The Cardinals didn’t have a strong interest in Chris Davis at the start of December and not much seems to have changed in two weeks, as USA Today’s Bob Nightengale tweets that the Cards still aren’t keen on the free agent slugger. Of course, quite a bit has happened in the last two weeks, as St. Louis has come up short in its pursuit of such top-tier free agents as Jason Heyward and David Price. Rather than sign Davis, the Cards seem prepared to use a Brandon Moss/Matt Adams platoon at first base this season (not to mention Stephen Piscotty also on hand as an option at first). Here’s more from around the NL Central…
- The Cardinals’ interest in Alex Gordon is complicated by Matt Holliday’s presence in left, FOX Sports’ Jon Morosi writes. Aside from a handful of games at DH, Holliday has never played anywhere other than left field during his 12-year career, so someone like Gordon would have to be okay with playing in center or right for 2016 — Holliday is only under contract through this season. Holliday has a no-trade clause, and he’s probably unlikely to waive it to go elsewhere this late in his career. Morosi also floats an interesting little conspiracy theory, noting that Holliday and Davis are both represented by Scott Boras; so if Holliday refuses a trade and blocks a Gordon signing, that could theoretically make St. Louis a suitor for Davis if the club is intent on adding another big bat.
- The history of Neil Walker’s long-term extension talks with the Pirates is compiled in a very interesting piece from Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Walker turned down a multi-year offer from the Bucs in his 2010 rookie year and talks didn’t pick up again until last winter. The Pirates offered a three-year, $27MM extension that would’ve covered Walker’s last two arb years and his first free agent year; that was countered by a two-year, $19MM offer from Walker’s camp but the Pirates wanted a team option on that 2017 free agent year. “The offer wasn’t very realistic. And there was no negotiating in between. It was, ‘Here it is.’ When we countered, there was no response, so we went to the [arbitration] hearing,” Walker said. That hearing ended up being “probably the point when I lost all faith in the organization,” as Walker was put off by the Pirates’ assessment of his play and figured his days were numbered in Pittsburgh. Walker’s tenure with the Bucs ended last week when he was traded to the Mets for Jon Niese. On the Walker negotiations, GM Neal Huntington said that “every agreement has to find a common middle ground. We’ve been successful on other fronts. This one was not successful. We’re as much at fault as anybody.”
- The Pirates have some level of interest in Korean first baseman/DH Dae-ho Lee, according to Biertempfel (on Twitter). Lee met with GMs from four clubs in Nashville, per Jeeho Yoo of Yonhap News (on Twitter), though it’s not clear whether the Pirates were one of those teams. Lee feels that he might not have a deal by the end of 2015, though he could sign sometime in January (link to Yoo’s Twitter).
- The Cubs “had a lot of lines in the water” on the trade market, an NL executive tells Joel Sherman of the New York Post. “The expectation is,” as Sherman writes, that the aggressive Cubs will make another big move to add a front-of-the-rotation young starter, and are dangling Jorge Soler and/or Javier Baez to make such a deal happen.
MLBTR’s Zach Links also contributed to this post