Wondering what your team still can or should do to improve before the start of the 2014 season? ESPN.com's Jim Bowden lays out the "missing links" he sees for each of the National League's clubs. On the free agent side of things, he thinks that the Reds (Nelson Cruz), Pirates (Kendrys Morales), and Mets (Stephen Drew) could all stand to add an impact bat. Elsewhere around the NL …
- In an interesting piece on Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr., Bob Ford of the Philadelphia Inquirer writes that the Phils' top baseball man will continue to "take swings" at arguably risky acquisitions. "There are only so many chances to be a champion, and I will never stop believing that if you have a chance, you take the opportunity," Amaro says. "if you don't take a chance on Adam Eaton, then maybe you don't take a chance on Jayson Werth." (Of course, Amaro was referring to Eaton the retired pitcher, not the young outfielder by the same name.)
- Amaro discussed his philosophies in relation to some of the club's recent moves, He acknowledged that the signing of Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez was a risk, but called him "a guy with a tremendous ceiling." And while Marlon Byrd will earn $16MM over two years to be "a decent role player" for Philadelphia, in Amaro's words, the GM explained that he had to balance the team's needs. "If I go get Carlos Beltran," said Amaro, "then I can't take a chance on Roberto Hernandez. We've got a lot of holes to fill, and our job is to try to make the right decision 70 percent of the time, not the wrong decision 70 percent of the time."
- The Nationals recently added another bench piece in Jamey Carroll, and Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post expects that the veteran will make the club out of Spring Training. But that does not mean that GM Mike Rizzo is done fiddling with his reserves, says Kilgore. Possible additions include a catcher, a left-handed bat such as Lyle Overbay, or a right-handed corner option like Mark Reynolds. Likewise, another southpaw reliever could still be added.
- The powerful right arm of reliever Erik Cordier earned him a guaranteed deal with the Giants even though he's never thrown a big league pitch. MLBTR's Tim Dierkes has learned that Cordier's new club had good reason to offer him a MLB deal, as two other clubs were likewise willing to use a 40-man roster spot on the 27-year-old. (Twitter link.)