The National League has rather a pronounced divide between its better teams and its anticipated bottom-dwellers, ESPN.com’s Jayson Stark writes, and that poses a significant problem. While commissioner Rob Manfred says that the league’s less talented clubs are in a routine phase of the natural winning/rebuilding cycle, some rival executives believe that at least some organizations are looking to strip down their MLB rosters, pursue top draft picks, and aim for a relatively distant competitive timeline. There are a host of interesting quotes, particularly from Manfred, who says that outright tanking efforts would be “self-correcting” in that, “if too many teams try to follow this strategy, the effectiveness of that strategy will be naturally undermined.” The piece is well worth a read.
Here’s the latest out of the N.L.:
- Rockies GM Jeff Bridich has been in touch with veteran outfielder Carlos Gonzalez to tell him not to pay any heed to trade rumors, as Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post reports. While that’s hardly any guarantee, multiple rival GMs say they have received the impression that Colorado will not move its most recognizable player this winter, Jon Heyman tweets. Nevertheless, the recent signing of Gerardo Parra still seemingly leaves the club with good cause to move an outfielder. If it isn’t CarGo, of course, then the two obvious candidates would be Charlie Blackmon and Corey Dickerson.
- Chances are “slim” that the Cubs will make another major addition before the season, president of baseball operations Theo Epstein said today, as Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times reports on Twitter. We’ve heard plenty of suggestions of ways Chicago could look to add yet more impact after an already-busy offseason, but it certainly doesn’t appear as if the club really needs to do anything to its roster at this point.
- The Reds are still working on various trade scenarios, ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick reports (via TwitLonger). Jay Bruce seems the most plausible trade piece, Crasnick indicates, but his market is complicated by Colorado’s trio of possible left-handed bats for sale. And he arguably hasn’t performed to the standard of his rather expensive contract in recent years. “Once you start down this road, it is important to continue with the tough decisions and not pull up in the middle of the project,” said GM Dick Williams. “That being said, we cannot force deals so I cannot guarantee we will do more.’’
- New Phillies hurler Mark Appel has a lot to prove, Crasnick writes. But the 24-year-old says he is determined and able to live up to his former billing as a top-end pitching prospect.