The Cardinals need to re-sign impending free agent Jason Heyward, Benjamin Hochman of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch writes. Heyward’s traditional stats don’t jump off the page, but he makes a difference with his fielding, throwing and baserunning, says Hochman, who also points to Heyward’s age and clubhouse presence. The Cardinals aren’t showing their hand yet, but they believe they have enough talent that they won’t let the situation with Heyward slow them down. “[H]istorically we’ve had that issue come up where are you held prisoner until you get something accomplished. The good news for us is I don’t think that’s the case here,” says GM John Mozeliak. “I think we have enough internal flexibility where we can still look to do other things and still accomplish what we need to do.” In a recent MLBTR Newsletter, Tim Dierkes examined 25 teams as potential suitors for Heyward, concluding that the teams most likely to sign him were the Yankees, Astros, Angels and Mariners along with the Cardinals. Here’s more from the National League.
- The Reds have a long road ahead as they attempt to catch up with the Cardinals, Cubs and Pirates, writes Mark Sheldon of MLB.com. The Reds need help offensively and won’t have much money with which to acquire it this offseason. “We have really, really stiff competition in our division,” says Joey Votto. “We can’t go in with a half effort because of how good those three teams are. … They’re good it seems at every aspect of the game. We have to exceed them.” Earlier this week, I looked for the Reds’ path forward as part of MLBTR’s Offseason Outlook series.
- After a down season in 2015, it looks highly unlikely shortstop Ian Desmond will re-sign with the Nationals, Chase Hughes of Nats Insider writes. The Nats won’t want to add another risky long-term contract, given that they already have the Jayson Werth and Ryan Zimmerman deals on the books. And Trea Turner‘s emergence gives them a potential replacement for Desmond at shortstop.
- North Carolina State’s 2011 recruiting class has already produced Turner and Carlos Rodon, and four other players from that class were also drafted, as Baseball America’s Jim Shonerd notes. That kind of haul is noteworthy not only for the talent involved, but because NC State got all those players in the last year before the new CBA limited the abilities of teams to spend heavily on late-round draft picks. The Wolfpack had, for example, also recruited righties Jake Junis (who ended up signing with the Royals for $675K) and Jason Creasy (who signed with the Pirates for $250K).