NL Notes: Reds, Cardinals, Padres, Dodgers

Here's the latest out of the National League:

  • Even as they continue to work out contracts with key pitchers Homer Bailey and Aroldis Chapman, the Reds are keeping an eye on the free agent market, reports MLB.com's Mark Sheldon. GM Walt Jocketty says he is looking for an extra outfielder and infielder, indicating that he'd like to have a player at Triple-A that can handle shortstop in the event of an injury to Zack Cozart"We're still looking at a couple of guys," said Jocketty. "I don't think there's been any progress, especially this week. Once a lot of the agents get through the arbitration process this week, we'll have more time to pursue any last minute invites for Spring Training that create more competition." 
  • The Cardinals have improved in several areas without sacrificing prospects or draft picks while the rest of the division largely stood pat in terms of acquisitions, says Bernie Miklasz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, but that does not mean the club has only smooth sailing ahead. While the organization dealt with injuries impressively last year, it is no sure thing to do so again, and players like Peter Bourjos and Allen Craig have some injury baggage. Whether the team can get a repeat performance from Matt Carpenter, and get production from an all-new middle infield (Jhonny Peralta, Kolten Wong, and Mark Ellis) are also all open questions.
  • After signing all but one arbitration player (Andrew Cashner), the Padres' payroll looks likely to end up at around $87MM by Opening Day, writes Dennis Lin of U-T San Diego. That would constitute a delivery on owner Ron Fowler's promise of a payroll increase of over 20%, says Lin, who opines that the team could still look to extend Cashner and add a southpaw to the pen.
  • As noted in an earlier post, MLB.com's Ken Gurnick says the Dodgers should prioritize an extension of Hanley Ramirez over the signing of Masahiro Tanaka. Meanwhile, reports Mark Saxon of ESPNLosAngeles.com, the team has continued to talk with Michael Young about a return for the trade deadline acquisition. 

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