers from the Rangers, Brewers GM Doug Melvin commented on his team's lack of free agent moves, Reds GM Walt Jocketty discussed the difficulties of signing Homer Bailey to an extension.

40 Responses to NL Central Notes: Pirates, Samardzija, Morgan, Cards Leave a Reply

  1. WillGio 2 years ago

    lol the Cardinals expanding their scouting and developing? What were they doing before?

    • Teufelshunde4 2 years ago

      Seems to be aimed at international scouting.. The word is Cuba, and Asia are the targets.. Some Cards fans thin they should drop 50 plus million on Cuban guy Diaz… Makes no sense…

      • WillGio 2 years ago

        Exactly, go for the less heard of talent. Taveras was relatively off the radar when the Cards picked him up, if people knew the potential he had you would have seen a bidding war for the kid. Btw who is this guy named Diaz?

        • VanHicklestein 2 years ago

          Aledmys Diaz, a Cuban shortstop. Given the Cardinals’ struggles in coming up with a competent shortstop, linking his name to the Cardinals was to be expected.

    • VanHicklestein 2 years ago

      Clearly, focusing on South America.

  2. Sky14 2 years ago

    A little bit surprised the Pirates ranked a head of the Twins, but both systems have a lot of high end talent. The NL Central should be very competitive for many years with the amount of talent the Cards, Bucs and Cubs have in their systems.

    • rikersbeard 2 years ago

      Both have dynamic farm systems, but I think Bucs just have noticeably more upside on the big league roster than the Twins.

      • rikersbeard 2 years ago

        Nevermind, they were only discussing the farm system.

        • Sky14 2 years ago

          If they were going on young talent including the MLB rosters there is no question, I would agree except the Cards would likely top that list. I think perhaps the Twins 1-5 is better but the Bucs have more upside 5-10 on a top ten list.

    • Lee Foo Young 2 years ago

      Where would the Bucs be, if they hadn’t inexplicably lost out on Sano?


  3. BENT_WOOKIE 2 years ago

    if the cubs can get exactly what they want for samardzija, then trade him. if not, just keep him. if they end up contending it’s because the young guys are stepping up, and they’ll be doing it cheaply. the only other high cost guys are what, edwin jackson and starlin/rizzo and even their contracts aren’t all that crazy. it’s not ideal to pay market price when he hits FA, but it’s not so crazy considering we are, you know, a big market.

  4. Nathan Boley 2 years ago

    This is like Christmas Day for a Pirates fan like myself. I don’t even know why anyone gets all worked up about the lack of free agency activity the Pirates show. They have so much talent down on the farm, I would happily bet we’ll be successful for the next few years regardless of our budget.

    • AsHeR 2 years ago

      I really hope its you guys and my Cubs competing for the division for the next decade or so. Pirates have always been my 2nd team. And I’m sure you can agree that I’m getting sick of the Cards and Reds.

      • Nathan Boley 2 years ago

        I’ve never liked the Reds but I don’t mind the Cardinals…yet. The Cubs are my second favorite team in the division. Nothing, however, will ever annoy me more than the mid-2000s Brewers who used to torture my Buccos on a daily basis.

        • BENT_WOOKIE 2 years ago

          so we are all in agreement, wisconsin is to be hated by all.

        • AsHeR 2 years ago

          ugh Chris Capuano and Carlos Lee… always killed us too

      • Ferrariman 2 years ago

        the reds haven’t really won anything for you to be sick of them haha.

        • AsHeR 2 years ago

          you’re right. but they beat us a lot. and maybe its just knowing Dusty Baker is their manager

  5. tenncub 2 years ago

    Samardzija has said, repeatedly that he would like to stay with the Cubs, yet he refuses to sign an extension. However, from the Cubs standpoint, they can’t afford to let him walk for nothing. They either need to wrap him up for several years, or get the biggest haul available for him. One or the other is sure to happen. Bank on it! If he really wants to stay, he needs to consider signing that extension. IMHO

    • ice_hawk10 2 years ago

      And by saying he would be unlikely to sign an extension with the team he’d be traded to, he likely diminishes some of the interest other teams have in him. Seems like he’s really trying to back the Cubs into a corner here.

      • Cubstein 2 years ago

        And of course now most fans consider this competitive spirit. If he struggles this year, it’s considered a cancer to the team. Just look at what happened with Big Z.

