NL Central Notes: Morel, Samardzija, Cubs, Lorenzen

The Pirates claimed Brent Morel off waivers because they felt they needed a better "Plan B" in the event of an injury to Pedro Alvarez, manager Clint Hurdle told Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Pittsburgh has been following Morel since 2011 and had interest in him when he was placed on waivers in December, writes Brink. Toronto claimed him then, but Pittsburgh got their second chance this week and claimed him based on his solid defense, hands and power, said Hurdle. Morel told Brink that he's thankful for the opportunity and that, as a Steelers fan, he's excited to play in Pittsburgh.

A few more NL Central links as we await the start of the weekend…

  • Cubs ace Jeff Samardzija told Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times that trade talks don't bother him, but instead simply put a chip on his shoulder when he pitches. Wittenmyer writes that the Blue Jays and D'Backs have shown interest in Samardzija this winter, and an executive from a third team called the 29-year-old a "monster in the making." Samardzija is used to pitching in front of scouts for numerous other clubs and simply smiled as he told Wittenmyer, "You want to put on a good show for them."
  •'s Jesse Rogers took a look at the scenarios to watch in Cubs camp during Spring Training yesterday, most notably wondering if February pickup Emilio Bonifacio can supplant Darwin Barney at second base. He also examined whether or not July 2013 acquisition Mike Olt can recover from his vision issues and take the third base job from Luis Valbuena and Donnie Murphy.
  • Michael Lorenzen was a two-way player when the Reds selected him 38th overall in last year's draft, having served as an outfielder and closer for Cal State Fullerton. In a piece for Baseball America, C. Trent Rosencrans reported that the Reds have told Lorenzen he will focus on pitching, and not only that, but they value him as a starting pitcher. Lorenzen sounded pleased with the decision and has already been talking with college-closer-turned-starter Tony Cingrani in Spring Training. "I’m picking his brain," Lorenzen told Rosencrans. "We’ve been in the same situation as a college guy moving quick. He’s been really good with me."

13 Responses to NL Central Notes: Morel, Samardzija, Cubs, Lorenzen Leave a Reply

  1. Trock 1 year ago

    I think Olt (pending a horrid spring training) should get the nod at 3rd. If he is bad, he really can’t be much worse then the other 2 mentioned in the article. He has the highest upside. We need to see what he can do at 3rd base, as that will really mold where everyone else goes. If he does great at 3rd, we know Bryant goes to the OF and either Castro shifts to second and Baez takes over short, or vise versa. Then you have an OF of Bryant, Soler (hopefully) and probably Lake.

    • Sky14 1 year ago

      Olt isn’t getting younger so it makes sense to see what he can do in the big leagues given his potential. I think you are leaving Almora out of the future OF equation.

      • Trock 1 year ago

        You are definitely right. I was trying to think of him but for some reason was drawing a huge blank. Thanks!

        • TheoHoyer 1 year ago

          You also need to consider we have Christian Villanueva and Javier Baez at AAA, who could play at 3rd base.

        • schaddy24 1 year ago

          Don’t forget about Alcantara in the infield either. The Cubs currently have more promising position players than open spots on the field. Good problem to have, but it’s likely that some of these guys wont pan out.

  2. Joe W. 1 year ago

    Brent doesn’t appear to be a bad depth pickup. but Pedro does need to improve his SO and OBP some.. The Bull does have good power though.. whew…

  3. johnsilver 1 year ago

    I would think the Wrigley faithful are in for it after pounding a few Budweiser’s and watching bonifacio around 2b if they go with him full time there in 2014.

    The other interesting resolution would be finding some team willing to take on the full 2.5 of Barney’s contract. How many teams would be willing to pay that for a guy, who granted is top 5 glove in the game, but has a career OPS of .628 and is coming off a season of .569 where there was no health issues as an excuse? Ouch.

    Start Boni 1st 5-6 innings and then bring in Barney to finish the game perhaps?

    • TheoHoyer 1 year ago

      Bonifacio can play every position in the field except for catcher, so I think RR will use him as a super utility bat off the bench. I think you put keep Barney at second and try to unload him at the deadline. Maybe include him to sweeten up a deal with one of the potential three SP pitchers who could be moved.

      • johnsilver 1 year ago

        Agreed with Boni. He’s a natural 2b (tho is not very good defensively there) and watched him with the Fish for years as marlins are one of the teams I follow/watch most of the games on TV regularly.

        3b/SS he’s even worse at, though the OF Boni seems to be better at, Cubs fans will also find out that Boni needs motivation to succeed. Someone like he had at KC last year in Yost and he had 3/4 of a season in 2011, being Trader Jack mckeon. He needs someone to combination of get on him and be there to pat him on the back at the same time or he gets complacent.

        • TheoHoyer 1 year ago

          Personally, I don’t expect much out of him. If he puts up a decent half season, he’ll be a part of the fire sale like the previous two years.

    • mutantbeast 1 year ago

      Barney is overrated defensively. Yes, he doesnt make errors, but his range is limited and hes not that good at turning the DP. Bonifacio at least has some upside.

  4. Ron Loreski 1 year ago

    I really hope the Pirates keep Morel for the last bench spot over Josh Harrison. Barmes is the back up SS. Morel will be back up for 3rd. Mercer can back up 2nd, and Lambo can be the emergency 5th OF.

  5. bdiddy7 1 year ago

    Samardzija, “a monster in the making”? Yeah, no…the guy is actually pretty ordinary.

Leave a Reply