A few notes to pass along out of the NL Central, as the Cardinals gear up to defend their World Series title from a year ago …
- The Cubs have officially announced the signing of 20-year-old Cuban left-hander Gerardo Concepcion to a five-year Major League contract. Concepcion joins the 40-man roster but will report to minor league camp. The deal is worth $6MM, which includes a $3MM signing bonus, according to Doug Padilla of ESPNChicago.com.
- The Cardinals will likely turn to a handful of in-house candidates to take Chris Carpenter's rotation spot if the right-hander misses any substantial chunk of time due to a bulging disc in his neck, according to Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com. The Cards may choose from relievers Lance Lynn, Kyle McClellan, Marc Rzepczynski, and Mitchell Boggs, or perhaps minor leaguers Brandon Dickson and Shelby Miller, so it doesn't seem like they'll explore a trade or signing for now.
- Cubs GM Jed Hoyer declined to comment on the team's pursuit of prized Cuban outfield prospect Jorge Soler with reporters, including Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune, as Soler has yet to officially be designated a free agent by MLB.