    • oh Hal 2 years ago

      Its not surprising he doesn’t sign an extension if its the rumored 5/55. He’ll get much more than that as a FA. He might want to stay, but also wants Theo to get real.

      • Theo shouldn’t be in a hurry to re-sign him. He’s under control through 2015, so let’s see which Shark shows up in 2014… the first-half one who looked like a Cy Young candidate, or the second-half one who looked like an end of the rotation journeyman.

        • Cubstein 2 years ago

          Any team acquiring him would give up much more for two playoff runs rather than just one. He has until July at the latest to either sign an extension or be traded in my opinion. Of course if a team blows them away with an offer before then, he may have less time. Of course he’s trying to sabotage his trade value by claiming he most likely won’t sign an extension with whatever team that acquires him.

        • tenncub 2 years ago

          I disagree. Theo should be in a hurry to sign him since his trade value will drop as he gets closer to free agency or if his performance isn’t good enough to warrant the high asking price. I’d love to keep him, but not if he walks and we get nothing for him in 2 years.

  6. Dale Pearl 2 years ago

    The Reds are almost forced in trading Bailey. He is worth substantially more than a single draft pick, but the all of a sudden impoverished Reds can’t afford a salary over 9 million a year for any other players.

  7. Rizzo44 2 years ago

    Is it really that hard to trade Samardzija?.Take shark, Castro, schirholtz and mike Olt plus 30mil cash trade for at least one ML Ready pitcher and 3 mid level prospects it will need to be a 3 team trade most likely. Maybe the mariners can get Castro. They don’t have much offense. They can use 30 for Cruz.

    • Cubstein 2 years ago

      That looks like more of the return they are expecting for Samardzija on his own, without adding in a two time all-star 23 year old short stop. They aren’t looking to trade Samardzija just to trade him, they are looking for something significant in return, otherwise they will be more than happy to continue with him in their roster.

      • Rizzo44 2 years ago

        Castro is just a throw in. Unless he drastically improves on D he needs to go or at least swapppositions with Barney. Who clearly is the better defensive player with 150+ no error games streak.Castro averages 4 a week in 6 or 7 game week that’s horrible. That’s nearly 100 years per season hes played 3 full years now he has well over 300 career errors. Your SS , Catcher and centerfielder have got to be your best players. The cubs haven’t had a good catcher in nearly 20 years. They’ve had 5 different cf in as many years.

        • Cubstein 2 years ago

          Castro is the better defender because he has better range than Barney. If he ever stops making mental gaffs Castro is a GG candidate. Defense is more than just how many errors you make.

          100 errors per season 300 errors? How about instead of making up some crazy math about Castros Errors you look at his actual Errors. He has 105 E’s over 4 seasons, not even close to your “estimates”.

          Castro has been top 3 in the league each of the last three seasons in putouts and top 3 in 2011 and 2012 in assists. 2013 he fell to 6th in assists.

          Castro is probably the most untouchable Cub right now and you want to consider him a throw in?

          • Cosmo3 2 years ago

            The only problem with your post is that you’re using facts…

          • Rizzo44 2 years ago

            Barney has far better range than Castro.

          • Cubstein 2 years ago

            Really, then why has he only once finished in the top 10 in put outs and once in the top 10 in assists at an inferior defensive position?

  8. Cubstein 2 years ago

    Correct me if I’m wrong but I thought MLB scouts weren’t allowed in Cuba. Hence why there is so many question marks surrounding anyone coming out of the Cuba because at most they’ve been seen a handful of times through international travel.

    So how are the Cardinals going to expand operations in Cuba? Perhaps they are going to have scouts follow Cuban teams to their international venues.

    • Frank Richard 2 years ago

      I agree last I checked we have a trade embargo with Cuba and can’t send scouts there. That’s why players who escape Cuba have to establish residency in another country before they can be signed here.

    • VanHicklestein 2 years ago

      You’re correct, but the Cuban national team travels and plays around the world, and this is where the scouting would likely occur. This is how people have seen players like Aledmys Diaz and Erisbel Arruebarruena.

  9. LetsGoBucs92122 2 years ago

    Very excited to see the Pirates land the #1 spot!!

    • Cubstein 2 years ago

      Depends on who you look to. BP will have Twins at #1. But Pirates still in the top 3 for sure.

  10. Steve 2 years ago

    Gold glove, which Castro will never contend for

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